We Pushed for Pizza. Here’s How It Went.

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 5 2014 6:33 PM

We Pushed for Pizza, and We Have No Regrets

pushforpizzza
We pushed, and we’d push again.

YouTube screenshot

Users of food-delivery services such as Seamless know they can be wondrous and sinister at once: The freedom from botched phone orders and crumpled menus lures you in, but then the endless scroll of options steals your ability to make decisions or progress.  

A little hope has arrived in the new Push for Pizza iPhone app, which, true to its infectious name, aims to bring a delicious pizza to all who can muster the will to press a button (or three). The app updates food delivery for the Yo era: After entering onetime information about your location and payment method, it calls up the nearest participating pizza place and offers you either a cheese or pepperoni pie in just three taps, from start to finish.

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Slate pushed for pizza this afternoon and can confirm the app delivers on its promise. We summoned a cheese pizza from a nearby parlor, which arrived in an impressive 30 minutes. There was no fuss, just pizza.

But the best part about pushing for pizza is telling people you pushed for pizza. They have questions: Did it work? Where did the pizza come from? Co-founder Cyrus Summerlin notes that the app is built with a processing system by ordr.in, which works with Delivery.com and other food-delivery services. That partnership allows the app to have wide coverage from pizzerias right away if they already offer delivery from the site. Push for Pizza chooses one at random (it offers the ability to toggle through options), then processes the order using ordr.in. Summerlin said the team hopes to build its own database in the future, possibly with the help of user submissions, and expand beyond the urban areas already covered by Delivery.com and others. (Ordering from the app is free.)*

The random selection does raise possible quality issues—not all pepperoni and cheese pizza is created equal—and Push for Pizza notably does not include any rating information or other rankings. Of course, that’s the point. But it also means the app may appeal only to the most unfussy consumers. It’s fair to say Summerlin and his co-founder, Maximillian Hellerstein, fit that bill: They are both 19, and neither is currently enrolled in college. They built the app with the help of two undergraduates from MIT and one from Brown. Asked about their youth, Summerlin noted proudly that they have been developing apps since high school.

Push for Pizza may be hard to top for teenage app developers, but the team plans to try. Summerlin said next up may be a Burrito Button. 

*Update, August 6, 2014: This paragraph has been revised to clarify that ordr.in works with many food-delivery services.   

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate assistant editor focused on video. Follow him on Twitter.

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