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The delivery pizza business has always been mobile in one sense, but Pizza Hut is making sure that it spreads into mobile commerce as well. This first-mover introduced its mobile website in 2007, an iPhone application in 2009, and apps for the iPad, Android, and Windows Mobile 7 in recent months.

The decision to go mobile in the latest sense was based on a few insights that Pizza Hut gleaned from its market research. In particular, if it did not offer mobile access quickly, its competitors might be first to do so in the competitive pizza market. However, a key concern was cannibalization of sales through the website. The Pizza Hut app lets customers order food through a user-friendly experience, but it also makes sure to identify the closest store locations for delivery or pick-up service.

Without much information about who the consumers who would use the app were, Pizza Hut anticipated more orders from college-aged men, who do not like to cook and want their food on demand, but also are not willing to stop a video game to take the time to order food through more traditional channels. The assumption seemed reasonable—but it also was dead wrong. Further market research, based on the introduction of the app, has shown that there are just as many pizza connoisseurs with iPhones who are older than 55 years as there are 13–24-year-old ordering the pies.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Pizza Hut’s mobile strategy?

Peter Johnston, “Share of the Mobile Pie,” Stores, October 2011.