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Pizza Hut Builds Web Testing Programme with PMC

Pizza Hut

With over 38% of its home delivery business coming through its web site, Pizza Hut (UK) Ltd needs an exacting web testing process to ensure faultless customer service. In its fast moving world its web site is updated every eight weeks so it's vital that the online experience delivers exactly what Pizza Hut's customers expect - food delivered to the door, hot, fresh and on time.

Pizza Hut operates around 700 stores in the UK and employs 16,000 people, across a business divided into restaurant and home delivery. Part of Yum! Brands, Inc. - the world's largest restaurant company – the Pizza Hut brand is a global leader within its food category.

John Zray, Online Delivery Manager Pizza Hut UK states: "Online pizza ordering is an essential part of our business which means there is absolutely no scope for web site error. We can take web orders from all around the UK and the pizza must be with the customer in 30 minutes or less."

"We simply don't have time for issues with the web site. Some online retailers have the luxury of 24-hour or longer delivery times – we have 30 minutes. Our online customers contact us when they want a pizza and they want it fresh, hot and on time. For us that's all part of the customer experience."

One added complexity in keeping the Pizza Hut web site up to date is the fast moving nature of its business. To give its customers a regularly updated menu, Pizza Hut makes frequent changes to the product – at least every eight weeks. That means changes to the web site for 'limited time offer' feature pizzas, and marketing initiatives such as last year's 'A-Team' pizzas, promoted to tie in with the release of the A-Team movie.

Zray explains: "Our ordering process is too specific to our business to fit into an off-the-shelf software package, so our web site is a bespoke development. The changes we make mean we are re-writing a portion of the web site every few weeks – and that's where PMC come in. There are risks involved with frequent and complex changes, but we can't afford any customer issues. Everything has to work as the customer expects and we have to fulfil our 30 minute window."

"Two weeks before each change PMC carry out User Acceptance Testing (UAT) on the web site to test all the options. This includes going through all the different Pizza combinations – selecting types, bases, toppings and sizes to make sure they all work as the users expect. They also test our 'Everyday Value Deals' where customers can choose different combinations of products at discounted prices. And were that not complicated enough they also have to test our 'half and half' pizzas."

The Pizza Hut web site has to be easy to understand, user friendly and intuitive to use. To ensure that the customer experience is consistent PMC's testing programme covers Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome. Each time there's an update PMC test the web site across all browsers.

Testing continues its progress from a 'policing function' to a 'business critical function' and the Pizza Hut web site is a perfect example, as Martin Kitwood, IT Director at Pizza Hut confirms: "Without a comprehensive and reliable testing routine we could not ensure the site's integrity and that could be disastrous during peak trading times."

"For example, if an order fails to reach a store correctly that means unhappy customers who might think twice about coming back to Pizza Hut and we cannot allow that to happen. Ensuring our customers receive an engaging and faultless online experience is an integral part of selling pizzas. Also, a number of our restaurants are franchised businesses so if the web site did not work effectively it could negatively impact their business.

Emphasising the importance of effective UAT, John Zray cites the benefits in working with PMC: "They recognise the business critical aspect of testing and clearly understand our needs, and crucially, there is continuity across our testing programme. PMC are quickly up to speed with each new set of changes. We discuss with them which products are new, what's being replaced plus any other changes or offers. PMC's web testing experience makes the briefing time short and speeds implementation, plus we are confident the testing is bullet-proof. They don't require hand-holding and that makes our life much easier."

For the future, Pizza Hut is considering other online ordering channels. It already has one mobile ordering application, and is looking to expand much further on that. They are also looking at options to extend their use of social networking channels.

Zray closes: "Going forward, we are looking at how to improve the customer ordering 'journey' based on what we've learned over the years, and we also want to ensure that our customers find it as easy to order our products from a 'smart phone' as they do from their PC, laptop or tablet."