I don’t think it’s any secret at this point that I’m a big fan of pizza.  Maybe not a worldly aficionado of sorts, simply because I haven’t seen much of the world just yet, per se, but nonetheless if you were to put pizza on the menu for any given meal, chances are you’re going to make my selection pretty darn easy unless there also happens to be some sort of amazing Chinese food also featured on said menu.

Side Note: some sort of General Tso’s Pizza would probably be the awesomest dish one could ever create, however that’s a brilliant idea for another column…

Nonetheless, I certainly don’t have any problem calling myself a pizza fan of epic proportions and when it comes to us pizza fans, if there’s one thing that we’ve got down, it’s choosing a personal favorite.  You may think that it’s a pretty tough choice, what with all of the options between national chains and mom & pop establishments out there, but for me, the choice is actually pretty easy – none other than Papa John’s for the win, of course!  And definitely as their slogan says, they do use better ingredients to make better pizza that’s absolutely delicious, but what really attracted me to Papa John’s before I had ever even tasted a slice is that right from the start, I couldn’t help but notice that these folks are what I now like to call Pizza Innovators.

You see, Papa John’s was the first pizza place that allowed us to ORDER PIZZA ON THE INTERNET, and let me tell you, for a guy who spends pretty much every waking moment online, the ability to request pepperoni-laden sustenance from the same computer network that also brought us Ask a Ninja and Elf Bowling was in my not-so-humble opinion one of the greatest technological advances of mankind.  With just a few simple clicks of a mouse, your dining destiny goes zipping off through cyberspace to a kitchen of highly-trained pizza professionals, ready and waiting to bake you up a batch of awesome in 30 minutes or less.

There – I just ordered a delectable Hawaiian BBQ Chicken while I was writing this column!

But of course, that was years ago when the online ordering phenomenon first took the world by storm and since then, the Pizza Innovators at Papa John’s have cooked up an even more life-changing invention for this always-on-the-go, mobile society that we’ve become.  Say you can’t get to a computer because you’re getting ready to drive home and it sure would be great if your favorite Tuscan Six Cheese pulled into the driveway behind you.  Just send a quick text message from your cell phone to the Papa and BINGO – you’re one step closer to a complacent belly!  Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it…

And don’t get me wrong, not every design to come out of Pizza Innovation Central has been golden.  As they say, sometimes you have to break a few eggs and these little gems from pizza’s past certainly weren’t exactly the hits that history had been hoping for…

The Papa John’s Pizza-Pult
Based on an Innovator’s obsession with medieval times, this unique attempt to revolutionize the delivery industry was a bit of a flop for reasons of both distance and accuracy.

Pizza Phone
Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring – you know, along the same lines as the classic Raffi song, but a whole lot messier…

Pizza: The Pill
Apparently somebody at Innovation Labs had been watching a little too much sci-fi when they came up with this brainchild – all of the nutritional value of a pizza in one tiny capsule … without any of the flavor.

But all in the same, from the company that first brought us the miracle that is online ordering, I can imagine that it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing makes its appearance on the pizza scene in the form of one of these amazing creations…

PoIP (Pizza Over IP)
Voice Over IP may be revolutionizing telephony by moving our phone calls over the Internet, but PoIP will push broadband to new heights by allowing subscribers to both order and receive pizza right from their own Internet connection at home or work.

Papa John’s Neural Implant™
it’s time for a large pepperoni with extra cheese?  Well, with this tiny transmitter implanted directly into your cerebral cortex, a simple thought is all it takes to place your order with this exciting new feature, exclusively from Papa John’s and your favorite neurosurgeon.

Papa John’s Teleportation Delivery System
A complex array of teleportation fields will deliver a piping hot pie right out of the oven to your very own kitchen, and when combined with the new Papa John’s Neural Implant™, it’s never been easier to dine on the pizza of the Gods in a fraction of the time that it takes to order and wait for delivery from other pizzerias.

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering already!  Fortunately, if anybody is going to skyrocket us through the 21st century with incredible advances in the pizza industry like these, I have full confidence that the Pizza Innovators at Papa John’s will be at the helm, forever leading the way with new and exciting inventions in pursuit of better pizza.  Yes, it’s a formidable challenge, but as they say, the work of a Pizza Innovator is never done.

The future of pizza is right around the corner, folks, and take it from me – it’s going to be delicious!