Papa Johns Not Happy With Its iPhone App

While most companies are over-eager to see what an iPhone app can do for business, Papa Johns is one brand that’s simply not impressed.

At Wednesday’s OMMA Mobile Conference, Jim McDonnell, marketing manager, emerging channels for Papa John’s International, spoke of the disappointing results experienced by the launch of a Papa Johns branded iPhone app.

After being bombarded by companies saying how effective and useful iPhone apps can be for marketing, Papa Johns launched an app that allows users to find local outlets and a shortcut to connect directly to the main mobile site ordering screen.  After a short period to test the waters, the outcome was deemed unacceptable by the company. “So far, we haven’t seen anything that really delivers for us as well as mobile display advertising,” McDonnell explained.  He pointed out that smartphones, and the iPhone in particular, have been big factors in driving its mobile business.  Smartphones account for nearly all traffic to its mobile site, and the iPhone alone about half.

“My motto is that people who spend money (to buy) smartphones are the people who are spending on phones,” he said.  He explained that the lack of business being driven from its iPhone app has diminished the company’s enthusiasm for launching apps in other app storefronts being opened by Apple competitors including BlackBerry, Palm, Microsoft and others.

While not all news surrounding iPhone apps is positive, I have to believe the way Papa Johns went about it was probably a little off base.  Apps for other pizza companies have, for the most part, proved very successful, so why would this be any different.  It could have something to do with the feature-set offered in the App, or its overall user-interface, but I definitely don’t think they should stop after one try.