October 9, 2014

Printed Pizza Menu Hacked By Competition...Somehow.

I believe I said years ago on this blog that I didn't think it was a major deal if people occasionally made minor grammatical errors or misspellings in public forums. That's why I don't want to make a huge deal out of the fact that this new menu I received has two on their front page. ""Delivery Fee May Applay" is just a simple mistake. And the bold proclamation "WE DELIVERY" is either an error, or an inside joke for stoners. In either case, any average person knows what Pizza Express is trying to communicate and it's not likely to cause any debilitating confusion for a customer.

But there is a third, very subtle mistake on this menu. (OK, a fourth if you think "NJ,07306" looks a bit cramped.) No, it's not the fax number, the business hours, the credit cards accepted, or the URL. And sure, those are all likely stock photos of Italian restaurant offerings, but I'm sure what Pizza Express cooks up isn't that far off.

I'm talking about the computer with the little Italian flag-colored logo and the pleasant slice of cheese pizza stretched across its screen. That's a great touch and shows me that they're technologically current, but what it doesn't show me is Pizza Express' website. Not only is not Pizza Express' website, it's a rival pizza company's website.

Villa Pizza is a NYC-based pizza franchise that also has a location in Jersey City, less than a mile away from Pizza Express. I can't imagine giving a competitor free ad space is good for business. If this happened on The Apprentice, Donald Trump would most certainly be firing whoever red white & green-lit this choice.

I'm so curious as to how this made it to print that I did some investigating (though not that much because it turns out I'm not really that curious). Pizza Express' menu is made by Menus For Less, which prints menus and other things for businesses. They do custom designs and also have lots of templates. I checked out the Pizza Menu and Italian Menu templates and saw a lot of similar designs, but no exact matches, so it was either a custom job, or a template that is now discontinued because of the computer graphic goof.

I wanted to check Villa Pizza's menu out to see if maybe Pizza Express just copied it and forgot to clean up that detail. I don't think that's the case though. The scan of Villa Pizza's menu that I found online is six years old and it's made by a completely different menu printing company called Menu Mo'n.

Menu Mo'n's website has many typos and grammatical errors on their website. I don't say this to make fun of them, I say this because this sort of supports the idea that maybe the printers aren't any more qualified to proofread than the customers that hire them. Menus For Less' website is in much better shape. I can't deny I saw a couple tiny mistakes, but nothing nearly as glaring as the mistakes on the cover of Pizza Express' menu. Maybe printers simply waive all accountability and say "Hey, we just print what you give us."

What I do know is that on Pizza Express' website, they display every page of their full-color menu--except the front page. Not that there aren't mistakes on the other pages ("Vegeatables"--I'm lookin' at you), but I'm guessing someone pointed out the Villa Pizza computer takeover and it was deemed important enough to take action. I feel bad if it was not their mistake, and if that's the case I hope they got a discount. If it was their mistake, I think they may have learned their lesson. Either way I'll probably give them a try sometime, and as a bonus, I won't proofread this post so they can point out my mistakes.