The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

App Development Pizza Express

Pizza Express app speeds up customer payment


By The Drum Team, Editorial


app development article

January 27, 2012 | 5 min read

This case study outlines the strategy behind an app designed for Pizza Express by holdings group Gondola Group. The app allows customers to pay without having to wait for a bill to be brought to their table. The app was awarded Best App at the Social Buzz Awards 2011.

The Pizza Express is an in-restaurant mobile payment system that makes waiting to pay the bill a thing of the past. The key technology is the linking of the app with the Torex till system in real time. It’s fully integrated with PayPal, enabling customers to pay and leave when they want to. Gondola Group has also rolled out a customer Wi-Fi solution to ensure customers have an internet connection at all times. Background to CampaignBefore embarking on the project, Pizza Express asked customers what could be done to make a tangible difference to their dining experience. One of the key needs, particularly for diners with limited time and families eating out with restless kids, was to reduce the time it takes to pay the bill.
The above graph indicates that taking the stress out of waiting to pay the bill and allowing customers to pay and leave when they want to was a real issue. The big innovation of the PizzaExpress app is the solution to this need: the option to pay your bill automatically via your smartphone. Objectives
  • Deliver something new and innovative
  • Give customers what they had asked for at the start of the project
  • Increase level of customers visiting the restaurants by a) giving more choice and convenient to customers so they would return; and b) allowing our customers to book a table at any time on the App
Strategy90% of apps are deleted after 30 days, which Apple refers to as ‘greet and delete’. However, 80% of the initial downloaders updated the Pizza Express app a couple of days after launch when a slightly updated version was issued. The project kicked off in February 2011 with the aim to go live in June. There was a challenge to deliver to this timescale, particularly as to support the app a customer Wi-Fi solution was needed in almost 400 sites. The first challenge was to find a well known, trusted company to enable secure online payments. The obvious choice was PayPal. PayPal were excited about the possibilities and wanted this functionality to be a market first.The next challenge was to find the right mobile IT developer who had the technical know-how to develop payment functionality. 2ergo demonstrated excellent technical skills and had a track record of developing outstanding apps. Gondola Group also wanted to ensure that customers had an internet connection at all times and worked with The Cloud, who offered the Broadband 2plus solution that gives up to 24m/bytes speed.
So how does it work? Once you have placed your order, you can ask for your bill whenever you want. Simply click on our app, select ‘Pay Your Bill’ and enter the 12 digit code which will be clearly marked on the bottom of your bill. Check the amount on the app matches your bill and add a tip if you wish. You also have the option to redeem a valid offer code or voucher and your total bill will be automatically amended. Log in to your Pay Pal account or enter your credit or debit card details and press ‘Pay Now’. Once payment is received, the app will send you and our tills a confirmation that will let us both know you have paid. You will also receive an email confirming your payment and you can view your full receipt in the ‘My Receipts’ section of the app. ResultsAs a business, Pizza Express took £10,000 in payments in the first week through the app. This grew to £100,000 in the first month. The company had set itself a target of 10,000 bookings through the app in the first month and exceeded this with more than 15,000 bookings.The buzz surrounding the launch demonstrated how ground-breaking the app is.
  • The app was featured on BBC Click, a tech programme on BBC World which has around 14 million viewers worldwide. The feature ran seven times on Friday, seven times on Saturday and seven times on Sunday over the launch weekend – and it was also shown on BBC Breakfast over that weekend.
  • News of the app stretched across the globe, with editorial coverage in the New York Times (a first for PizzaExpress) and Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily.
  • The app was also featured in The Guardian (as consumer app of the week), The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times ‘Planet of the apps’, City AM and topped Star magazine’s ‘What’s Hot’ barometer and Marketing Week’s ‘Top 10 most read’ stories.
  • Over 170 articles have appeared to date.
  • Pizza Express attracted 22,000 new ‘likes’ on its Facebook page through a competition to celebrate the launch of the app.
When a journalist from a national newspaper paid an anonymous visit to PizzaExpress to roadtest the app, he asked a team member whether she welcomed the innovation. She described the app as ‘fantastic, especially at peak times, as it frees up waiting staff and speeds up the process for customers at the end of the meal.’

App Development Pizza Express

More from App Development

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +