Here’s a scenario for you. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and you’re expecting a house full of guests in ten minutes. The game starts in a half hour and you just realized that you forgot to order pizza and wings. Uh oh, what are your guests going to eat? It’s one of the busiest delivery days of the year. If you place an order now it won’t arrive until halftime. By then your guests will have surely revolted, taken you hostage and potentially burned all of your furniture. Luckily, this scenario can be avoided.
What if there was a way to get to the front of the pizza line? Instead of an hour or so wait, you’ll get your pizza in half that time. How much would you pay for that? Well, Papa John’s thinks you’d pay $2.99 extra for that service. After all, if you’re already paying $50 for pizza and cheesy bread, what’s another $3 dollars to be first in line?
Everyone loves being in the front of the line. That’s why we get ‘fast passes’ at amusement parks. There’s something liberating about walking past a bunch of chumps waiting for what seems like an eternity to get onto the flashy, new roller coaster. It doesn’t matter what we’re waiting for. It could be tickets to a sporting event or the new, cool smart phone. We’d all rather bypass the system. See: nightclubs.
If you’ve flown in the last few years, you’ve already something similar to this. For a fee, you can get ‘Sky Priority’ status and get on the plane before everyone else. You’ll be sitting in your seat, scrolling through the new movies on your in-seat touch screen while everyone else slowly lumbers past you holding their luggage. At Papa John’s, they are calling this service “Papa Priority” and they believe that people have been waiting for this for a long time. The company is currently testing it out in various locations and it seems to be getting positive reviews from customers.
How could this idea not excite people. In this ‘now’ culture, nobody really wants to wait for anything. Time is money, money is power, power is pizza. It’s not like this fee guarantees your food in ’20 minutes of less’. It just kicks your name to the top of the list and pushes others (unwilling to shell out $3 dollars) down.
That’s not to say this is a surefire win. It’s actually pretty clunky: What if this really catches on? If everyone pays the extra money, then the front of the line becomes “the line”? Also, how long might a cheaper, more patient customer wait? Is there a cap? Why not charge everyone more and go back to 30 minute guarantees? We shall see… we shall see.