Got a Serious Case of the Munchies? Papa John’s is Here to Help for $2.99

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Papa John — that smiley-faced pizza CEO who mugs in TV commercials with Peyton Manning — knows America all too well. His pizza chain is testing a new feature that’s counting on our lack of patience and love of instant gratification.

What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

Papa John’s is trying out a $2.99 fee that allows hungry customers to skip ahead of everybody else and bump their pizza delivery order to the front of the line. It’s only at select locations — for now.

Whatever happened to the concept of first come, first served? Oh, c’mon, that’s so 2016. That’s for people who aren’t willing to shell out an extra three bucks.

Oh, and they’re calling this new option “PapaPriority,” which is just perfect. Just. Perfect. Say it with me: PapaPriority. PapaPriority. PapaPriority.

We all know how this thing will play out.

Picture a guy — let’s call him Tyler — who’s had a few brewskis with his buds on a Friday night. Tyler’s also totally high, by the way, and he’s starting to get the munchies.

What time is it? Why, it’s pizza o’clock! Tyler wants him a hot slice of pepperoni and mushroom PRONTO.

He calls Papa John’s and orders a couple pies. What? Three bucks extra to go to the front of the line? Hell yes.

Impulse control? What’s that? Tyler ain’t gonna be waiting around for his ‘za. Let the other people wait. It’s a dog-eat-pizza world out there, dude.

Repeat this scenario all across the suburban cul-de-sacs of America, and Papa John pockets an extra three bucks over and over and over again.

A Pepperoni-and-Cheese FastPass

So, won’t other customers object when their pizzas get bumped back in the line? Well, they won’t necessarily be aware of that, now will they? Who’s gonna tell them?

And fear not, good citizen: Papa John’s says its PapaPriority option has gotten “great customer reception.” So there’s that.

The pizza chain has been testing this system at a limited number of restaurants and is now looking to expand it to more locations, the Associated Press reports.

On the Papa John’s website, the pizza chain justifies this optional $2.99 fee by noting that “there might be some situations where you would like your pizza a little faster on busy nights when there might be a longer wait due to the number of orders at the restaurant.”

Also, there are some limitations to this new option. Papa John’s says paying this fee won’t guarantee that your pizza will be delivered by a certain time. It only means the restaurant will make your pizza faster and send it out for delivery sooner than the non-PapaPriority customers’ pizzas.

The company is also limiting the total number of PapaPriority orders to five per night at each location.

Welcome to the Future, Paying Customer

Although Papa John’s appears to be the first pizza delivery chain to try this strategy, it’s worth noting that it’s simply taking a page from the airline industry, which allows passengers to pay an extra fee and move to the front of the boarding line.

Of course, the pioneers of this particular strategy are Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In 1999, Disney launched its FastPass system, which allows customers to skip long lines at certain attractions. In January 2017, Disneyland added MaxPass, which gives customers digital FastPasses via their smartphones and unlimited PhotoPass downloads for an extra $10 per day.

So it appears this concept may be spreading. You might see more of this kind of thing in the future.

Always remember: Instant gratification is not fast enough.

Your Turn: Would you pay $2.99 to move your pizza to the front of the line?

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He thinks all pizza should have mushrooms on it.