Pizza Hut Takes App Marketing Curbside

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, surprisingly became all about pizza when two major chains – Pizza Hut and Domino’s – turned the focus toward their innovative solutions for mobile ordering. Will the technology open up new lanes of marketing for the mobile industry?

Pizza Hut has joined with Visa in a venture that means customers will soon no longer have to leave their cars to order and pick up pizza.

The companies, along with Accenture, are in the process of beta testing a new app for connected cars that uses customer data, geo-location targeting, and beacon technology to allow users to order, pay, and pick up pizza and then have it delivered to their cars upon arrival at the restaurant.

The new system bypasses time-consuming and potentially unsafe mobile search as well as long checkout lines, says Baron Concors, global chief digital officer for Pizza Hut. “As mobile technology extends to automobiles and cars become more connected, we’re trying to figure out every possible scenario that makes things easier and safer for customers to order and pick up their food,” Concors says. “Now search comes to the customer, and it also knows who they are and knows their past orders for quick reordering and allows them to quickly pay.”

While the product hasn’t rolled out nationwide yet, Concors says that most drivers will be able to order from their connected cars by the end of the year. The service will be available to Visa Pay users as well as Pizza Hut mobile app and Web customers. Pizza Hut falls under the umbrella of Yum! Brands, which recently launched Taco Bell’s mobile ordering app by blacking out the company’s social media. Concors isn’t sure how Pizza Hut will draw attention to its automotive app, but says to look for something equally innovative.

“We’re exploring all options at this point,” Concors says. “We’re definitely planning to make a big splash with it. This is the first time anything like this has been done, and we’re really excited about the people we’re working with. We’re excited about the results that are going to come.”

Not to be outdone, rival pizza chain Domino’s introduced a smartwatch app that will allow users to order and track their deliveries from Android smartwatches. Who will win the pizza app ordering battle? Watch this space.

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