- Pizza Hut, the restaurant chain with more than 16,000 locations worldwide, updated its mobile application and website to provide customers with text-message status reports on their delivery orders. The Pizza Hut Delivery Tracker tells customers when a pizza order is received, when it’s made and when the order goes out for delivery, the company said.
- Customers can also opt to receive updates by text message even when the app or website is closed, a feature that Chris Dargis, chief e-commerce officer at Pizza Hut, said is the first of its kind for the national pizza industry.
- The pizza chain, which is working to refresh the design of its digital channels, is offering a nationwide online promotion of a large two-topping pizza for $7.99 or any specialty pizza for $3 more.
Pizza Hut can be considered a latecomer to adding tracking features to its mobile ordering and delivery, but it also has many “red roof” locations with dining rooms to fill every night, unlike Domino’s Pizza, which launched its Pizza Tracker on mobile in 2009 and has gone on to integrate the capability with the smart home.
Domino's efforts to bring digital ordering to a wide range of channels has proven a success for the brand. So far this year, a similar push into digital ordering has been apparent from Pizza Hut, whose parent company, Yum! Brands Inc., is under pressure to boost sales amid sluggish consumer spending and the pizza chain's sales have been declining. In March, Pizza Hut released a limited edition new line of basketball sneaker called Pie Tops that came with a mobile app and built-in Bluetooth technology to ordering at the touch of a button located on the tongue of the right shoe.
Pizza Hut's ramp up in creative digital ordering offerings follows the chain's hiring of its first-ever Chief Customer Officer last fall. At the time, Milind Pant, President of Pizza Hut International, said in a release that the company sees digital ordering as its greatest growth opportunity and will look to enhance the customer experience by making it easier to get a pizza.
Delivery and take-out service are important components of driving growth, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The publication cites market research from NPD Group that says about two-thirds of all restaurant visits last year were for to-go orders as consumers shunned dining in. The number of people dining at casual restaurants declined 4% in 2016, while off-premise visits rose 1% to 920 million total visits, NPD said. That means restaurants need to consider how their mobile apps make take-out ordering easier.