- As cofounder of CyberSlice, Bryan Cupps introduced the world to online pizza ordering in 1996 and was nominated by Steve Jobs for the Computerworld Smithsonian Award.
- After launching several high-tech startups, Cupps is looking to bring his skills and talents back to the pizza business.
Related: The NeXT Generation: How Steve Jobs changed the way we sell pizza
As the cofounder of CyberSlice (later known as Food.com), Bryan Cupps pioneered online pizza ordering in the late 1990s. In fact, with a little help from Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, he helped spark the e-commerce revolution that transformed the restaurant industry—and the entire world.
Today Cupps is a highly acclaimed technology executive with more than 30 years of experience in the design and delivery of cost-effective, high-performance software and hardware solutions. And he’s looking to get back into the pizza restaurant industry.
Cupps is currently chief technology officer for Equa, a leading immutable governance platform for high-growth startup and blockchain companies. He’s also president of Cupps Beer Root, which makes craft non-alcoholic root beers.
But pizza is Cupps’ first love. And, as PMQ reported in its June-July 2019 cover story, pizzeria chains and independents might not have the moneymaking technological prowess they enjoy today without him.
In early December 1996, about an hour before the historic internet launch of CyberSlice in Redwood City, California, Cupps felt a tap on his right shoulder. “Hi, I’m Steve Jobs,” the man said, “and you must be Bryan Cupps.”
Cupps remembers smiling to himself and thinking, “Of course I know you are Steve Jobs.”
Jobs went on to congratulate Cupps for his “ingenious” adaptation of the first online ordering pizza application, which used Jobs’ NeXT WebObjects software and included fully functional, animated, voice-enabled and geo-positioning-enabled online ordering technology just for pizza.
Jobs then made pizza history by pressing a key and ordering the first online pizza in the world. By 2019 more than 50% of all pizza orders were originating online. For leading chains like Domino’s, online ordering now accounts for the majority of their sales.
CyberSlice soon evolved into Cybermeals and later Food.com. Cupps went on to cofound several technology startups, including iWare and DualCor Technologies. He holds 14 patents and two international patents for hardware and software.
Jobs even nominated him for the prestigious Computerworld Smithsonian Award, recognizing leaders of innovation in information technology, in 1997.
Cupps reflected on the changes he has seen in the pizza industry since then. “Twenty years ago, the pizza industry found technology interesting but did not understand how it could benefit their businesses,” he said. “Online ordering was novel, and online ordering behavior was not an acceptable norm. Back in the day when we first launched CyberSlice, the telephone was our biggest competitor. Today, other food groups on Grubhub and DoorDash are the pizza industry’s biggest competitors.”
“Online ordering has become an acceptable norm, and pizza operators understand that advancements in technology can give them a more competitive edge,” he added. “For me, this means that any new technology ideas or advancements that can be integrated into the industry will be met with optimism and not skepticism.”
“My first love has always been the pizza industry,” Cupps noted. Creating Cupps Beer Root has kept him active in the pizza restaurant business. The company “allows me to help the industry with a new competitive drink since we’re initially selling exclusively through pizzerias, which gives it a competitive edge,” he noted.
But Cupps knows his tech skills can help take the right pizza company to the next level in this era of rapid—and dizzying—digital transformation. “With my technology skills,” he said, “I can also help the industry with new and innovative technology angles and ideas to be even more competitive.”
Want to learn more about how Cupps can help your pizza company? Contact him at email@example.com.