Plamen Petrov will never forget the day he had to relinquish Pagliacci’s driver trophy. He’d been driving for Pagliacci since 2004, and until that day he’d made 17,893 deliveries without a single complaint. On that fateful day, March 18, 2010, he loaded up his order: a pizza, a salad, and two sodas. Pagliacci had just switched from soda cans to bottles—a critical factor in this story—and Plamen loaded them in a paper bag with the salad and some napkins. Everything about the delivery seemed to be routine. He showed the customer the pizzas and handed him the bag. But when he returned to the Miller store (North Capitol Hill), he was informed that the customer called to complain that he was missing a soda.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’d double checked everything before I left the store. It was all there,” Plamen says. But when he went to put the next order in his trunk, he spotted the renegade soda in the corner of his trunk. “It had rolled out of the bag. I knew how to pack the cans so that didn’t happen, but the bottles were tough.”
So the Driver Trophy moved on the driver with the longest complaint-free streak and Plamen started over again from zero. But this is a story of redemption—and dedication. On November 14, 2015, Plamen won the trophy back and to this day has not relinquished it. He now has 28,399 deliveries with just that one complaint.
“The Driver Trophy is a little like the Stanley Cup,” says Matt Galvin, co-owner of Pagliacci. “It’s a source of great pride for the driver and the location that holds it. Plamen is devoted to excellent customer service and takes his job very seriously. He’s one of our best.”
Humble and generous in sharing success, Plamen notes that the trophy belongs to the entire team at Miller. “It gets really busy, and each member helps ensure the customer gets what they ordered. The kitchen double checks the pizza, then the manager who cuts and boxes the pizza double checks the order. I’m the final check, but they’ve already caught most mistakes. That’s why the trophy is here for all of us.”
Plamen’s advice for other drivers hoping to win the trophy: “Double-check every order. Every time. Before you leave the store and when you pull it from your trunk. Always show the customer what they’re getting. They’ll let you know if something is wrong.”
“We’re lucky to have Plamen,” says Max Levine, the General Manager at Miller. “He drives in silence, with no music. It helps him stay focused. He’s had an unbelievable streak of perfect deliveries and we’re proud to host the Driver Trophy.”