Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Pizza Hut targets iPhone users with unique mobile experience

The fast-food chain has launched an iPhone application that lets users order menu items from their phone. The application also serves as a source of entertainment for hungry customers waiting fro their food delivery.

“Customers associate Pizza Hut with innovation and the new iPhone App is an industry first that helps to further our digital leadership,” said Bernard Acoca, senior director for digital marketing at Pizza Hut. “For millions of our customers, mobile devices are an integral part of their lives and we want to make sure that Pizza Hut has a presence in the spaces that our important to our customers.

“That presence should be fun, unique and engaging. With those criteria in mind, we developed our iPhone App,” he said.

The application uses iPhone and iPod touch features such as the user interface and accelerometer to make ordering menu items while having a fun and customized experience.

The pizza ordering section allows consumers to virtually build their own pizza.

Customers can pinch to select size, drag-and-drop toppings onto the pizza.

If a customer adds too many toppings, the pizza explodes and toppings go flying across the screen with an alert to make their pizza happier with fewer toppings.

The Pizza iPhone App delivers a whole new level of interactivity to the process of ordering from Pizza Hut. You’re not merely placing an order, you’re using all of the iPhone and IPod Touch’s functionality to stretch the size of your pizza, slide the toppings into place or toss the sauce on your WingStreet wings,” Mr. Acoca said.  

“And our Pizza Hut Racer game gives you something fun to occupy the time while you wait for your delivery. All of this functionality is unique to the Pizza Hut iPhone App,” he said.

Toppings are deleted by clicking them in a text list.

To customize for half and half, users tilt the phone left or right and the toppings move to one side or the other.

When finished, the user sees a visual representation of what their pizza will look like.

The section used to order WingStreet wings starts with a bowl of wings that changes as users choose the type of wings they want.

Next they select a sauce and are prompted to “cook their wings” by shaking their iPhone or iPod touch until the wings are covered.

Shake too long and the sauce flies across the screen.

As with the pizza ordering, customers finish with a representation of the wings order.

The app has a virtual waiter on call to take Tuscani Pasta orders.

Customers can select from four varieties including Meaty Marinara, Creamy Chicken Alfredo, Premium Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese and Lasagna.

Pizza Hut has also given consumers a way to pass the time as they wait for their pizza with a game called Pizza Hut Racer.

Pizza Hut Racer challenges users to deliver a pizza quickly while avoiding obstacles in the road.

The pizza delivery car speeds up or slows down depending upon the angle of the device, and vibrations and beeps alert users when the driver hits the curb or runs into obstacles.

The application’s deals section displays coupons stuck on a refrigerator door, just like your fridge at home.

Customers can pinch to zoom in and out to view various deals then click on a coupon to place an order using that deal.

Pizza Hut has had mobile initiatives in the past.

It ran ads om Alltel Wireless’ “Altell Perks” service that delivers content and offers to the mobile phone’s idle screen (see story).

Pizza Hut Inc. claims that it is the first pizza chain to offer both text messaging and mobile Web ordering options on a nationwide basis.

For Pizza Hut’s campaign consumers would text an order to 749488 (749HUT) and then receive a confirming text from. Those with a Web-enabled mobile phone had the option of ordering directly from the Pizza Hut mobile site.

Pizza Hut also ran a campaign called “Snap for Rewards.”

The Dallas-based pizza chain let consumers use their mobile phones to take snapshots of MyClick-enabled images printed on Pizza Hut promotional materials for discounts and prizes. It is using MyClick Media’s mobile marketing platform (see story).

“Pizza Hut offers customers more ways to order from us than any other national chain. As marketers, we strive to make ordering from Pizza Hut convenient through as many different touch points as possible. Mobile ordering is another way we accomplish that goal,’ Mr. Acoca said.

“Pizza Hut has always been celebrated as a category leader in innovation, first with our food and, in recent years, with an increased presence in the digital space,” he said. “The development of our iPhone App, the first by a national pizza chain, shows that Pizza Hut is continuing to lead the category in innovation.”