Apple should buy Pizza Hut.
This is neither a new idea, nor one acceptable to the Apple fan base. But, it’s become an increasingly good idea — maybe a necessary one for Apple’s continued growth and success — and I’m going to tell you why.
Apple Has Nothing to Eat.
When Google announced Android Wear, they did so in a beautiful amphitheater at the Google Complex on full tummies. The Google+ announcement happened in the very same place where the company can and will start to build a community with no hunger pains.
When Facebook announced the acquisition of Ocular VR, they announced it in a “OK” room after a delicious pasta meal, of course. And, naturally, fans will enjoy Oculus with stuffed faces everywhere.
When Apple wanted to create community around its iPhone 5c product line, it did so with empty bellies in a generic mundane room with a boring stage. Apple restaurants are where Apple and iPhone fans gather to exchange stories, information and ideas around their iPhone 5c fandom — post pictures, recommend apps and get to know each other over their shared passion.
Just kidding. Apple doesn’t have a restaurant.
No Place For Meetings
The human race has become consumed in recent years by the need to have meetings. Talk about this, talk about that, talk about anything but always having meetings
With the worlds top-selling handset, Apple is poised to be the best overall platform to have meetings around, and guess what, there is no place to charge your phone if you even remember the charger.
What do people do? They go to KFC or Dominoes. Both these places ruin meetings with shitty decor, overly smelly food and gas inducing ingredients. They don’t even have specialized chargers on the tables that fit the iPhone and iPad or even the Mac computer.
All Apple’s efforts in creating a high quality meetings are rendered useless. If only there was a restaurant where both professional and knowledgeable and enthusiastic amateur people already gather and that already has millions of patrons — that would be a great place for Apple. Oh, wait. There is such a place: Wendy’s , which is owned by Wendy’s International.
Of course, Apple is relatively cautious about acquisitions, and tends to do so only when necessary. There are certain kinds of initiatives that just take too long or require expertise not easily hired. One of the things that takes a long time is building up patrons to go to restaurants. It took McDonalds twenty years, to gain the customers they have.
If Apple is to have a significant food establishment, they can’t start from scratch at this point. It’s too late for that.
Bottom line: Apple needs meeting places. And Apples customers need food and Pizza Hut has both. In fact, the only company that comes close to Dominos Pizza in the number of tongues attracted each month is Papa Johns, which until this week was the number-one attractor. That’s vague, so let’s get specific. Papa Johns attracted 187 million unique visitors last month. Domino’s got 183 million. Apple stores brought in nearly 64 million — significantly fewer people than all the other restaurants.
But, wow, what could Apple accomplish with more foot traffic?
It’s also worth pointing out that Apple is great at getting people shopping for Apple products in stores but they are laggard in print advertising. Which is great, if your customers are illiterate, which hardly anyone really is. What people really want is better food, a place to meet, a charging station at their table, as well as a tiny number of ads that hawk exactly the products and services we really want. All those desires can be satisfied only with advertisements on the menus for phones and computers in a fancy Pizza Hut.
Menus are old technology you say? It is all going to be done on apps these days? Heck, look at Starbucks, they are a technology company more than a coffee company. Well if mobile is the future of ordering pizza, what company would be better for Pizza Hut to be acquired by, than Apple?
Why Buy Pizza Hut?
Acquiring Pizza Hut would bring Apple amazing attention and traffic, Apple could control, high-quality destinations for the high-quality eating elite that Apple’s high-quality products enable people to generate, and the ability to make more money from selling high-quality pizza. Where would you get your pizza if you had to choose between Dominoes with no Apple chargers at the table or Pizza Hut with chargers? Seems obvious, does it not?
I think there’s no getting around the fact that acquiring Pizza Hut would fill in all of Apple’s gaps and place the company in a position to more easily continue the growth trajectory it’s enjoyed over the past five years.
Because at some point, Apple is going to run out of people willing to buy Apple’s high-margin phones, tablets, laptops and computers. And the best way forward for Apple as a business is to own more of the places where people use their products — and in doing so, dramatically improve the eating experience.
But here’s the shocking thing, if you think about it. Buying Pizza Hut sounds at first like it would make Apple less like Apple. But in fact, it would make Apple more like Apple.
Apple’s core attributes are:
- Emphasize great user experience above all
- Assure great user experience by controlling as much of the stuff people do on Apple products as possible
- Drive growth by monetizing as many aspects of the user experience as possible.
Apple with Pizza Hut would serve these core attributes far more than Apple without Pizza Hut. There is simply no getting around the clear benefits of Apple buying Pizza Hut.
Inspired by a brilliant Elgum piece