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Papa John's hires Panera IT leader as CIO, CDO

Clint Boulton | Feb. 13, 2017
After a legal battle with Panera, the pizza chain hires Mike Nettles to lead its IT and digital efforts, which include online and mobile ordering from computers, smartphones and Apple TV.

Pizza ordering via chat, voice platforms

Digital and mobile solutions help facilitate transactions and reduce friction for consumers. Moves by Papa John's rivals Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza suggest voice and messaging platforms could be the key ingredients to courting more customers, or at least boost brand loyalty.

Domino's last week began allowing consumers to use their smartphones to text orders to its Dom virtual assistant within Facebook Messenger. Pizza Hut Thursday began allowing customers to order pizza using their voice via's Alexa assistant. Customers can enable the Pizza Hut skill from either the Alexa App or by saying "Alexa, ask Pizza Hut to place an order."

Whether Papa John’s will offer similar services is aquestion the company isn’t ready to answer. A Papa John’s spokesman said, “In the coming weeks, stay tuned for announcements detailing some new digital innovations which are sure to improve the customer experience.”

Nettles’ path to Papa John's is a rocky one. Panera in July sued Nettles and the pizza chain for violating a noncompete agreement. According to the USA Today-owned Courier-Journal, Papa John's alleged that Nettles took with him, via his Mac laptop and Dropbox, trade secrets related to capturing consumers who place mobile orders. The case was settled and dismissed in December, clearing the way for Nettles to begin his new role.

Prior to Panera, Nettles served as the CTO at DiningIn and previously held positions with Torex, Brinker International, NeoStar Retail Group and was the founder and principal of Red Chair Ventures.


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