Papa John's has a new weapon in the pizza industry's technology wars

Digital ordering is one of the biggest battlegrounds in the pizza industry, and Papa John’s is trying to stay ahead of the competition.

On Tuesday, Papa John’s launched a customisable ordering app on Apple TV, a pizza industry first.

The app allows customers to customise all orders, as well as store past orders, payment, and delivery information. All Papa John’s orders made via Apple TV are automatically discounted 25%.

“We found there are new ordering occasions that were happening out there all the time… especially with streaming videos and all the binge watching that is happening,” Papa John’s senior director of digital marketing Anne Fischer told Business Insider.

Currently, 55% of Papa John’s orders are made through digital channels. Since the average pizza order is 18% greater online than on the phone, continuing to grow this proportion is crucial to pizza chains.

“It’s about maintaining a leadership position,” Papa John’s COO Steve Ritchie told Business Insider.

Papa john's screenshotPapa JohnA screenshot of Pizza Hut’s Apple TV app.

According to Ritchie, the chain has been expanding its digital orders by 3% to 5% every year since late 2010. The company believes this growth will continue at least until 70% to 80% of all of Papa John’s orders are digital.

However, while Ritchie says new digital channels are an important avenue for digital growth, they are far from the only way to boost digital sales.

Papa John’s has far fewer digital partnerships than rival Domino’s, which also sells more than 50% of orders through digital channels and allows customers to order through the Samsung Smart TV, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, and simply by tweeting a pizza emoji. However, Ritchie says Papa John’s doesn’t want a plethora of partnerships — especially if it means a drop in quality.

“It always comes back to customer experience,” says Ritchie. “If we go on [platforms] with adverse customer experience, we run the risk of losing the customer.”

NOW WATCH: 400 Italian pizza makers spent 11 hours making the world’s longest pizza

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.