PLANO, Texas, Dec. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1994, Pizza Hut® rolled out "PizzaNet" on something called the "Internet," a technology breakthrough at the time few marveled at or completely understood. Fast forward 20 years later and that test has paved the way for what has been one of the biggest revolutions in the pizza category ever – digital ordering.
Pizza Hut, widely recognized as the world's largest pizza company, is also "home" to the world's largest pizza restaurant – PizzaHut.com. Nearly one-third of the orders in the U.S. enter through PizzaHut.com, placed either via desktop, mobile or apps. Earlier this year, the company surpassed the $1 billion mark in digital sales.
"We recognized early on that our consumers were spending more and more of their time online, so we moved quickly to be there with them," said Scott Bergren, Chief Executive Officer, Pizza Hut. "As they moved toward mobile versus the home computer, we were there to greet them. Digital ordering is still in its infancy and we are intent on making the experience great for our consumers."
Pizza Hut became the first company to enter the gaming environment with an app capable of digital commerce this year. The "Pizza Hut for Xbox 360" app launched in April and came complete with high definition graphics and voice commands and hand-motion recognition through Kinect. In addition, Pizza Hut's portfolio of mobile apps went through a major upgrade in 2013 and are available on 95 percent of smart phones, including Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
"Our technology team is one of the most robust and skilled in the world," said Bergren. "They've continued to push out advancements in our digital system solely to make the ordering process easier for our consumers."
More orders poured in through digital channels in 2013 than any year in Pizza Hut history. In fact, approximately 50 percent of all digital orders for Pizza Hut came through a mobile device, with the greatest growth coming via the Pizza Hut mobile site, not just the apps.
"Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with purchasing products via their mobile phone, and we've seen that across our system," said Kurt Kane, Chief Marketing Officer, Pizza Hut. "It's only going to continue to increase, just as the more traditional ordering by desktop computer continued to grow in the late 2000s."
The popularity of interacting with the Pizza Hut brand isn't solely found at the ordering experience either. Pizza Hut has the most Facebook fans among pizza companies (10.9 million U.S., 30 million worldwide) and Twitter followers (640,000+ U.S.). The company became a trending topic on Twitter during "The Big Game" in 2013, the only pizza company to achieve that status.
The company's "Hut Lovers" email program has members well into the eight figures and grows by the day as more benefits are added, including exclusive deals, free cheese sticks when members sign up and free cinnamon sticks to celebrate birthdays.
"Our Hut Lovers email program continues to be one of our most effective 'push' communication tools, while our social media channels are our best way to engage daily with loyal fans," said Caroline Masullo, Director of Digital Experience, Pizza Hut.
The focus on technology will only intensify at Pizza Hut in 2014. Among a host of technology advancements planned is a new, sleeker PizzaHut.com for desktop users.
"Simplicity and speed are the most common requests from our online ordering customer, and we've addressed that with our new site," said Bergren. "No company offers the wide variety of digital experiences than we do at Pizza Hut. Not just in the U.S., but around the world."
For more information about Pizza Hut or to order pizza, pasta and wings online, visit PizzaHut.com.
About Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant in the world. In 2013, Pizza Hut was named the Harris Poll Equitrend® Pizza Brand of the Year and was the recipient of the Innovation and Leadership in Advertising Award from the American Advertising Federation, 10th District. The only pizza company to be named a top ten franchise in 2013 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Pizza Hut began 55 years ago in Wichita, Kansas, and today operates more than 14,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Pizza Hut also is the proprietor of the BOOK IT! ® Program, which is a long-standing children's literacy program used in more than 620,000 classrooms nationwide. To order online from Pizza Hut, visit PizzaHut.com.
SOURCE Pizza Hut