Pizza Hut India: Increasing customer coverage and delivering pizzas on time with Google Maps and Google Cloud
This story is originally published on Google Cloud blog.
With Google Cloud Platform, Google Maps Platform, and MediaAgility, Pizza Hut India is meeting demand from tech savvy consumers for fast, trackable delivery and interaction over multiple customer channels, including web, mobile application, voice and in-store – and gaining the insights necessary to expand quickly and effectively and operate efficiently.
Google Cloud Results
- Maximizes customer coverage and helps ensure riders deliver pizzas to customers within required timeframes
- Onboards new stores to delivery in half a day, rather than the one month required previously
- Meets tech-savvy customer demands to interact across new social media messaging channels
- Launch of live tracking delivers superior customer experience, driving positive word of mouth and repeat business
A subsidiary of United States-headquartered corporation Yum! Brands, Pizza Hut prides itself on serving more pizzas than any other pizza business. Founded in 1958, Pizza Hut operates 18,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. In the Indian subcontinent, Pizza Hut and franchise partners Devyani International and Sapphire Foods India operate more than 500 pizza restaurants, including 430 in India itself.
Yum! Brands aims to increase the number of Pizza Hut restaurants in India to 700 by 2022 and has nominated the country as one of the keys to its future growth. The business also operates the KFC and Taco Bell brands in India.
“Globally we are the number one pizza chain in the world based on store count and we aim to be the single biggest pizza brand in India,” says Prashant Gaur, Chief Brand and Customer Officer, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent.
Pizza Hut launched initially in the country in the late 1990s as a dine-in restaurant brand. However, with changing customer needs, Pizza Hut soon included delivery and takeaway to provide customers with the best tasting pizzas whenever and wherever they wanted them. “Pizza is always at the center of the experience, whether through delivery, dine-in, or takeaway,” says Gaur. “Convenience is key in allowing people to access our products.”
While the business had long shifted into a model that featured delivery and takeaway options, it still used some manual processes. For example, some restaurants used manual listings of customer addresses to manage delivery, which ended up excluding some customers and compromising the brand. In other cases it could take the business up to a week to create a trade zone – a delivery zone assigned to a restaurant – for each new outlet, delaying the commencement of delivery services and costing the business money.
In addition, Pizza Hut India identified an opportunity to more closely track whether pizzas were being delivered within targeted timeframes.
“In some cases, we were using a manual, self-reporting mechanism that provided information about the number of orders that reached consumers less than 30 minutes after an order was placed,” explains Ashish Agarwal, Director, Technology and eCommerce, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent. “We wanted to objectively track and verify delivery times.”
Manual order tracking and execution also limited the number of orders that could be processed effectively during demand peaks. Further, customers could not monitor the status of their pizza orders, including estimated time of arrival.
“Millennial consumers expect products and services to be available when and where they want them. Our focus is to retain the heritage of the brand, which is the dine-in environment, legendary service, and great assets in terms of our stores, while responding to this demand,” adds Gaur.
Pizza Hut India also needed improved analytics in order to identify where the best returns could be achieved by opening new restaurants; how to improve the customer experience; and operate more efficiently.
The business decided to implement a transformation program underpinned by two imperatives: the need to deliver operational efficiencies and scale faster by accelerating the opening of new stores, and the need to give consumers the option of connecting with the brand using the most convenient channel.
“We loved Google Maps Platform as its accuracy and value was proven by consumers using Google Maps their day-to-day needs” – Ashish Agarwal, Director, Technology and eCommerce, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent
A ground-breaking initiative
Pizza Hut India evaluated potential technology partners that could help deliver the program and decided to partner with digital consulting services company MediaAgility, and use Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud Platform services.
“Our journey with MediaAgility and Google incorporated two key initiatives that had a specific impact on our brand and consumers,” says Gaur. “The first of these initiatives was the launch of a feature that enabled consumers and our business to track delivery riders in real time.”
This initiative was ground-breaking for a business that had, until recent years, focused on establishing itself as a restaurant brand. However, with delivery an increasingly important part of its revenue mix, Pizza Hut India decided to build customer engagement through the channel. “By allowing customers to track delivery riders in real time, we could improve engagement – but more importantly give them control,” says Gaur.
During the evaluation, MediaAgility demonstrated Google Maps Platform to Pizza Hut India. “We loved Google Maps Platform as its accuracy and value was proven by consumers using Google Maps for their day-to-day needs,” says Agarwal.
Pizza Hut India conducted brainstorming sessions with MediaAgility and its franchise partners to develop its strategy and complete the implementation. The business then completed several proofs of concept to determine how best to deploy and adapt the technology to some operational processes. “We submitted some data points to our franchise partners and our Pizza Hut brand operations team, and they determined which option to adopt,” says Agarwal.
