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article imageOrder pizza from Facebook Messenger with Pizza Hut's new chatbot

By James Walker     Jul 13, 2016 in Technology
Pizza chain Pizza Hut has announced it has created a chatbot utility for Facebook Messenger and Twitter. Pizza Hut customers can now order food by "talking" to the firm's digital assistant in messaging threads as the company moves to "social ordering."
Pizza Hut unveiled its new chatbot today. It joins a quickly growing roster of companies who are flocking to the new bot platforms offered by Facebook, Twitter and other messaging apps. Pizza Hut customers can start talking to the service by adding the bot as a "friend." Conversations can then be initiated through the Facebook Messenger and Twitter apps.
The bot's functionality is limited to a handful of convenience features. You can ask to see the latest deals and then place an order for food. You can mark pizzas as your favourites and easily reorder them at a later date. Once the order is placed, Pizza Hut will prepare and deliver your food. A receipt is sent to you via email.
Pizza Hut, the largest pizza chain in the world, is partnering with SaaS platform Conversable to launch the bot. Conversable specialises in "conversational commerce," allowing brands to create customised automated experiences on existing messaging and voice platforms. It makes it easier to get started building Messenger and Twitter bots, providing machine learning technology to improve performance.
Pizza Hut said it is introducing the bot to extend its presence on social media. Rival chains such as Dominos already offer a variety of different ways to order food digitally, including from your car and smart TV. Pizza Hut has been later to adopt technology but is now positioning itself ahead of the curve by becoming an early adopter of messaging bots.
"The new Pizza Hut social ordering platform is another example of making it easy for our customer to order their favorites from Pizza Hut," said Baron Concors, Pizza Hut's chief digital officer. "We are constantly pursuing ways to simplify our ordering experience. This platform allows our consumers to quickly order or get information where they are already spending a great deal of their time."
The bot will launch in the fall and will initially be available on Facebook Messenger and Twitter at participating restaurant locations. Menus, deals and promotions will be tailored to each area. Pizza Hut account holders will be able to link their Facebook account to simplify the sign-up process. You'll still need to add an email address to receive receipts for orders.
Messaging bots are being billed as the next big digital revolution, akin to the transition to smartphone apps almost a decade ago. Bots integrate seamlessly into existing apps and can be added in seconds. Similarly, they can be immediately removed after use, making them more applicable to one-time scenarios than the permanently installed of apps.
Bots could offer much simpler engagement with companies, letting you communicate with brands in the same way you do friends and family. Facebook Messenger already has over 11,000 bots, only three months since launch. Developers appear to be eager to create bots, although it will take longer to gauge the response of consumers.
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