The History of Pizza Delivery

Before we were fighting about Hawaiian pizza and topping our cheesy pies with BBQ chicken, there were simpler times. Times where a Margherita pizza was all it took to satisfy pizza cravings. The history of pizza delivery can be dated back to one pizza man from Naples.

It All Started in 1889

Legend has it, King Umberto I of Italy and Queen Margherita of Savoy were visiting Naples around 1889. Luckily for pizza history, the queen became sick after eating rotten food, which is when she requested to dine on traditional Italian food.

Here is where chef Raffaele Esposito had the glory of serving his pizza to the royals. He went above and beyond for the king and queen, creating a pizza with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, to resemble the colors of the Italian flag.

However, back then a king and queen would not have been expected to visit a local pizzeria shop. So instead, Esposito took the pizzas himself. This is known as the first ever pizza delivery recorded in pizza history. And also, the birth of the authentic Margherita pizza, which is named after the Queen’s review of Esposito’s pie, calling it one of the best dishes she had ever eaten.

Revolution Starts 1945

After World War II, hungry soldiers were craving food they had abroad: pizza. However, not all soldiers could travel to the nearest pizza shop in their cities. Here is where New York City stepped in, offering the first “ordered to take home” pizzas.

These to-take pizzas were stored in individual containers, which facilitated their transportation. A few years later, Los Angeles took it a step further and started offering free deliveries with their pizza orders. With these efforts from small pizzerias in the major cities, a revolution began, and to this day the “pick in-store” service is still available at many pizzerias.

Modern Delivery Started in 1960

The 60's marked the beginning of the fast-food era. By this decade, most Americans had two vehicles, and private cars were common among many American families. Here is where modern delivery systems began. Places from pizza joints to burger chains began offering delivery. This changed the food industry forever.

Just to give you an example of how popular food delivery was, over the years pizzerias started offering a “30-minutes or less” guarantee on their pizza deliveries. If your delivery driver took longer than thirty minutes, your order was free. Of course, this didn’t last long, fading away completely in 1993.

World Wide Pizza 1997

Thanks to something we are all very familiar with called the Internet, pizza entered a new real estate: the World Wide Web. Around 1994-1997, there was an experimental service called PizzaNet where people could visit and order pizza online.

At first, people thought online pizza orders were a prank. No one believed they could actually order a pizza through a website. The idea that you could log onto a site, input your pizza craving request, and wait at home until the delivery person knocked on your door seemed impossible to many. However, fast-forward 20 years, and no one can picture a world without online ordering.

Phone Pizzerias 2009

By 2009, mobile apps were everywhere. In fact, by 2008 there were over 3,000 apps available to download on iOS. Of course, pizza chains, which have been on the edge of innovation for years, wanted to jump on the app bandwagon.

During the years to follow, the most famous pizza chains, and even small pizzerias, offered mobile apps. The apps allowed users to order their favorite pizzas, track their orders, and even see the chain’s menu, all in one easy-to-use mobile application.

To Outer Space and Beyond 2017+

Pizza delivery continues to impress everyone. And just like the World Wide Web shocked everyone, in 2016 pizza chains surprised everyone again with pizza drone delivery. Basically, an automated drone will deliver your favorite pizza directly to your door.

Forward to 2017, and there are now discussions of delivering food with driver-less-cars. Essentially, a car without a delivery person will bring your pizza, and it will be more of a self-serve pickup process once the pizza arrives. While this is still in testing, we can see how this can quickly become a reality.