Words & Deeds

Hate people? Love pizza? Perfect! Boise is test market for humanless new Pizza Portal

When it comes to ordering pizza, there’s always been one down side: Humanity.

Sure, you can avoid a phone conversation by ordering online. Or use an app. But when all is said and done, delivery or take-out, brief human interaction will be required. You’ll have to speak to some person handing you the food.

Not anymore. Using the Little Caesars pizza app, Boiseans now can order take-out pie from any of the chain’s nine Boise-area stores, then pick up the order without having to say one word to that pimply-faced kid behind the counter.

Boise is a test market for the Little Caesars Pizza Portal, a self-service mobile pick-up station.

“If it’s successful, we’ll keep them in there forever,” says Jill Proctor, Corporate Communications Manager for Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. “The data we get from our Boise test is going to determine whether we roll them out nationally or not.”

The burden of this responsibility is extra large.

Do NOT mess it up, Boise.

The Pizza Portal’s propriety technology is like a heated bank lockbox. When you go to Little Caesars to pick up your order, head straight for the Portal, input a 3-digit pin or scan a QR code and — voila! — a compartment opens. Snatch your hot pizza, then split — no verbal communication or eye contact necessary.

Oh no. What if you ordered drinks? Or Caesars Dip? How do you get these without speaking to an employee?

“You do not have to talk to anyone,” Proctor promises.

Just grab them from the counter, where they are on display. The Pizza Portal even reminds you to do this.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Proctor says. “It’ll give you a note, ‘Hey, don’t forget to pick up your Caesar Dips!’ ”

Welcome to the future. It’s almost like synthesizing a meal using the replicator on Star Trek.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this life-changing technology. Nope, not from Little Caesars. A media release reminds the world that the company has “a long history of innovation including pioneering a two-for-one pizza deal know as Pizza!Pizza! ...”

Um, yeah, Pizza!Pizza! was freaking ingenious. Don’t forget about Crazy Bread, either.

It’s unnerving to ponder the consequences if Boise hates the Pizza Portal. We might ruin it for the rest of the universe. The only other test market is Tucson, Arizona, which started back in June.

Proctor does not sound concerned.

“You’re not going to hate it,” she says. “Because they love it in Tucson.”

Full disclosure: Proctor and I actually spoke. Because of the significance of the Pizza Portal news, I felt that enduring human interaction was worth it.

Online: littlecaesars.com.

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