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Pizza Hut scores Super Bowl sales touchdown with mobile orders

Pizza Hut enjoyed record-breaking sales on the day of the Super Bowl, with orders coming from mobile devices representing approximately one-third of total sales, underscoring consumer demand for on-the-go food purchases during major sporting events.

The quick service restaurant chain reaped the rewards of the growing shift toward mobile ordering during Sunday’s big game, with smartphone-enabled sales accounting for one-third of total sales. Pizza Hut’s single-day digital sales record bodes well for its competitors, especially if food and beverage brands are wise enough to market to consumers during significant cultural or sporting events that typically involve plenty of get-togethers.

“Mobile has steadily been the fastest growing piece of our business and the results on Sunday were a true indicator of that,” said Doug Terfehr, senior director of public relations for Pizza Hut, Plano, TX.

Mobile sales touchdown
The brand amassed nearly $12 million in sales during the Super Bowl, overshadowing its previous record of $10 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the highest rate of change stemmed from orders made via Pizza Hut’s mobile application and mobile Web site.

More than 60 percent of all digital orders came from smartphones, resulting in mobile clocking in at approximately one-third of all sales.

The staggering mobile sales growth suggests that consumers were quick to make impulse purchases of pizza during their Super Bowl parties. Additionally, individuals hosting get-togethers may have ordered pizzas as a last-minute meal option, or perhaps as a complementary snack if they ran out of food.

Second-screen engagement was undeniably high during this year’s Super Bowl, bolstered in part due to brand’s activeness on social media. Mobile users immediately took to Twitter and Facebook to discuss their thoughts on the highly-anticipated commercials, as well as critical moments in the football game.

“The second and third-screen experience is almost as vital as the first screen for fans nowadays,” Mr. Terfehr said. “Checking stats. Engaging in the conversation via social channels.

“So, given that the device is already in their hand, we want to make ordering from us through that experience as easy as possible. That’s a big reason why we think it was such a success.”

Therefore, consumers’ propensity for ordering food on a whim also skyrocketed during the Super Bowl, thanks to their omnipresent smartphones. Pizza Hut, one of the first marketers in its industry to introduce an ordering app, has steadily made improvements to the purchasing experience, ensuring it is as seamless as possible for guests.

App users can set up a profile to save their favorite orders and purchase food from their local Pizza Hut location. The entire menu may be accessed via mobile.

Pizza Hut likely ramped up sales by introducing several new pizzas in time for the Super Bowl. The limited-time Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza includes sixteen cheese-stuffed garlic knots on a pizza crust, and saw extreme popularity on Sunday.

The brand also offered a Golden Garlic Knot Pizza to 50 selected fans, honoring the 50th anniversary of the big game.

Digital ordering prowess
Pizza Hut is planning to continue its laser-focused initiatives on fueling digital orders, especially on mobile.

Its 1,471 locations in mainland China are augmenting in-store dining by enabling customers to receive movie ticket prizes in the WeChat messaging app, as well as special discounts and offers, as a reward for interacting with beacon technology via their smartphones (see story).

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut’s demonstration with Visa and Accenture of a connected car shopping experience at the Mobile World Congress last year was the next stage in consumers’ addiction to their smartphones, built on their growing trust in mobile commerce (see story).

“This is a trend that isn’t slowing down and we are prepared to make sure people see it as an easier way to get a better pizza,” Mr. Terfehr said.