Pizza Hut will introduce conversational social ordering in the fall with a “chatbot” for Facebook Messenger and Twitter, the company said Tuesday.
The Plano, Texas-based pizza division of Yum! Brands Inc. said it has teamed up with Dallas-based software-as-a-service technology company Conversable to create the platform, which is being announced this week at the MobileBeat Conference in San Francisco.
“The new Pizza Hut social ordering platform is another example of making it easy for our customer to order their favorites from Pizza Hut,” said Baron Concors, Pizza Hut’s chief digital officer, in a statement.
“We are constantly pursuing ways to simplify our ordering experience,” Concors said. “This platform allows our consumers to quickly order or get information where they are already spending a great deal of their time.”
More restaurant chains are rolling out chatbot ordering. The 900-unit fast-casual Wingstop Inc., based in Dallas, debuted a Conversable ordering platform on Twitter and Facebook Messenger in June.
Pizza Hut said its platform would allow customers to reorder their favorites or saved orders by “chatting” directly with the Pizza Hut Twitter and Facebook Messenger accounts. The chatbot can also answer frequently asked questions and distribute deals and promotions, the company said.
“We are committed to servicing our customers in the most convenient way and meeting them in the channels they already prefer,” Concors said. “This launch reinforces our goal of being the most customer-centered pizza company with an emphasis the simplification and personalization of our digital experience.”
To use the platform, customers will connect their Facebook messaging account to their Pizza Hut account. The chatbot will also provide menus, deals and promotions offered at specific units. The company said the service will be free. Twitter orders will operate through that social platform’s direct-messaging channel.
“Once an order is confirmed, Pizza Hut will email the customer a receipt and an order confirmation message will be sent in the Messenger conversation,” the company said. “From there, picking up the order is no different from the traditional online ordering system or calling into the local restaurant.”
Ben Lamm, Conversable's CEO and co-founder, said the chatbot platform is easier for customers to use because they can "find deals and reorder their favorites all without leaving their messaging channels versus stopping what they are doing and going to download an app."
Pizza Hut said about half of its orders now come through digital channels, and more than 60 percent of those orders are via mobile device.
Pizza Hot will be launching the chatbot ordering service at all its 6,400 U.S. Pizza Hut units, except for Pizza Hut Express and nontraditional units.