Uber's Failed Pizza Party and How They Could Have Succeeded

This morning was unlike most of my winter Monday mornings:

I felt hope.

I felt hope because Cazey shared with me Uber's #PizzaParty. On the evening of December 7, 2015, Uber was "simply" going to be delivering free pizzas to its users. I got excited and invited over my friend so we could eat free pizza together. It was going to be great.

But it wasn't.

uber pizza party

Before leaving the gym, I texted my old roommate that I would be home soon so she should head over whenever she was free. By the time I got back to my house, two of my friends texted me that they couldn't get a free pizza. I didn't worry. Uber wouldn't let me down.

I got inside, sat down, and swiped on my Uber app. I then slide over my desired ride to the pizza emoji and was immediately shown the message, "All cars busy. Check back soon!"

You bet it, Uber, I will be checking back soon/constantly for the next few hours.

After a few more minutes of refreshing my app, I texted Cazey to see what his success rate was. He was as upset as I was as he waited for a half an hour and couldn't get through. I texted my other friends, and they didn't have any successful pizza delivers either.

My roommate, who didn't even want pizza, came to join in our cause. We all had our phones out, constantly updating our phone in the hopes a free pizza would be waiting for us.

Now, at the conclusion of the #PizzaParty (which also ended 8 minutes early, not that I was checking every minute), we have not gotten even a glimmer of free pizza. I went onto Twitter and come to find out NO ONE got free pizza. Well -- there may have been like two lucky Americans who actually got a free pie. But the general consensus was that Uber's free pizza just didn't exist.

I know, I know. It's such a "First World Problem" that my free pizza wasn't delivered. But really, I planned on not grocery shopping and eating free pizza tonight. Plus, I never would have wanted free pizza if I wasn't promised Uber pizza.

Why tell me I'm one "simple tap" away from a free Uber pizza party when there wasn't enough supply?

Could NO ONE at Uber have predicted that there would be a huge demand for free pizza?

Here's what Uber COULD have done to make their #PizzaParty more successful:

  1. Staff up. There is nothing that motivates me more than free food. I'm going to a meeting on Thursday for free pizza. I can't even tell you what the meeting is about because I don't care. I'll meet about anything for some free pizza. Free pizza is the best life has to offer on a December Monday.
  2. Set a limit. How many free pizzas did Uber have to give away? If they said, "First 100 people in each area," or something, at least we would know we can't bank on it as dinner.
  3. Manage expectation. I read the entire article, and there wasn't a lot. It didn't say, "Watch out, you might not get pizza," or "Expect there to be a wait time." They literally said you could tap a button, meet the delivery at the curb and enjoy. It wasn't that easy.
  4. Make smaller neighborhoods. I can only speak to Richmond on this one, but they set a wide delivery path. If you think demand is going to be high, set a smaller radius so that people far out don't get their hopes up and then drag drivers so far away. Take notes from Jimmy John's, who have very small delivery zones, BUT at least they can promise you'll get served quickly, and they're transparent about timing and inventory.

I feel like I deserve another pizza party, but this time with pizza and not a depressing three hours of hopefully waiting for technology to bring me pizza that would never come.