Why the Pizza Industry is Driving Innovation

The food and beverage industry has been notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. This coupled with the competitive and challenging nature of opening, running, and sustaining a restaurant has been a significant force behind why 60% of full-service and limited-service restaurants fail within the first three years.

But there has been one key vertical that seems to rise above the rest, the pizza industry. Its success can be both attributed to the world’s insatiable appetite for pizza pies but also because of the industry’s adoption of digital and technical innovation. And now the rest of the food and beverage industry is looking to play catch up.

How Has the Pizza Industry Spearheaded Tech?

Rooted in Convenience

Convenience has always been a huge component of the pizza industry. Everything from the very way we eat a slice of pizza to the conceptual design of the restaurant and the adoption of online and mobile ordering are there to create a convenient experience for customers.

EMarketer reports that 69% of internet users have ordered food delivery online within the past year, so convenience is table stakes for pizzerias. To streamline the customer experience, operators and managers of pizzerias, big and small, turn to new technologies to simplify the experience for them and their customers. Generation Y, colloquially known as the “Convenience Generation”, now gets one out of every five restaurant meals delivered.

To power the demand for delivery, pizza chains and independent pizzerias need seamless yet comprehensive mobile apps and online ordering to account for high volume and complex, customized orders. It is important that customers can order where, when, and how they want. Operationally, this calls for innovation in delivery technology, including route optimization, driver tracking, customer relationship management, and of course, delivery analytics.

Big Players Embracing New Technology

From Domino’s famously marketed ‘30 minutes or free’ campaign to the CEO clarifying that “We are as much a tech company as we are a pizza company” – Domino’s has been known as an early adopter and leader in digital and delivery innovation. The investment has been incredibly fruitful. Since 2008, Domino’s stock has risen 5,000% and today Domino’s serves as the second-largest pizza chain in the world.

Domino’s isn’t the only pizza chain innovating. Papa John’s now reports that digital orders make up more than 60% of its sales, while they account for about half of Pizza Hut’s delivery and carryout business. And Pizza Hut recently released Visible Promise Time, which lets customers see what time their pizzas will be prepared, ready, and delivered before they place an order.

A Slice of the Future

Drones, robots, and autonomous cars – oh my! So, what does the future of pizza technology look like?

Voice ordering is primed to become a big part of the customer experience. Ease of use for ordering will only become more important, and with technologies like Alexa and Google Home gaining popularity, it’s safe to say that we will see the adoption of voice-activated ordering in pizzerias to keep up with current technology.

Autonomous vehicles won’t just be a consumer play. A key partnership to watch is Domino’s and Ford, where the companies are currently testing self-driving delivery vehicles. And if the pizzas aren’t autonomously driven, they could be flown to your front door… Explain? Domino’s partnered with Flirtey drone delivery service to test out a drone delivery program, and in 2016 a couple in Auckland became the first people to enjoy a flying pizza.

And some companies are taking autonomy to a whole new level; Zume Pizza uses robotics and artificial intelligence to make pizza en route. According to a report by Business Insider, Zume’s automated kitchen makes 370 pizzas an hour and can fill orders and deliver in 5 to 20 minutes.

Any Way You Can Slice It

Choose digital adaptation over disruption with a Revel Pizza POS system. With our POS software you can rise above the crust with a full suite of features, from ingredient-level inventory control to menu building and real-time reporting. With robust pizza delivery management tools, including driver monitoring and smart estimates, rest assured every delivery will be made on time while the pizza is still hot.