BreakingModern — While the delivery pizza has been a staple of modern life for years, it’s really come into its own with the development of the ubiquitous smartphone. The big three national pizza chains have taken advantage of our need for nearly instant pizza satisfaction by providing free mobile apps that make ordering pizza a few clicks away.
But the question remains, which major pizza chain app is the best? Let’s find out in this no-holds-barred deathmatch comparison.
Into the Ring
For this deathmatch, we’re comparing the mobile apps of Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. The apps shown are running on the Android platform and can be found on Google Play. Apple iOS and Windows Phone versions are also available.
First let me say that all of the apps are high-grade and professionally produced. The three companies have obviously spent a great amount of time and money to produce slick mobile apps. The pizza delivery business is serious business after all.
For our deathmatch criteria, will be confined to the user interface. I’ve used all three apps in the past and I can confirm that each will indeed order you a pizza, so we don’t need to test that.
There is also one other common theme between all three apps — to get the most out of them you’ll need to register. When you do, the apps will remember your name, address and favorite pizza. Having all of this information already loaded into the app means the ordering process can be accomplished with just a few taps on your smartphone. If you don’t register, you can still order a pizza using the apps, but you will be doing a lot of typing to make it happen.
By the way, we are not considering the quality of the actual pizza in this comparison.
Domino’s was the first major pizza chain to embrace the smartphone mobile app concept and that leadership shows in the sophistication of its app’s interface. The app is colorful, but the imagery doesn’t distract from the functionality. The buttons are large enough to be tapped with the thumb of one hand — perfect for multitask ordering.
Even better for pizza on the go is the feature that allows you to place orders using voice commands. The competitor’s apps in this deathmatch don’t have this feature. The Domino’s app also allows users to switch to a Spanish-language version, something the competitors fail to offer.
Once your order is placed you can track the progress of your pizza, ranging from preparation to delivery, from within the app. I use this feature to anticipate when the delivery person will be at my door. I like to be ready and waiting to save time for everyone involved.
The mobile app for Papa John’s can best be described as utilitarian. Yes, all the necessary buttons are there for ordering pizza and side dishes, but the interface is all static buttons – there is no flow, no anticipation of how an order from a mobile device should flow.
The app remembers previous orders and your designated favorite pizzas, but each of these “most likely to be ordered again” selections is several taps and screens away. There is no option for switching languages and there is now order progress tracking.
The Pizza Hut app is more stylish with a sliding presentation of special offers on the main screen. However, when you tap a menu item you are taken to a long list of potential pre-configured choices. While this interface works fairly well on a PC or large screen, it is confusing on a smartphone.
The app also takes a linear approach to the ordering process — which is a bit annoying if you change your mind. For example, once you get to the pizza-ordering screen, you can’t go back to the previous screen unless you completely start the whole process over again.
There is no option to switch to a different language and there is no tracking of your order’s progress with the app.
It is obvious that Domino’s has spent the most time and effort on their mobile app when compared to Pizza Hut and Papa John’s. The Domino’s app has by far and away the best user interface and wins this deathmatch with a complete knockout. While the other two apps will get you a delivered pizza, neither is designed, from start to finish, as a mobile app — they are merely adaptations of pre-existing web apps.
It’s no contest, Domino’s wins this deathmatch hands down.
All Screenshots: Mark Kaelin