The biggest fast-food pizza companies in America are making it borderline mindless to order an extra cheesy pie.
On Thursday, Yum! Brands (YUM) - Get Report owned Pizza Hut became the latest chain to dive deeper into the use of ordering technology by linking up with Amazon.com's (AMZN) - Get Report Alexa personal assistant. Starting today, pizza and drinks could be ordered from Pizza Hut simply by mouthing phrases such as "Alexa, open Pizza Hut" and "Alexa, ask Pizza Hut for a pizza" into either the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets. Pizza Hut's foray into voice ordering comes on the heels of it going live with ordering via "chatbot" on Facebook (FB) - Get Report and Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report messenger over the summer.
The expanded ways to order a pizza, coupled with the eventual roll-out of a better mobile ordering platform by late 2017, could help improve Pizza Hut's up and down sales trends of the past year. Pizza Hut's third quarter same-store sales in the U.S. fell 2%, following a 1% gain in the second quarter.
"We have to do a better job with technology," explained Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed in a interview lat month with TheStreet. "We need a single point-of-sale platform, which we don't have at the moment but will have at the end of 2017 -- but once we have that, we can get into things like loyalty [programs]," Creed added.
Meanwhile, a slick mobile ordering platform, a new loyalty program and a dizzying number of ways to order food has propelled Pizza Hut's rival Domino's Pizza (DPZ) - Get Report . The company now offers the capabilities to order via Amazon Echo, Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report Siri, Samsung smart TVs, and even an emoji on Twitter. Domino's U.S. same-store sales surged 13% from the prior year in the third quarter, marking the 22nd straight quarter of gains.
"The company has been benefiting from a steadily growing online/digital ordering mix that currently represents over 50% of domestic orders, and it has a long runway for growth," points out Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst Gregory Francfort.