Papa John’s boosts sales with text message ordering system

LOUISVILLE KY. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Glenn West, Papa John’s senior vice president of information services and e-commerce, declined to quantify that lift or specify the number of consumers who have registered to use the service. However, he said increased sales attributable to the application—launched in November as an enhancement of an online-ordering option the chain introduced in 2001—warrant plans to extend it to Papa John’s markets outside the United States. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Both West and Mark Nance, Papa John’s director of e-commerce and application development, noted that cell phone trends and their chain’s mission to be as convenient a source of meals as possible made support of text message ordering a logical move. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

“There are more than 100 million active cell phone users in the U.S., and virtually all phones have text-messaging capability,” West said. “We felt that leveraging this fact would make good competitive sense.” —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Papa John’s decision makers believe that comparative ease of use makes a text-based ordering application a “better bet” than so-called “mobile Web” alternatives, like the one supported by Domino’s Pizza [3] at more than 2,700 U.S. units. A mobile Web order system lets users order anything they desire, not just preprogrammed favorite combos, but they must do so using browser software and the relatively small display screens and keypads of Internet-capable cell phones or personal digital assistants. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Papa John’s largest rival, Pizza Hut [4], has said it supports text message and mobile Web orders at about 6,200 U.S. restaurants. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

To use the Papa John’s system, customers first must create an account on the chain’s website at www.papajohns.com . This entails selecting four favorite orders from an online menu and designating them “FAV1,” “FAV2” and so on. Diners also register a primary delivery address labeled “SAV1” and, if desired, additional delivery destinations, such as their offices. Storing credit or debit card data, encrypted on the website, is optional. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Once placed, orders hit the operator’s proprietary online ordering system through an interface built in conjunction with that system’s designer, Wiseoutlook of Tallahassee, Fla. Papa John’s sends a reply, and customers have the option to change or confirm both the content and the destination of their orders. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.

Based on geographic codes built into the application, the system determines which Papa John’s store should receive orders and routes them to the appropriate unit. Orders simultaneously pop up in stores’ point-of-sale systems, which run a homegrown program called Profit, and on their “make lines,” where they are displayed on kitchen monitors. —Officials of Papa John’s Pizza, based here, say a text message ordering application launched late last year is delivering “sales lift” to the chain’s approximately 2,700 U.S. stores.