Nick Knudtson delivers pizzas by bike at the Belltown Domino's
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Nick Knudtson delivers pizzas by bike at the Belltown Domino's
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle traffic is so bad that Domino’s Pizza has gone to all e-bike delivery

Seattle traffic is making people “hangry.” Drivers get stuck in traffic on their way home, which makes them angry. And then that same traffic can make their dinner late, which makes them hungry.

Now, restaurants are trying to beat traffic – with electric bikes.

Jesus Cabanillo had just moved to Seattle. He was looking for a job, but he didn’t have a car.

Then, his roommate told him about the Belltown Domino's. "And he was like, hey, they have bikers, you can actually bike for Domino's. And I was like, 'really?'" Cabanillo said.

Jesus Cabanillo, pizza delivery rider for the Belltown Domino's in Seattle.
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Jesus Cabanillo, pizza delivery rider for the Belltown Domino's in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Today, Cabanillo can’t imagine delivering pizzas by car. During rush hour, he sees drivers sitting in the traffic gridlock. He just cruises on by, a rack full of pizzas on the back of his bike.

The area that franchises can serve quickly was getting smaller and smaller due to traffic. So the Belltown Domino's went with 100% ebikes for their delivery service. The Pioneer Square location followed suit.

The U-District and other Seattle locations are also pedaling in that direction.

Belltown assistant manager Derek Hendrick is pleased with the bikes. "It speeds things up so much during the busiest hours of the day," he said.

Mike Jenness repairs the ebikes used by Domino's in his van. His bike maintenance business, called Shots and Sprockets, has been growing with the rise of corporate ebike fleets.
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Mike Jenness repairs the ebikes used by Domino's in his van. His bike maintenance business, called Shots and Sprockets, has been growing with the rise of corporate ebike fleets.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Pizza franchises around the country are watching Seattle’s experiment.

There’s a whole industry growing up around the switch. A local company, Rad Power Bikes, is supplying Domino's. Their business sales rose 600% from 2017 to 2018.

Mike Jenness keeps all the gears running for the Seattle Domino's fleet from his mobile repair van business called Shots and Sprockets. His business has been growing, too, thanks in part to the rise in corporate e-bike fleets.

Last night, he said he got a call from the Domino's on Queen Anne. A rider's bike had been run over by an Uber. "I had to rebuild the whole thing," he said.

And he hopes to build an espresso stand to complement his bike repair business someday.