Throughout COVID-19, consumer interest in food delivery and related services surged, and competition among casual, quick-service and local restaurants remains fierce. Third-party delivery, restaurant-specific and reservation apps and web platforms are common digital tools for hungry diners, but a new trend is emerging with apps and websites that are focused on specific genres of foods. Food-related apps and websites offer restaurants places to advertise products and services while collaborating, sharing resources and supporting community causes. Slice and Taco Tuesday are leading this trend, building excitement around the love of pizza and tacos and driving customers to experiences that quickly connect them with their favorite foods.
Slice Food App Connects Consumers With Local Pizzerias
Even before the effects of COVID-19, pizza was one of the most popular foods in the U.S., with 83% of Americans eating pizza at least once per month in 2019. Slice is a mobile app and website on which pizza enthusiasts can locate and order custom pizzas delivered from local pizzerias. Slice CEO Ilir Sela reports that 90% of the more than 12,000 pizzerias that participate in the Slice app have remained open during COVID-19.
Slice supports large pizza chains, quick service restaurants (QSR) and local pizza shops, with the app prioritizing businesses with location services.
Slice seeks to differentiate itself from typical food delivery services and act as a collaborative partner for small pizzerias, even facilitating group bulk purchasing of items such as pizza boxes. Global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) recently led a $43 million Series C investment in Slice and KKR Principal Allan Jean-Baptiste said, “Slice charges small business owners a fraction of the fees charged by food delivery apps and offers a suite of vertical specific solutions to solve the challenges faced by independent pizza makers.”
In addition, Slice is building brand equity and loyalty by creating goodwill with consumers through social responsibility efforts. For example, the Pizza vs. Pandemic initiative raises funds which allows pizzerias to provide meals to healthcare workers without losing profits. The program has raised more than $470,000 and fed an estimated 140,000 workers.
Taco Tuesday Food App Brings Taco Aficionados Together
With more than 9.6 million post shares on Instagram, the #tacos hashtag is everywhere. From Taco Bell to local taquerias, tacos became a hot food trend among Millennials, and tacos are now a staple food order among many consumers.
According to QSR Magazine, the number of taco shops grew 10% in the U.S. in 2019. Responding to evolving consumer taste and needs, the California Orange County Restaurant Association (OCRA) announced their new website tacotuesday.com. Designed for both restaurants and taco-loving consumers, OCRA created the site “as the ultimate taco resource, where establishments and taco lovers can find each other — and a place where everyone, everywhere, can share their favorite taco stories, images, videos, humor, events and recipes.”
OCRA invites restaurants to create free profile pages on the Taco Tuesday platform. The profiles are searchable by zip code for diners looking for Taco Tuesday nights near them.
Pamela Waitt, OCRA founder and president, purchased the tacotuesday.com domain in 2019 and was ready to launch the website with a number of participating restaurants when the pandemic hit. Even though her project was delayed, she did not give up, believing that now it is more important than ever for restaurants to work together to promote the products and services they offer. “In addition to providing a convenient way to find taco deals on Tuesdays, we’ve got plans in motion that include social media activations, media tours, guest chef interviews and an opportunity to foster strategic partnerships, corporate citizenship, philanthropic giving and beyond,” said Waitt.
Taco Tuesday has gotten bigger during the pandemic, growing from 90 million search results in March to 180 million in August, OCRA reports. In March, the #TacoTuesday hashtag was used 3 million times, and in September, #TacoTuesday was used more than 4 million times.
Genre-Specific Food Apps And Platforms Are Connecting Businesses & Consumers
As consumers continue to demand food and delivery choices, genre-specific food apps and platforms have the potential to grow by meeting consumer needs. In addition to connecting consumers with their favorite menu items, genre-specific digital channels provide consumers with relevant and entertaining content related to popular foods that are consumer favorites.
Slice and Taco Tuesday are two examples of digital platforms recognizing consumer desires that were not being met by broader solutions. Being everything to everyone works for platforms like Amazon and Walmart, but niche providers also have their place. For Slice and Taco Tuesday, building platforms that service niches lets them better define and connect with audiences.
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