Burgers, pizza, and a wide range of groceries are on the menu for consumers who are too busy, or just too lazy, to make a food run—or even bother picking up the phone.
Now that a critical mass of consumers have grown comfortable ordering pizza online, the next step appears to be ordering food through the TV. Or more precisely, through a video game console.
This week, Pizza Hut and Microsoft introduced a “first-of-its-kind ordering app” that allows users to place orders for delivery via an Xbox 360 system. Users can use voice commands and hand motions (with Kinect) during the ordering process, and “geo-targeted” deals will pop up on the home screen, just in case your stomach is grumbling and you need a reminder of how easy it is to order. (My colleague at Techland questions the ease of the system, however, especially because it still requires the user to actually get off the couch and answer the door when the delivery guy comes. That’s asking a lot.)
After placing an order, you can immediately share it on Facebook—because indeed this is exactly the kind of important news that’s perfect for sharing on social media. This move could cause trouble, though. It might alert gamer friends to get off their couches and come over and mooch a slice. But hopefully, they too are too lazy to leave their homes.
The new app even has a celebrity endorsement or sorts, “retired” pro Halo gamer Dave “Walshy” Walsh, who told Forbes that he anticipates other big brands will follow in Pizza Hut’s footsteps by pairing up with video game consoles. “I have every idea this is just the first step of good things to come from Pizza Hut and this app launch,” he said.
In other news concerning fast food that’s far easier to get than the drudgery of a trip to the drive-thru, Burger King, which launched delivery service a year ago as a test in the Washington, D.C., area, is expanding in three big cities. The service was introduced in Miami last fall, and in addition to D.C., New York City, and Houston, delivery via BKDelivers.com will soon be available from 20 locations apiece in Chicago and Los Angeles, and another 15 BKs in San Francisco, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.
Healthier options are available at the grocery store, of course, though it’s increasingly likely you won’t have to take the time to actually go to a physical store. While there is some skepticism about online grocery shopping as a viable business, the Wall Street Journal reported that there’s a big push into the e-grocery business from companies such as Amazon, Google, Walmart, and Relay Foods, a rapidly growing operation based in Virginia that just raised another $8.25 million in a new round of venture funding.
The potential for the e-grocery industry seems enormous. Though 36% of shoppers just can’t picture ever ordering groceries online, 37% said they plan on giving it a try this year, according to a Hartman Group survey cited in the piece.
Relay Foods is in the process of expanding next-day grocery delivery services in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area, according to Supermarket News. Delivery costs $10. The company also offers free pickup at locations near employment centers, for customers who are cheaper than they are lazy.