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Slice debuts iOS app, giving smaller pizzerias a way to compete with chains

Slice, a platform that helps connect consumers with local pizzerias, has debuted its new mobile application, providing a tool for small businesses that should have big brands paying attention.

The app helps consumers find the nearest pizza shop and lets them compare prices and menus. While mobile ordering has mainly been the domain of bigger brands, platforms such as Slice are giving smaller businesses a way to compete in the mobile space.

“With the mobile app, we wanted to create an experience that would make the ordering process quicker and more convenient than ever before,” said Slice founder Ilir Sela. “Our goal was simple – to allow pizza lovers all over the country to order from their favorite local pizzerias anytime, anywhere.

“One way we’re doing this is by updating the outdated process of phone ordering to avoid potential mixups. Through the app, customers can order directly, while gaining access to a variety of payment options, making check-out as painless as possible.” 

Pizza party
Slice was launched in 2010 by Mr. Sela, the current CEO, who wanted to give the many small, local pizzerias he loved in the Staten Island area a way to compete with bigger pizza franchises such as Domino’s or Pizza Hut, who have the benefit of a large corporate backing and can invest money in the latest digital technologies.

In comparison, many smaller local pizzerias do not have much beyond a simple Web site or a listing on Yelp. Sela set out to change that with MyPizza, which was eventually rebranded as Slice.

The platform works by cataloging those smaller pizza places, the ones that only have one or a few locations as opposed to a larger chain, and letting customers not just find them but order from them and reorder past orders through their mobile devices.

That capability is being expanded with the release of Slice’s mobile app on iOS. The app will let users call in orders for delivery or pickup from a number of local pizzerias without having to pickup the phone or go searching through Yelp or Google.

Additionally, as the app is now available on iOS, Slice has added the ability to pay with Apple Pay. Users need only connect the Slice app with their Wallet or Apple Pay accounts and deliveries can be ordered with one tap.

“Slice is a mobile-first company that’s on a mission to make the pizza ordering process simple and quick,” Mr. Sela said. “Mobile is an incredibly important part of our business because it allows us to connect local pizzerias to loyal customers, wherever they live, with the push of a button.

“And our product roadmap going forward will prioritize mobile innovation to benefit our pizza eaters.”

Uphill battle
Slice is beneficial to both consumers and the pizzerias it partners with.

For customers, they are given the option to browse a large amount of local pizza sellers in one seamless marketplace, with the convenience of Apple Pay for checkout. The pizzerias are getting their menus out in front of Slice’s user base in an area that is dedicated solely to pizza, meaning it will be harder for them to get lost among the many other types of restaurants that are available on apps such as Yelp.

While the internet has been a democratizing force for many businesses, bigger brands still have the advantage when it comes to investing in their own digital and mobile resources. Brands such as Pizza Hut are able to make deep investments into their own mobile apps in a way small businesses cannot do.

For example, Pizza Hut has been in deep competition with Domino’s on mobile ordering, with Pizza Hut saw one-third of its transactions come through on its mobile app during this year’s Super Bowl (see story).

Domino’s has been putting its focus on getting mobile ordering on as many different platforms as possible, the latest being chatbots on Facebook Messenger (see story).

When bigger brands can spend a lot on these kinds of digital tools, Slice offers a way for smaller ones to compete – something that bigger brands will have to watch out for if they want to remain dominant.

“Slice supports local restaurants by eliminating contracts and  that other food delivery services require,” the Mr. Sela said. “Local pizzerias deserve access to affordable technology so they can compete with big chains.

“With Slice, our hope is to connect these pizzerias to loyal customers, making the experience simple and enjoyable for all.”