Capacity Constraints and Pre-Order Policies
We know that sometimes our lack of capacity is frustrating for our customers. It also creates situations where we may seem a little crazy to our customers. The purpose of this note is to explain ourselves and our policies.
First I'll state the obvious; we are a physically small operation. Our capacity constraints are not just ovens, but also refrigerated storage space for both finished pies and ingredients. There is also only so much space for pie makers to work without getting in each other's way.
Most times of the year we are able to accept pre-ordered pies by either our website or by phone with a couple days notice. The notice allows us to verify we have the needed ingredients on hand and to write an efficient production schedule based on the variety of special orders we receive.
On Pie Holiday weekends, it is not uncommon for us to have to stop taking orders early. This also occasionally happens on non-holidays due to large event orders for parties and weddings etc. In all of these cases we still open the store with a full selection of pies for pickup on a first come first served basis. (FCFS)
A few customers have expressed confusion at why we would stop taking orders when we still have capacity to stock the store. There are two reasons for this policy:
First: we feel we can't open our shop in the morning and tell our customers everything has been pre-sold. At least we can't do that too many times. This is also the reason we do not hold pies on the weekends. How would a customer feel if they had just waited in line for 20 minutes to buy a chocolate cream pie and watched one of the pie-slingers pull the last one out of the case to hold for a customer on the phone?
The second reason is complexity. Each new pre-order is potentially another recipe that has to be produced. At some point we have to look at the pre-order list and determine if we can take on any more variety for that day's production. As you might guess the menu of pies available in the shop are somewhat influenced by what pre-orders we had for that day.
What are the Pie Holidays?
Valentine's, Pi Day (Mar 14), Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, Air & Water Show, Labor Day, Halloween, and then the biggies: Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Thanksgiving Pie Orders: We start getting an anxious feeling about Thanksgiving around mid September. Every year we have taken more orders, but closed out order taking earlier. Thanksgiving orders are restricted to a smaller Thanksgiving Pie Menu which allows us some additional efficiencies and pre-planning and results in fulfilling more Thanksgiving pie requests. We start taking orders on October 1st and stop taking orders when we reach our capacity (often within a few weeks). Thanksgiving orders can be placed for Thanksgiving morning or the Tuesday or Wednesday just prior. During those days, the pie shop does not serve slices and adds a 2nd cash register so we can have a dedicated line for pre-orders. We open the day with as many extra Thanksgiving pies as we can make and sell them on a first come, first served basis.
Christmas Pie Orders: We start taking orders for December 22nd - December 24th on December 1st. These days follow the same process as Thanksgiving and are also restricted to a Christmas Pie Menu. The weekends leading up to Christmas can also be quite busy due to holiday parties.
I hope these notes have been helpful and provide some light on why we do what we do.
Thank you for buying all the pies and saying all the nice things you do.
We do really appreciate it.