Friday, November 6, 2009

Ordering in the new world

I haven’t ordered from Pizza Hut in years and now I suddenly can’t get it off my mind. After the company announced earlier this week that it raked in more than $1 million in sales, in just three months, from its Pizza Hut app for the iPhone and iPod, my curiosity has inevitably peaked. What makes the app so special?

Not only is Pizza Hut the first national pizza chain to introduce an ordering app for the iPhone and iPod touch, it's one of the most engaging and uniquely entertaining apps out there.

When ordering pizzas, users can virtually build their own pizza by choosing a type of crust in the scroll wheel, "pinch" select the size they want, and drag-and-drop toppings onto the pizza, all with visual confirmation. If an overeager pizza customer adds too many toppings, the pizza explodes and toppings go flying across the screen with an alert to make their pizza happier with fewer toppings. How fun does that sound?

Meanwhile, the section used to order WingStreet wings starts with a bowl of wings that changes as users choose the type of wings they want. Next they select a sauce and are prompted to "sauce their wings" by shaking their iPhone or iPod touch until the wings are covered. Shake too long and the sauce flies across the screen. As with the pizza ordering, customers finish with a representation of the ir order.

Pizza Hut also has given customers a way to pass the time as they wait for their order with a game called Pizza Hut Racer, in which users are challenged to deliver a pizza quickly while avoiding obstacles in the road. And finally, each time a user orders using the app they get 20% off their entire order.

All that said, it looks like Domino's has lots of strategizing to do ...

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