• Australians slow to pick up on online ordering

SYDNEY, Australia -- Australians hungry for pizza would rather phone in their orders than use the Internet for their purchases, according to a report in Icon magazine.

Pizza Hut launched its online ordering service in Australia in August 2001. Though the company now serves Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast via its Internet system, online sales are slow. So slow, in fact, that research companies aren't yet tracking online orders.

"It's so micro we don't follow it," said Marc Phillips, director of APT Strategies, which collects data on online shopping.

Pizza Hut executives were unavailable for comment. Previously the company had announced it plans to go national with its online ordering service by year's end.

Australia's first national online pizza network was created by PizzaNow in late 1998, according to Icon. The company is still waiting for the boom, founder Brian Gow said.

"At the moment it is predominantly uni(versity) students ordering online pizza," Gow said. "The second category is young married couples. The volumes are very small and this will probably remain the case until we move more into a broadband, permanent connection environment."

Gow doesn't expect to see any substantial volume increase for two to three years, he said.

In the meantime, other pizzerias are entering the online arena, including Pizza Mario. The pizzeria has limited its delivery, though, to just a handful of streets in Sydney's central business district.

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