Hungry? Grab your phone and order food online. It is a very common practice that is happily accepted all over the world. But did you ever think just enhancing a food delivery service with technology can lead a big pizza chain into a tech company?
And, it is Domino’s that we are talking about, a multinational pizza chain that is now ruling the pizza world with technology. Though Dominos joined the pizza game 2 years after Pizza hut, it still managed to secure its number one spot, topping other giant pizza chains like Little Ceaser, and Papa Johns. But how? Well turns out it was “Tech”. The pizza chain you love has become a tech titan.
The story of Domino’s began in 1960, holding the hand of two brothers Tom Monaghan and James. They took over the operation of DomiNick’s, an existing small pizza store that Dominick DeVarti owned.
With a down payment of $500 and a loan of $900 used for buying the store, Tom and James dug the 1st pillar of Domino’s pizza. But only after 8 months, James traded his shares to his brother and took over the Volkswagen Beetle that they used for pizza deliveries.
After that, in 1965, Tom grew his business and bought 2 more pizzerias. And the idea of branding hit Tom’s mind and he wanted to share the same branding in 3 locations. But the ex-owner of DomiNick’s refused to use the name. So, Tom came up with a new name Domino’s and used this as an official name of the future giant pizza chain. Thanks to Jim Kennedy, an employee of Domino’s who suggested the name.
With that, the pizza company started growing rapidly and expanded to 200 new stores in 1978. On May 12, 1983, Domino’s opened its first international store in Canada, and now it has approximately 17,000 stores all over the world.
How DOMINO’s Became a Tech Company?
Since Domino’s started its journey, it has always faced a neck-to-neck competition with Pizza Hut. In those years, Pizza Hut was one of the most popular pizza chains that were publishing the concept of dine-in fast foods rather than takeaway. Moreover, Pizza Hut was experimenting with new pizza recipes to take over customers’ hearts. With that, they succeeded in grabbing the largest market share of 46.5%.
On the other hand, Domino’s was focused more on home delivery rather than dining in. In many TV ad’s dominos placed their pizzas in a homie environment, such as when you are watching a football match or movie with your loved ones. With a change in recipe and a smart marketing idea to deliver pizza in 30 minutes or less otherwise, get the pizza free. Dominos had quickly hit customers’ minds and people started ordering Domino’s pizza in the hope of getting it free.
However, the idea worked well, but the real struggle Domino faced was to deliver pizza on time. That’s where Domino’s used “Fortressing” (the practice of adding stores in existing markets to be in closer proximity to customers).
But that was not also enough, Domino’s still worked on enhancing the delivery service with technology and told their employees to work more on pizza preparations and quality. With the reducing load of delivery from employees, the quality and flavors of Domino’s enhanced, and now it’s announced as the largest pizza chain (based on sales).
But this huge success of Domino’s is massively influenced by the technologies they used to satisfy the customer and deliver pizza on time. So, let’s have a look at the technologies Domino’s used to get this massive success.
Started With Online Orders
From the very first days of Domino’s, delivery services of pizza were offered to customers. But competing on delivery services was difficult for Domino’s. It is especially when traditional powerhouses like McDonald’s and KFC – jump into the delivery services using third-party delivery aggregators.
But Domino’s kept going with their experiments on delivery services and started taking orders online in 2007. They added text ordering, Twitter ordering, ordering by car, and by smartwatch too. While other rival companies were just starting with the delivery tradition, Domino’s started delivering pizzas to customers in unusual spots, including beaches and other locations that don’t have a physical address.
The revolution of technology keeps going on, and in 2008, Dominos launched the food delivery industry’s very first: “Domino’s Tracker”. This innovative idea of Domino’s allows their customers to track the real-time progress of their pizza. Customers can track everything on the tracker, from placing the order online to getting the pizza delivered to their doorstep.
In addition, the Domino’s Tracker now has Domino’s GPS that allows you to track the exact location of your pizza on the way.
In 2008, Domino’s Tracker was not the only technology Domino’s introduced. They also came up with another unique idea of “Pizza Builder”. That gave a chance to customers to make their own pizza and get the exact same version of pizza on hand in just 30 minutes.
That’s where Domino’s knocked up their rivals on delivery service. While other big pizza companies like Pizza Hut were investing in the “to-go dining app GrubHub”, Domino’s had already served their customers with their very own Domino’s Pizza App on iOS in 2011.
This Pizza Builder app has been downloaded almost 4 million times, and the share worth of Domino’s is nearly $500. It clearly shows how dramatically Domino’s App has changed the fate of Domino’s Pizza Inc.
