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EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Fresh, responsive and seamless: how Pizza Hut Australia's new ordering platform is redefining their approach to customer engagement

CEO Phil Reed explains the chain's philosophy behind the new Messenger ordering system.

Seeing the innovations in how Aussies are getting their food, Pizza Hut has made it clear that they don't intend on getting left behind.

The pizza chain has become the first QSR brand in Australia to launch an ordering platform via Facebook Messenger, aiming to make the ordering experience even easier for its customers.

Designed for mobile devices, Pizza Hut's Instant Ordering is described by the brand as an extensively customised bot, allowing users to quickly and seamlessly order their products from the app.

The chain is looking to capitalise on the popularity of the messaging platform, which became the most downloaded mobile app between January and March 2019.

Leading the charge is Pizza Hut Australia CEO Phil Reed, who spoke to QSR Media about the importance behind the new platform, how it fits in their ongoing digital transformation and how it will lead to new digital avenues for the chain.

QSR Media: How did the idea for Pizza Hut’s Instant Ordering platform originate?
We are currently building the Pizza Hut brand to be more relevant, more convenient through enhancing our technological capabilities for the Australian market. The native experience, enabling customers to order their favourite selections from our revitalised menu without needing to leave their Messenger app, is an Australian industry first.

The innovative process was born out of a period of creative energy as we continue our digital transformation, developing the brand and driving market share for our franchise partners. One of the key priorities on our journey to recapturing market share is convenience; we’ve been looking at new and exciting ways our brand culture can better complement our customers’ lifestyles, and the Facebook Messenger solution was a winner because of its potential to make selecting Pizza Hut an easier and more enjoyable decision.

We are working in partnership with our developer, Botty, which is a leader in QSR digital technologies.

QSR Media: Why is the Facebook Messenger initiative important in Pizza Hut’s current phase of digital transformation?
Pizza Hut’s Instant Ordering enhances the experience we provide our guests. We recently launched Dragontail software for stores, which will allow our customers to track their delivery orders.

This market-first instant ordering opportunity is a natural next step, allowing us to engage with our consumers in a fresh, responsive way and deliver a seamless end-to-end ordering experience. Also, part of our transformation as a brand is a focus on working in partnership with our franchisees to set them up for success in every way possible.

We’re excited about the digital engagement the Facebook Messenger platform creates between customers and their local stores, providing just another reason why our guests’ local Pizza Hut should be top of mind at meal times, and driving delivery orders for our franchise partners.

QSR Media: How will Pizza Hut’s new ordering platform help boost customer satisfaction?
Pizza Hut is differentiated from other QSR brands by our approach to customer experience. We genuinely seek to add value and ease to our guests’ daily lives, every time a customer walks through our doors or places an order with us online.

We know all too well that our customers are dealing with inboxes flooded with coupons, a range of bookmarked QSR websites and food delivery aggregators competing for their attention. Pizza Hut Messenger ordering overcomes this challenge with a streamlined consumer experience, where our guests don’t have to leave the convenience of a familiar app they are already utilising, to order great-tasting food.

Our research shows that brand affinity and consideration for Pizza Hut is growing rapidly in Australia. This new platform is about providing the best in experience and taste for those who choose us, which ties in with our overall approach to the Pizza Hut brand’s transformation. Our leadership team recognises that leading with heart is the only way to thrive. Driving results and operating with love for people – our guests, franchise partners and employees – are indivisible.

As a brand that’s been at home in Australia for almost fifty years, we understand that food businesses are inherently about delighting customers with taste, speed and a brand culture that supports choice and convenience. The motivation for us in adopting this approach is to inject passion and brand loyalty back into the Australian QSR market, and we’re zeroing in on creating real energy on the ground in our stores to make that a reality. 

QSR Media: What can we expect to see next in Pizza Hut’s digital transformation strategy?
As we continue to transform digitally and culturally, our primary objectives at Pizza Hut are to deliver 100% customer experience. We are working hard to deliver on these priorities through innovative tech developments, complemented by offering our franchisees support and ensuring product quality. At the end of the day, it’s the people in our stores, from our franchise owners and restaurant managers to every dedicated team member, who give life to our great brand.

The Facebook Messenger ordering platform makes it easier for guests to connect with our stores, the same way our recent introduction of the $3 personal pan pizzas has increased foot traffic into our stores for the lunch trade and our WingStreet launch and Coke partnerships have created tasty flavour combinations that set our stores’ offerings apart from other restaurants.

Moving into the future, continuing our drive to be responsive to customers’ preferences, we look forward to monitoring uptake and trends from Instant Ordering to deliver new digital avenues for customers to engage with us. We anticipate that these opportunities will be equally convenient, relevant and fast, and supported by exciting product launches to keep our menu truly reflective of our guests’ tastes.

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