Startup Story #7: Cyrus on how Push for Pizza is the easiest way of ordering Pizza
We all love options! After all, we are individuals with distinct likes, preferences and style. If given a change, we would embrace every chance of personalization.
But (sometimes) we love standardization too. After all, it can get quite tiring to be a control-freak all the time. If given a chance, we would love to sit back and relax, and let someone else make a decision for us.
Meal delivery is an area where one would truly appreciate lesser complications and quicker actions. It is interesting to note that on-demand food delivery startups, who are offering services in the most facile manner, are said to have competitive edge over others. However, as the famous saying goes “common sense is not so common”, likewise, ‘simplicity is not so simple’. It is very easy to complicate an on demand process with options and alternatives, but equally difficult to make the same thing plainer.
One on-demand startup, which is all about simplifying the meal delivery experience, is Push for Pizza. It’s elementary way of ordering a pizza in only couple of steps is commendable. Started by 5 genius teenagers, this iOS app is definitely available on everyone’s iPhone who is running away from mind-boggling options.
In conversation with Cyrus Summerlin, co-founder of Push for Pizza
Q: Tell us something about Push for Pizza?
A: At push for pizza, we like to think that it’s not the customer that’s always right, but rather the pizza…
Q: How does Push For Pizza work?
A: Push For Pizza is the easiest way to order a pizza in the history of mankind. We make it so easy with a few simple steps. The first is account creation: we don’t need your email, only your phone number is required to create your push for pizza account as quickly as possible. Secondly, the main time saving feature is that we only offer large pizzas with 5 toppings to choose from. Input your address, take a picture of your Credit Card and pick your local pizzeria. If you want to repeat your order next time, it’s as easy as the push of a button. Mind blowing isn’t it?
Q: Video on your website tells a lot, but still we would like to know the story behind starting Push For Pizza?
A: Childhood friends, Will, who is a developer at MIT and Graham, who is an iOS developer at Brown came to Max and I with the idea and we instantly became obsessed. We also asked Demirtri, a friend of Will’s from MIT, to join us. They could build the backend and we could build a brand identity. And thus, the pizza dream team was born.
Q: What sets Push For Pizza apart from the competition?
A: Besides being the fastest way to order a pizza ever (which I will probably mention a few more times) it’s most definitely our irresistible charm… More specifically, on a consumer end, it’s how user friendly and simple we are, as well as our cool brand identity. We can do things marketing-wise that the big guys can’t, we don’t adhere to political correctness. On a business end, we only sell pizzeria’s highest margin item, which is large pizzas (on average) and pizzerias love it.
Q: Put some light on tools and technology being used to connect Push For Pizza with Customers?
A: We’re hosting on heroku using the Django Rest Framework. We use phaxio to send faxes and twilio to do automated phone calls.
Q: What was technically the most challenging part of developing Push For Pizza?
A: Designing the backup mechanisms for when orders fail is the trickiest part.
Q: How are you marketing Push For Pizza to make it a first preference in the market?
A: We believe that once someone uses PFP they will never use anything else to order a pizza ever again. With that being said, it’s just about getting people to try it for the first time. We have a bunch of clever and fun ways to do this up our sleeve, definitely more video content coming for sure.
Q: How is Push For Pizza contributing towards revolutionizing the on-demand sector?
A: Our main priority is to make the consumer experience as frictionless as possible, whether it’s pizza or something else. We get rid of all the unnecessary distractions that slow you down from obtaining what you REALLY want. Mind reading technology is also something that we are investing in heavily. Think For Pizza, coming very soon. Just kidding…or am I?
Q: How are you planning to position Push For Pizza against prospective competition, and how will you sustain your USP?
A: We are really focusing on the college market, which eats more pizza than any other demographic. It also helps that we are apart of that demographic. Insanely fast pizza ordering mixed with a kick ass brand identity will be our recipe for success. If PFP were a person, we want to make him that dude that everyone wants to hang out with.
Q: Where do you see Push For Pizza 5 years down the line?
A: In 5 years we want it to be the first thing that comes to mind when pizza is mentioned. We want it to be available everywhere. We want PFP to be a lifestyle.
Q: If given a chance to go back, what would you want to do differently at Push For Pizza?
A: I would have added D.C. to the list of states in the address input section. We stupidly forgot that in the first version for a few days and had a whole state pissed at us. The Washington Post made me sound like a villain. A pizza villain! Probably the biggest regret of my life actually.
Q: What is the biggest hurdle that you faced or you are still facing?
A: Coverage is by far our biggest hurdle. We are trying to catch up to demand, which is a good problem to have, as we like to say. The good news is since we have our own on boarding system now and aren’t using a 3rd party API, we can sign places up all over very fast. We also encourage our users to suggest Pizzerias for us to sign up.
Q: Which Entrepreneur do you admire the most?
A: I personally admire Elon Musk the most. I would love to grab a slice with that dude. He advances mankind every day more than anyone else that comes to mind.
Q: Any word of advice for all the startups out there who are trying to make it big like Push For Pizza.
A: Don’t re-invent, simplify. And also get a video made by Adam Lisagor over at Sandwich Video, that helps A LOT.