Border Foods (Pizza Hut Franchisee)
Ordering pizza at the speed of satellite: Border Foods and its Pizza Hut franchises
The speed and reliability offered by broadband satellite technology has increased the effectiveness and profitability of many industries, including telecommunications, financial services, media, hospitality, and retail. A new addition to that list is the pizza industry.
Tired of waiting on hold to place your pizza order, or want to place your order now, but not have the pizza arrive until this evening? Order online. That’s what Pizza Hut customers across the Midwest are now able to do, thanks to a new Hughes Network Systems DIRECWAY® broadband satellite solution.
Border Foods, which owns approximately 80 Pizza Hut franchises in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, has deployed a DIRECWAY broadband satellite network to enable its stores to receive online orders. The results are faster service, increased spending by customers, and greater in-store efficiency.
Imagine rushing home from work to find the refrigerator empty and the kids at their various after-school activities. Instead of rooting around in the kitchen drawer for that pizza coupon and phone number, you go to your PC, log on to www.PizzaHut.com, and with a few mouse clicks, order your pizza and pay for it online. You know the order is accurate and you can even choose when the delivery person will show up at your door with your order, hot and on time.
Online ordering makes it possible.
Border Foods-owned Pizza Hut customers can order pizza at home or work, ahead of time, using their computers. They can pay by credit card online, or, if they prefer, by check or cash when the order is delivered or picked up. Since nearly half of Border Foods’ Pizza Hut locations are in rural locations, satellite’s ability to offer broadband service anywhere made DIRECWAY the obvious solution. For pick-up orders, Border Foods’ Pizza Hut Web page gives customers the location and directions to the nearest store.
In addition to making it easier for more customers to place orders, the DIRECWAY satellite solution links together all Border Foods Pizza Hut locations. The results show clearly the value such systems offer to restaurant operations. They include:
- Store employees spend less time on the phone taking orders and more time at the work counter or servicing customers
- There are no busy signals when ordering online
- Fewer busy signals for customers who choose to phone in orders
- More time for store managers to plan the day and allocate supplies and resources
- Customers can plan ahead for dinner or parties by ordering well in advance
In addition, the return on investment is notable. According to Border Foods, the average price per ticket is increasing. Instead of just ordering “what we got last time” or whatever the coupon offers, customers are now able to view the entire menu online and take their time placing their orders. As a result, the size and value of orders is increasing, as customers add toppings, side dishes, desserts, and drinks, according to Border Foods senior vice president of marketing, Barry Zelickson.
Zelickson says that approximately 5 percent of all sales are now from online orders. “That’s pretty amazing when you consider that we’ve only really been promoting this since we formally kicked it off on February 14 (2004).”
In addition, online ordering is bringing new customers into the fold. “We have identified 21 percent of current online orders coming from customers who had not previously patronized Pizza Hut. What this means is that online ordering is a good way to grow a loyal customer base,” says Zelickson. “Instead of several phone numbers from different pizza stores, customers can bookmark the Web page at their work and home computers.”
Zelickson believes the DIRECWAY network to be a strategic investment that will pay for itself over time, and says he plans to add back office polling and Internet applications to the network in the future.
The Roll Out
Beginning in October 2002 and culminating with the full deployment of all Border Foods’ Pizza Hut stores in January 2003, Zelickson said the roll out was a great example of team work and coordination among all the diverse groups involved — corporate Pizza Hut management, Hughes Network Systems, the PC suppliers, the store managers, and the landlords.
“HNS very quickly got all the stores up and running. This was quite a feat considering we didn’t get started until October and the network was completely installed by January,” said Zelickson.
Border Foods formally announced the online ordering system on February 14, in concert with an advertising campaign that included radio spots and partnering with the local newspaper and their Web page.
About Border Foods
Owning and operating approximately 80 restaurants in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, Border Foods is a Pizza Hut franchisee of Yum Brands.