The recent tropical storm made me think about how important diversifying communication efforts in a business can be. Successful businesses don't simply need phones anymore, they need to reach their consumer base via the internet as well.What if there's some mild storm that knocks out the archaic phone lines? Take-out website to the rescue!
I would like to take Papa John's as my normative example here. Obviously, you can reach any Papa John's by simply showing up to their store and placing an order or making a phone call, but be prepared to hear "Thank you for calling Papa John's. Can you please hold?". What has the pizza giant done to remedy the situation? Papa John's has maintained a HUGE internet presence. If you were opportunistic enough to sign up for Papa John's internet-based ordering service before the Super Bowl, you got a free large pizza and a 2 liter beverage. The fun doesn't end there, lucky consumer. For every 5 dollars you spend with Papa John's via their web ordering system, you earn 1 "Papa Point". Once you've accrued 25 of these points, you have just earned yourself a free pizza.
I would like to take this time to say that Papa John's is NOT my favorite pizza, and I don't think it tastes the best of all the options that I have, BUT it IS the MOST CONVENIENT option, and that speaks volumes. I know that every 5th order or so, I can look forward to a free meal. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but this strategy works! Jimmy John's has also streamlined their internet ordering services, complete with boxes that can be checked and drop down menus to customize your sandwich.
When I was in Japan during my tenure in the Navy, everyone delivered, even Subway. It's my stance that everyone SHOULD deliver. Until everyone catches up with that concept, Jimmy John's and Papa John's will be getting my take-out dollars. Who's getting yours? Clearly these companies grasp the concept, "Interact. Don't Interrupt".