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Hank’s Hot Box is a special pizza delivery service providing customers with everything they need to make proper pizza in their own kitchen. Delivering to Sydney and beyond, Hank’s is helping countless homes say goodbye to soggy deliveries and hello to real pizza hot out of the oven.
We sat down with founder, Nick Allen, to chat about the business and how Tyro plays a pivotal part in their operations.
How Hank’s came to be
Nick created Hank’s after his piloting career came to a halt in March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He had spent 14 years working as a commercial pilot, and most recently, was in Japan for eight years working for a Japanese airline, before being terminated and told not to expect to fly an airplane for three years.
Needing to make a pivot, Nick says “I used that as a runway to do something else that I’ve always wanted to do anyway”; and Hank’s Hot Box was born.
What makes Hank’s different
Hank’s Hot Box is pizza delivery with a twist. The bustling business delivers frozen pizzas, and topping options, so customers can assemble and cook the pizza at home. Nick says the finished product is far superior to any traditional pizza delivery service you might normally think of getting your pizza from. “If the customer can take that bit of extra time to cook the product, which is a fun activity in itself, then they end up with a super-hot, sort of restaurant-quality pizza fresh from their oven.”
Hence the term ‘Hot Box’, all the ingredients arrive ready-to-use in a nicely packaged box. “The bases all come packed, in their basic form. So the dough, the tomato sauce, and a couple of different cheeses, and then toppings to go on that come packed separately, so we’ve got a whole list of stuff that you can choose from,” says Nick.
“The popular one at the moment is probably what we call Fancy Pepperoni. That’s a combo of three bases and a hundred grams of pepperoni and a nice little jar of house-made hot honey. The hot honey is something that it’s started going off most recently in the United States, and people are sort of getting onto it here now as well. But when you add hot honey to pepperoni, you elevate it to a completely different level. So it sounds a bit odd, but it’s a fantastic combo.”
In his mission to disrupt the traditional pizza delivery market – Nick says customers love the fact that they can take a bit of extra time to cook their pizza in their oven and end up with a far superior product. “They don’t have to settle for their traditional, soggy, sweaty solution anymore, and they can eat proper pizza fresh out of the oven!”
Hank’s dough is also special , being made with locally sourced sustainable flour, fermented for 48 hours, and hand made in Marrickville.
How Tyro helps Hank’s do business wherever he sets up
A big part of Hank’s business growth, and getting it off the ground, has been taking their product to markets since day one, and Tyro has been by their side throughout the process. “When I first came up with the concept, we started taking our product out to different farmer’s markets around Sydney and just sort of testing and seeing if people like the product and if they were going to come back. So Tyro was basically a convenient solution to be on the road doing that,” says Nick.
Now, doing anywhere up to 10 markets a week, Hank’s has got five Mobile EFTPOS machines that connect to 4G – allowing them to do business at all these markets.
How the Tyro Portal helps Hank’s stay on top of things at the markets
Being able to access insights through the Tyro Portal has been particularly valuable for Hank’s Hot Box , allowing Nick to keep track of everything going on in one quick and easy-to-use location. “It’s easy to use the back end, being able to just log in there and set up the finer details of how you want it to function, of how you want it to operate.”
Nick also uses this data to make more informed decisions about stock levels at different locations:
“Say if we’ve got four or five markets, I could easily log in the Tyro Portal and see how any one market’s doing, and know just by looking at the sales figures that are going through. I can then know do we need to take more stock to any particular location? Is one spot not doing so well today? Maybe we need to go and pick up some of the stuff that we’d originally dispatched there and take it back to base.”
A piece of advice
We asked Nick what advice he’d give to someone looking to get into the pizza business. Here’s what he had to say.
“You’ve got to have a really good understanding of your operating costs and your raw material costs. I think we’re all operating in a market or an environment where prices are going up, things are skyrocketing, so you need know what they are and try to build in a good margin. So make sure you do a deep dive into how much everything costs.” He also believes quality of product and value are important things to provide customers. “You want your customers to feel like they’re getting the best possible quality of product and service for a reasonable price, I think, for both them and you. If you can build a good reputation based on that, then I think you’re probably destined to grow.”