However, from the very first day of the App building idea, Domino’s has hired a full-on tech team and now this team is working more on developing the app to increase customer satisfaction.
Just said, the Domino’s tech team was working on customer satisfaction on the very first day, and the next for that was Introducing “DOM” in 2014. The first-ever AI employee of Domino’s that take orders from the customers via Domino’s Apps. This voice ordering feature enabled the customers to order pizza without touching any button on the app.
But the concept of voice ordering was initially difficult for the Android and Apple phones to accept. They weren’t convinced with an app that can place an order without the customer actually doing anything. On the contrary, Domino’s didn’t stop with their dream of implementing automated phone orders via Domino’s apps. And they won the bet on “DOM” and 65% of sales in the US stores was done via digital platforms, including online and mobile. With that, between 2019, 40 more stores in the USA started using “DOM” for taking orders of pizza.
As Domino’s has already devoted its heart and soul to technology, they came up with their very own “INNOVATION GARAGE” in August 2019. In this two-storied glass wall building with a Dominos Logo in front, Domino’s tech team works on their new innovative ideas, quickly develops and tests new ideas.
Also, this large innovation garage has a fully functioning “Pizza Theater” in the center. The nearby shelf also features several pieces of equipment for the employees to order pizza, including – Amazon Echo, Google Home, Samsung TV, an iPhone, and a tablet. With those devices, employees can order pizza for themself and walk to the pizza theater a few steps away.
Moreover, the stalls near the theater also work as meeting spaces, and Domino’s test their automated delivery vehicles there. And in the offices, employees work on multifunctional teams on different projects.
While Domino’s is working too hard on making order taking easy and efficient, how can they leave behind on deliveries? Domino’s always wanted to keep up with their words of delivering pizza in 30 minutes. For that many delivery boys had broken traffic rules for decades and also faced accidents in the path. Domino’s had to stand on the courts many times for these delivery issues and decided to go for efficient and safer options for delivery.
In 2019, Domino’s modified the RadCity Step-Thru from Rad Power Bikes in their innovation garage. And go for a pilot program from Texas to New York to Florida. During this pilot testing, Domino’s experienced faster deliveries and higher customer satisfaction – also to mention the fule saving. As the e-bike deliveries have passed the pilot testing well, the pizza chain has expanded the service nationwide.
After introducing “DOM” as their AI employee, Domino’s didn’t stop with their mind-blowing ideas yet. In 2019, Domino’s didn’t only introduce E-bikes but also go for driverless cars. They think of making pizza delivery more efficient and go for the driverless delivery concept. Domino’s entered into a partnership with Ford and started delivering pizza in Miami with their driverless car in 2017. It was just a testing of the idea and Domino’s actually wanted to know how customers would react to pizza delivery by an autonomous car from Ford.
That was the time when Domino’s share had risen up 13% in 2020 with a market value of $15.2 Billion. Also, the pandemic has helped well to trigger the idea, as people wanted contactless deliveries during the pandemic situation. This rise in share motivates Domino’s tech team to go with their upcoming idea of introducing the R2 robot (a driverless delivery robot), which will work on the field very soon.
Domino’s and Nuro are working together on this idea of a delivery robot and it has already got regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This year in April, Dominos has already started delivering pizzas in Houston via R2 Robot as a part of a pilot program. However, this driverless delivery will only function if the customer chooses to get the delivery via robot. Once the robot reaches the delivery address, the customer has to enter the unique PIN code on its touch screen, and the doors will be open to grab over the pizzas.
Also, a division in Australia and New Zealand is testing AI cameras that scan and grade each pizza on different criteria to control quality. In addition, Domino’s branches in Auckland, New Zealand have also been delivering pizzas by drone since November 2016.
In conclusion to this whole article, we can definitely say that Domino’s is not just a pizza chain anymore. It’s more like a tech company selling pizza for decades and now ruling the world of pizzas, even fast food. Domino’s has already operated 17,000 stores in more than 90 countries. And it is also predicted to grow their store number to 25,000 by 2025. Also, the pizza chain is enjoying a sales growth of 19.6% during the last quarter. And same-stores of Domino’s reported a 3.5% sales growth in the United States too.
With that, all the Domino’s stores worldwide have thoroughly accepted the technologies innovated by Domino’s and are growing their business well. Studies show that about 90% of the franchise stores now use online ordering features and apps for pizza ordering. And employees inside the house are working more on making the pizzas fresh and delicious over time. So what say- “Ordering a Domino’s Pizza tonight?”