Home Papa Johns Says iPhone App is a Dud – Maybe They Should Try Launching a Real One

Papa Johns Says iPhone App is a Dud – Maybe They Should Try Launching a Real One

At the OMMA Mobile conference on Wednesday, Jim McDonnell, marketing manager, emerging channels for Papa John’s International, shared some bad news about the potential for mobile applications associated with a business. In short, he basically called the Papa John’s iPhone app a dud, saying that the company hasn’t “seen anything that really delivers for us as well as mobile display advertising,” and based on the numbers, the company has decided not to expand to other mobile platforms.

Oh no! The iPhone doesn’t deliver? Businesses take heed? Well, that’s what it sounds like. Except there’s just one small problem here: Papa John’s doesn’t have an iPhone app – they have a mobile website.

According to an article on Mediapost, McDonnell is quoted as saying “we haven’t seen numbers that really made us think we need to be everywhere else yet,” when speaking of the company’s decision to refrain from branching out to other mobile platforms.

In fact, if you read through the article, the doom-and-gloom story of the Papa John’s iPhone app disaster may have you wondering if iPhone apps for businesses are even worthwhile.

After reading through the article, although confused as to the supposed app’s failure, on a personal level I was excited. I didn’t even know that Papa John’s had an iPhone application, but I was definitely interested in downloading it. You see, where I live, Papa John’s is the only pizza place that delivers. I’ve been eagerly awaiting an iPhone application like this since our household tends to order Papa John’s pizza about once a month (well, if we aren’t on diets). I immediately hopped over to iTunes and did a search. Query: “Papa John’s” – no Papa John’s apps found. Query: “Papa Johns” – still, no go. What gives? They were talking about an iPhone application, right?

Apparently not.

Actually, what Papa John’s has is a mobile website at mobile.papajohns.com/iphone, which offers a store locator and shortcuts that take you to the main mobile ordering system – a system that sees 50% of its traffic from iPhones, by the way. And that’s what McDonnell was referring to: a mobile website.

Say what you want, but a mobile site is NOT an app. If it were, then the Papa John’s app could do nifty things like tap into the iPhone’s GPS to display the nearest stores to the user’s current location and offer those stores’ current specials. It could store user account information in its settings so that every time the app was launched, it would remember your latest order… maybe even have a button that let you reorder with one click. And so much more.

But all it does is let you order from a mobile website and locate a store… you know, manually.

Given its limited nature, it wouldn’t be surprising if Papa John’s was only having moderate success with this “app”/mobile site. But the thing is, they are. According to McDonnell, the “app” has driven $1 million in revenue to the company. Um, that’s actually kind of good. Now imagine what a REAL app could do. Unfortunately, McDonnel says Papa John’s just isn’t ready – they’re only “dipping their toe in the pond” now and don’t want to spend money on an honest-to-goodness iPhone application yet, much less start developing for other platforms.

Well, that’s a shame because they haven’t really even dipped their toe into the iPhone platform yet.

Papa John’s, let us know when you actually launch an iPhone application, then you can tell us how well it works for you.

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