We sat down.

A 3 sided display card sat between us boldly advertising ‘No more waiting for the bill’ download our brand new app. In a smaller stand out element it pronounced ‘Sign up and get a classic Pizza. FREE*.In a tiny almost invisible font *t&c’s apply. No t&c’s to be found . On another side it did say it was buy one get one free.

It looked straight forward. The steps were clear. Download the app. Enter the table number. Pay by App. We realised there was no table number but it also said ‘simply ask a member of our team’ so they had that one covered.

There two of us.
We each wanted a Pizza. The Classics were fine. What could go wrong?
My colleague went to the app store and downloaded the app.Well tried to.

The wifi (central London) was appallingly slow.

Eventually, dragged by a tortoise through treacle the app downloaded.

Then the fun bit. Name, address, credit card details, inside leg measurement.

Still no t&c’s.

In the time he was fighting with it, thinking of abandoning it but hanging on for the free Pizza at the end, I googled the offer. I found the T&C’s.


So no free pizza now then. No point in asking our server for the table number.

This wasn't a reward for spending the time to download the app to make payment quicker. This was wolf in sheep’s clothing; a repeat visit promotion and data gathering exercise.

What happened next?
The app was deleted. We vowed not to visit Pizza Express unless there was no alternative. We only didn't walk out because our hunger won.
The problem Mr/Miss marketing person? Too much Behavioural Friction.

Beyond the first stage hook and getting to the play store the process was ridden with Behavioural friction:  the slow wifi speed, the long data capture process and the real killer, the lack of immediate (promised) reward for all that work having stuck with it and the feeling of being tricked. Now we know why there were no T&Cs on the card!

The Behavioural Friction didn’t just halt us in our tracks but spun us around in the opposite direction.The direction that we and 400,000 others are still heading in. The one away from Pizza Express.

Just take a look at the ratings and comments on the play store from the 50,000 plus downloads the app scores a measly 1.7 out of 5. That is 199 out of 248 scoring it a 1.

Judging from the comments the problems extend even further! Here are some selected extracts.

• Waste my time so much it's already deleted. A joke app, more a marketing strategy. I expect calls from insurance scams too. Maybe I am wrong but be warned.
• I can't get my free pizza offered as I am unable to complete the PE as it isn't working, but I have passed on all the important data to you. I feel violated. Who designed the date of birth section. This reflects badly on Pizza Express.
• You go through all their self-involved nonsense, they make you wait 6 hours before you can claim the free pizza,
• They have my data, and no free pizza as promised. Got a message saying profile completed and to wait 6 hours. Been 3 days, still nothing. Not happy at giving my data away for free.

This promotion has created huge Emotional Behavioural Friction with at least for the 80% of those who bothered to write a review. As the percentage of reviews is normal (usually less than 1% of downloads) reviews can be expected to represent the larger population who downloaded the app.

That's a hefty 40,000 people pissed off with Pizza Express.  But what is worse, this is from existing users: people who had to plant their bums on Pizza Express chairs to see the promotion in the first place.
If that translates into one less purchase per person, at an average of £12 per pizza, that is a loss of £480,000 of trade.
Behavioural Friction 1, Pizza Express -480,000.


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