Google Maps Platform powers delivery
MediaAgility, Pizza Hut India, and the franchise partners then completed a three-month implementation that included onboarding all existing restaurants and new restaurants to the delivery platform based on Google Maps Platform and on Google Cloud Platform.
Pizza Hut India now uses Distance Matrix API through Google Maps Platform to provide travel time and distance based on recommended routes between origins and destinations. This service helps provide delivery riders’ estimated time of arrival to customers.
Directions Service calculates directions by communicating with the Google Maps API Directions Service, which receives direction requests and returns efficient paths based on travel time and factors such as distance and number of turns. This service provides a view of the delivery rider’s position relative to the customer’s location.
Through the Nearest Roads service included in Roads API, Pizza Hut India obtains individual road segments for given GPS coordinates, while Snap to Roads provides the best-fit road geometry for given GPS coordinates.
Google Cloud Platform runs the delivery platform
Pizza Hut India is running its delivery platform on a Google Cloud Platform architecture that comprises App Engine to run its web applications; virtual machine instances provided through Compute Engine; Cloud Datastoreto run a NoSQL document database; Firebase to develop and run its mobile applications; Cloud Storage to store data; and a BigQuery analytics data warehouse.
“We have taken significant strides in the past three to four years to change our customers’ online ordering experience, and the last-mile delivery experience to the customers’ homes.” – Prashant Gaur, Chief Brand and Customer Officer, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent
With Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud Platform, Pizza Hut India and its franchise partners are realizing the goals of the transformation program.
Rather than take up to seven days to manually map trade zones for stores, Pizza Hut India uses Google Maps Platform to create and update them as required. “After we started working with MediaAgility and Google, we digitized those maps and created trade zones – zones within which Pizza Hut India restaurants will deliver – based on estimated travel times during the busiest time of the week,” says Gaur. “This minimizes the risk of late deliveries.
“The other benefit was reduced time to activate new stores,” he adds. “If you are launching 100 stores per year, this becomes a big, big task. Now we can bring new stores into the market much more quickly.”
With MediaAgility and Google Maps Platform, the business can also help ensure newly built establishments – such as blocks of flats – are captured within trade zones, allowing stores to deliver to residents.
Delivery accounts for increased transactions
Pizza Hut India now automatically allocate orders to delivery riders using a rider tracking application on their mobile phones. When a rider starts his or her journey, Google Maps Platform enables point-by-point tracking by consumers and store managers. The Pizza Hut India delivery operations team monitors delivery performance through a real-time dashboard.
Pizza Hut India is meeting customer expectations of live, map-based streaming of delivery status on their devices – enhancing customer experience and loyalty, and adding accountability to the process. The business is reaping the rewards of its investment, with delivery now a large slice of its overall offering. “We have taken significant strides in the past three to four years to change our customers’ online ordering experience, and the last-mile delivery experience to the customers’ homes,” says Gaur.
Launching delivery tracking has also had a dramatic impact on Pizza Hut India’s internal key performance indicators. “The proportion of calls to our call center that are following up on an order, as opposed to placing an order, has fallen dramatically,” says Gaur.
Further, Pizza Hut India is running advanced analysis of data in the BigQuery data warehouse, enabling the business to determine which restaurants are doing well, which deliveries may be delayed, and what locations are most promising to open a new store. These insights enable the business to boost productivity, expand effectively, and operate more efficiently.
The business can now onboard new stores to delivery in half a day, rather than the month required previously. “The process enabled by Google Cloud and MediaAgility is also delivering significant operational cost savings as well as helping us open and grow new stores quickly,” says Agarwal.
“MediaAgility acted as our development partner across the project, helping us deploy everything from zones to rider tracking,” he says. “It’s been with us from the strategy discussion through the implementation and stabilization phases.”
“When we began our online journey in 2016, we predicted delivery would be about 25 percent of the mix by 2020. With Google and MediaAgility, I think it will keep growing” – Prashant Gaur, Chief Brand and Customer Officer, Pizza Hut India Subcontinent
Chatbot in development
MediaAgility has also helped Pizza Hut India create a chatbot using the Dialogflow development suite for creating conversational interfaces. “This project is about giving millennials and other customers one more channel to reach out and connect to the brand,” explains Agarwal.
Pizza Hut India is now ideally placed to continue growing and position itself as a brand of choice for tech-savvy consumers. “We’re extremely pleased with the contribution of all the parties involved in this project and look forward to continue transforming our business to meet the demands of the digital age,” says Agarwal.
While Gaur acknowledges it is difficult to predict change over the next two to five years, he believes delivery is likely to become more prominent in Pizza Hut India’s combination of offerings. “When we began our online journey in 2016, we predicted delivery would be about 25 percent of the mix by 2020,” he says. “With Google and MediaAgility, I think it will keep growing.”