The three biggest pizza chains in America (Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's) have all developed apps for Apple's iOS. All three companies' apps let potential customers find nearby branches of the chain in question and order pizzas for takeout or delivery. But only one of these apps -- the new Domino's iPad app, Domino's Pizza Hero -- lets you order a pizza that you've designed yourself.
According to Mashable Business, the app takes the form of a game nominally based on Domino's real-life "Pizza School." Users learn how to (virtually) carry out all the steps required to make a real Domino's pizza, from kneading the dough and spreading the sauce to plopping the pepperoni on top.
As an advertisement for the Domino's brand, this is great, nefarious stuff; emphasizing the human effort needed to assemble a pie supports the idea that Domino's makes artisan pizza.
But that's not even the game's full impact. After making a given pie, Domino's Pizza Hero lets the user order that same pie straight to your door. This builds on people's natural desire to own things they've customized themselves -- AKA "The IKEA Effect" -- without sacrificing the convenience of online ordering and delivery pizza. Of course, it's unclear how scrupulously the actual "artisans" at local Domino's will follow the template and topping arrangement created on Pizza Heros' iPad screens. But even if Domino's Pizza Heros really boils down to a highly elaborate version of GrubHub, with just one vendor, at least it has a fairly convincing alibi.
Here's a brief trailer for the game: