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Lunch guys: Texting for pizza? Get ready to LOL

POSTED: April 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

We Lunch Guys are always eager to embrace new lunch technology. If we had been doing this decades ago, we would have said to each other, "Let’s try that new ‘drive through’ thing in our Model T."

Now the cutting edge is the new ordering pizza by text messaging, thanks to Papa John’s. We tried getting the new five-topping extra-large Football Bowl Special via text. So is this the future?

Chris: Tom, I think this text-messaging of orders is both a triumphant and tragic day in the evolution of pizza. It’s triumphant because I can now order lunch in the middle of an 11 a.m. meeting with no one the wiser. But it’s also tragic in that my mother and many in her generation may find that what they once took for granted — calling in a pizza — is now out of their technological reach.

Granted, this text messaging was fairly easy for me because I’ve been ordering Papa John’s online for the past year, so I have an online account and list of my favorite pizza orders already set up.

All I had to do was log on to papajohns.com, input my cell number and create a "favorite order No. 3" for the Football Bowl Special pizza. Then I just texted "FAV3" to 4PAPA. Within two seconds, the order information was sent to my phone. I replied "Y3" for yes on Favorite No. 3. Got the confirmation, and 35 minutes later, got the pizza.

Now that it’s all set up, I can order a pizza in about five seconds. It’s a bold new era (and the pizza rocked too).

Tom: YGTBKM (you’ve got to be kidding me). Granted, since what comes out of Papa John’s oven is pretty standard fare, the fact that you can now order a pizza by text is more exciting than any new pizza they’ve developed.

Unfortunately their techno-breakthough falls as flat as their pizza. The process of ordering by text is initially too tedious.

Since I wasn’t already set up I had to enter a bunch of information in addition to what you mentioned. In the time I was putting all my personal info into their site I could have ordered by phone 10 times over. But I have to admit, once it’s all set up ordering by text is simple. You just have to order a bunch of times to make it worth your initial effort.

The other problem besides set up is that the only time I want to order a Papa John’s pizza is when they are advertising a new special ... which no doubt isn’t in my pre-listed favorites. That means I have to get online and add the new pizza as a favorite, which kind of defeats the purpose of ordering by text in the first place.

So ultimately Chris, what good is this innovation 4COL (for crying out loud)?Chris: Simplicity, Tom. You get to create four favorites and ordering one of those couldn’t be easier. I never took you for a technophobe.

The first time takes some set up, yeah, but now it’s all turn-key. I’ll bet you’ll stick to the old-fashioned phone when Papa John’s unveils its "ordering by telepathy" in a couple years

Tom: Well, next time I need to order a Papa Johns during a wedding, in the middle of someone’s backswing or any other time talking on the phone is inappropriate I’ll text. But other than that, I’ll call and I bet I’ll get my pizza just as quickly as you do.

Tom James and Chris Tauber are Orlando, Fla.-based writers.



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