August 20, 2013

HTML5 to Go: How HTML5 Will Change Food Delivery

Most of us have been there at one point or another, dreading the thought of cooking a meal—it may be too hot for the oven, or just too long a day to get enthusiastic about pulling ingredients together—and so we turn to the legion of drive-through or delivery restaurants out there for an evening’s meal. But one of the biggest names in delivery and fast food, Domino’s Pizza, is looking to shake up the way we think about the drive-through in general, and it’s planning to use HTML5 to get there.

So what does Domino’s have in mind? Well, like a lot of companies in that industry, it’s got a Web-based ordering system as part of its normal repertoire of ordering options. But recently, there was word to move the online ordering system to HTML5 instead of Flash, stemming from a recent move by Domino’s to buy up a large portion of Domino’s efforts all over the world. Just last week, reportedly, the company bought fully 75 percent of Domino’s Japan, and that prompted a little extra note of urgency to the whole thing.

Moving to HTML5 will offer some significant advantages for Domino’s, like the ability to open up the online ordering services to iPad users, as well as to various smartphones. Domino’s does, however, offer dedicated apps specifically for use on the iPhone and Android devices, as well as a Facebook (NewsAlert) app. But bringing out HTML5 not only gives Domino’s a level of future-proofing, but also opens up the field to the broadest number of users.

Image via Shutterstock

Further, Domino’s expects big things out of its move to HTML5, citing it—as well as more aggressive online marketing—to bring a major hike to sales for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Reports indicate that Domino’s expects online sales will go from half of total sales now to fully 80 percent of sales over the course of the next three years. This has in turn led Domino’s top brass—specifically chief executive Don Meij—to wonder just how long the drive-through concept has left to live. Meij further describes a world in which food orders are placed and tracked via smartphone, and timed so carefully that the food arrives shortly after the user arrives home to collect it. So, with such a carefully-timed stroke of logistics in place, as Meij put it, “Why would you waste your life sitting in a drive-through?”

Of course, some doubt the efficiency that Meij describes, like Brennan McDonald, who described a Domino’s ordering experience that went badly awry. McDonald described ordering through Domino’s website, and noting the timer on the site that shows how far along the ordered pizza is in the construction process. When the timer crashed in the middle, however, McDonald wondered just how badly off the process was.

HTML5 would likely have improved that process, thanks to its ability to readily work with Web browsers. But by like token, Meij’s pie-in-the-sky—so to speak—projections of a world free of drive-throughs is probably not going to happen. But Domino’s raises an interesting point: what if a drive-through restaurant’s only function was to set food out for rapid pickup? The order could be placed—even paid for—via credit card, debit card, or PayPal (NewsAlert) account or the like—and then picked up at the drive-through, making the throughput on the drive-through so fast that the only line would be a temporary, quick-moving one as people stopped, got the ordered food, and left.

Will HTML5 kill the drive-through? Not likely. But it will certainly change it as we know it today.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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