Big Pizza and the Digital Order
With Domino’s much-hyped announcement of its Zero Click ordering app earlier in April, the CSG editorial team takes a look at the top US pizza operators to ascertain the level at which consumers increasingly rely on digital platforms to get their pizza fix.
Looking first at the three largest US chains according to Chain Store Guide’s Foodservice Technology Database, the story is remarkably similar, with a few caveats. If, however, we then move past the Big Three, the digital influence is greatly diminished.
*As a percent of total US orders. Source: Company reports.
The current high-water mark for digital orders is roughly 50%. Looking beyond the marketing efforts of and competition among these three chains to promote their digital capabilities (and ultimately position their brand as cutting edge and of-the-moment), the narrative changes, often due to the inherent business model of the organizations that do not feature a delivery component.
Little Caesar’s: The fourth largest pizza chain in the US according to CSG’s Foodservice Technology Database sees its competitive advantage as resting squarely on the hot-and-ready quick-serve concept to the point of using their lack of digital capabilities as a badge of honor in marketing campaigns.
Papa Murphy’s: At number five on the list, Papa Murphy’s launched a new website and e-commerce platform in March of this year, demonstrating a felt need to “do digital.” Given the take-and-bake concept employed by the chain, a welcoming online platform seems to currently be the optimal approach.
The Rising Stars: The fast-fired, made-to-order, fast-casual chains that have grown by leaps and bounds in the last two years (Blaze, Pie Five, Pieology, Pizza Rev, and MOD to name a few) provide another business model that opts out of the digital arms race by design. Instead, with slight variation, the unique selling point (though soon-to-be ubiquitous) is personal interaction at the point of purchase.
In addition to these chains, a large swath of mid- to small-sized chains simply do not have the resources to deploy the levels of technology and marketing required to put forward an advanced digital-ordering platform.