Company starts putting the pizza down to help keep customers and workers safe.

As a result of the coronavirus, buying stuff has become sort of weird in Japan these days. Want to buy surgical masks or toilet paper, two things you used to be able to just roll into any pharmacy or convenience store and grab a pack of? Better show up early in the morning and keep your fingers crossed that they haven’t all been snatched up by hoarders an resellers.

Even the pizza purchasing process is being affected. While there’s no shortage of pies or their ingredients (something our cluelss-in-the-kitchen staff is deeply thankful for), concerns about possible transmission of the coronavirus have caused Japanese branches of Pizza Hut to add a new option to their delivery service.

It’s called the Oki Pizza, coming from the Japanese word oku, meaning “to put” or “to place.” The Oki Pizza aims to minimize any possible physical contact or breathing on each other between customer and delivery person by having the deliveryperson place your order on the ground and back away before you open the door to pick it up.

Currently, Oki Pizza is an optional service that the customer can request when placing an order. Obviously, it’s only available if you’re pre-paying by non-cash means, such as a credit card or online payment service. When placing your order through the Pizza Hut app, all you have to do is check the box next to 置きピザ (Oki Pizza), circled in red in the screen capture below.

Pizza Hut started offering the Oki Pizza option on March 12, and we ordered ours right away. After placing our order, we waited patiently (or at least as patiently as we’re capable of when we’re craving pizza) until the doorbell rang.

“This is Pizza Hut,” came the voice through our intercom. “I’m leaving your pizza right here.”

Once your deliverperson gives you a heads-up, it’s best to go get your pizza right away, not just because you wouldn’t want it to get cold, but also because Pizza Hut’s staff doesn’t stick around to guard your hot, tempting pizza from would-be thieves or hungry animal life.

As soon as we opened our front door, the enticing aroma of hot pizza wafted up to our nose. When we followed the scent down…

…there was our Oki Pizza!

There was one thing that we felt a little uneasy about, though. In Japan, as you probably know, it’s customary to take your shoes off when entering a home. The basic idea is that it’ dusty and dirty outside, and you don’t want to track any such debris into your living space via the soles of your footwear. However, the pizza box was sitting directly on the ground.

Luckily, there was also a Pizza Hut flyer, so we unfolded that and used it as a pad when we set the pizza box down on our table to help keep the furniture clean.

▼ Alternatively, we suppose we could have solved this problem by putting our pizza on plates instead of eating it right out of the box, but we weren’t just feeling too lazy to cook, but also too lazy to wash any dishes.

As far as presentation and flavor goes, the Oki Pizza was as good as any pie we’ve had from Pizza Hut, since it’s really just a new delivery system that can be done with any item on the menu.

As we chowed down, though, we couldn’t help finding it weird that the box had just been sitting on the ground like that. It seems contrary to Japanese cultural standards about customer service and cleanliness, so with our free hand that wasn’t shoving a slice of pizza into our mouth, we got out our phone and took another look at the app…

…where we noticed the Oki Pizza illustration shows it inside a bag! What’s more, the service description says:

“Your order will be placed in a takeout bag and set down at the location you specify.”

So it looks like our deliveryperson accidentally skipped a step, and our pizza box should have been inside a bag, not sitting directly on the ground. Like we said, though, this was the first day for Oki Pizza, so an occasional mistake is to be expected. We’re sure that as Pizza Hut’s deliverypeople get used to it, they’ll start getting it right every time, even as we’re hoping the coronavirus situation settles down and the company can stop offering Oki Pizza as soon as possible.

Photos ©SoraNews24
Screen captures: Pizza Hut Japan delivery app
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