Pizza War's next battlefront is in cyberspace
HAWAII fans of Papa John's Pizza
can order online any time of the day or night, now that the world's third-largest pizza chain has spent $1 million to upgrade its online ordering system. Papa John's claims it is the only national pizza chain offering online ordering for all of its restaurants.
Larger competitors Pizza Hut and Domino's offer online ordering on the mainland, but not in Hawaii, yet.
Previously, online ordering from Papa John's Pizza was only available from 10 a.m. to midnight, eastern time, "putting us out of reach for our customers at a time when they might be thinking of placing a plan-ahead order," said Nigel Travis, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Despite the time limitations of the previous online ordering availability, Papa John's has been watching its business volume increase. Its online orders grew 50 percent last year over 2004, so it only made sense to upgrade the ordering system and allow more orders to come in the cyber-door.
An advertiser with trade publication Pizza Marketing Quarterly warned restaurant operators in a promotional article to adopt online ordering or get left behind. The authoring company, Florida-based Pizza.net Industries, cited "the online ordering success at Papa John's (in which) approximately 75 percent of online orders are from repeat customers."
But just because you can order PJ's pizza in your PJ's doesn't mean they'll bring it to your door at 3 a.m.
Deliveries will be made when the stores are open, chuckled Patrick Bullard, spokesman for Papa John's Hawaii Inc., the locally owned franchisee of 15 locations. Delivery charges may also apply.
According to Pizza.net Industries' article, online ordering gives a restaurant more information about the customer than a cash transaction, including a record of how to contact the customer with follow-up discounts or a birthday greeting. Pizza.net Industries also asserted that online ordering lends itself well to up-selling, leading to larger purchase amounts -- and that customers' orders are also placed and executed more accurately, resulting in happier customers.
Papa John's claims it is the first national company to offer round-the-clock ordering online, but Pizza Hut also offers the option on the mainland at all of its company-owned-and-operated stores, according to Julie Hildebrand, spokeswoman for Dallas-based Pizza Hut. Both sites allow customers to place orders for delivery later, say, when they get home from work, or for an upcoming office lunch.
Local Pizza Hut franchisee TD Food Group Inc. is working on adding online ordering for Hawaii, said Leah Allen, marketing director.
Oceanic Time Warner digital customers have been able to order Pizza Hut pizza, sides and sodas through set-top converter boxes since 1999. Oceanic has since added an online food court where take-out orders can be placed at 13 Oahu restaurants. The only delivery option at the moment is Pizza Hut.
Officials with Domino's Oahu franchisee E J Pizza Inc. were in the throes of relocating the Laie store to a new spot in Hauula that is to open Monday and were unavailable for comment.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com