Industry News | October 18, 2010

Papa John Himself Finally Orders Online

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The recipe is his. He developed the “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza” promise, too. John Schnatter, the Founder of Papa John’s, has done a lot to turn the pizza company he started inside the broom closet of his dad’s tavern 26 years ago into the world’s third-largest pizza chain.

One thing he’s never done, though, is order a pizza online. Until now.

Recognizing the impact online ordering has had on the company’s growth the last decade – Papa John’s was the first pizza company to introduce online ordering in 2001 at www.papajohns.com and the brand has since transacted more than $2 billion in online sales – Schnatter marked the rollout of the company’s revamped website this week by placing his first order from his home in Louisville, Ky. – with a big assist from his 12-year-old son, Beau. Watch the video at Papa John’s Facebook page.

“When I started Papa John’s 26 years ago, I never dreamed customers would one day be ordering pizza by computer,” Schnatter says. “Now it looks like online and mobile web ordering will surpass phone ordering, and likely in the not-too-distant future. With the launch of this new site, I decided that it was time to try it for myself, but I made sure I had an Internet expert on-hand: my son Beau. It was easy.”

To celebrate the launch of the new website and “Papa” John Schnatter’s first online order, between now and Oct. 24 customers will receive a free order of cheesesticks with any online purchase of a large specialty pizza at regular menu price at papajohns.com. Since Papa John’s became the first pizza chain to offer online ordering in 2001, the brand has garnered the highest online sales average per restaurant in the country.

Features of the newly launched papajohns.com website include:
• Pizza Builder Graphics – Allows customers to put together their own pizzas through an interactive pizza-making application, showing them a visual of their finished product that matches in-restaurant topping specifications.
• Papa Points Online Loyalty Program – With the launch of the only online pizza loyalty program, customers can earn points towards free pizza with each online purchase. Once enrolled, customers earn one point for every $5 spent online; when customers accumulate 25 points, they receive a free pizza with their next online pizza purchase.
• Quick Click Ordering – For the quickest online experience, customers have the option to select their pizza directly from a list of the most frequently ordered items.
• Future Orders – Allows customers to order their pizza up to 28 days in advance.

According to NPD Group/CREST year-to-date through August 2010, the percentage of Papa John’s traffic originating from internet orders outpaces all other major pizza chains.

In addition, had pizza chains been included in Internet Retailer magazine’s recent ranking of the top online sellers in 2009, Papa John’s online transaction levels would have merited a Top 5 spot next to brands like Apple, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com.

“Papa John’s customers already love ordering their pizzas online,” says Jim Ensign, vice president of digital marketing at Papa John’s. “Our new site will make online ordering even easier, will reward them for ordering online like no other pizza company with our Papa Points loyalty program and with the Pizza Builder feature, will give them creative ways to interact with our pizza like never before.”