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Domino’s, a Technology Company Selling Pizza

Pizza chain powerhouse Domino’s believes it is a technology company selling pizza. And for a tech company, data collection, data security and data utilization are crucial to improving customer experience.

Image credit: Domino’s

BY GW Prime

Ranked among the top five most valuable quick service restaurant brands in the world, with 17,000 outlets worldwide and more than 290,000 employees, the company relies on new technologies and innovations to keep its business edge. Over 70% of its sales are through digital channels.

“Location data is of utmost importance for our customer experience, especially for live order tracking. It is also used for business viability, for example, in predicting sales for new stores. For marketing in specific area, we implement location-based advertising via digital and mobile communication”
Mayank Singh
Head of Digital Business, Marketing & Technology, Domino's Indonesia

GPS delivery tracking

Domino’s delivers more than 3 billion pizzas a year. Its business model focuses on delivery and takeout services, avoiding the need to look for large restaurant space, hence saving costs on real estate. Its digital ordering system has been perfected over the years, allowing customers to make order online via website, mobile app, text message or even via social media. A strong digital proprietary system enables Domino’s to consistently interact directly with consumers, and not rely on aggregators like DoorDash or UberEats.

In 2019, Domino’s tested its new GPS delivery tracking technology and by the end of the year roughly a quarter of locations in the US had the new technology in place. Customers ordering from stores with GPS delivery tracking capabilities can see the real-time location of their order on an interactive map found on their order confirmation page.

In the US, Domino’s also allows delivery at spots that don’t have a traditional address – places like local parks, sports fields and beaches, as well as thousands of other outdoor sites. Using geocoding technology, once a customer’s location has been determined, local Domino’s Hotspots that are available for delivery will appear on a map for customers to select. Before checking out, customers can leave instructions to help the delivery person find them. 

"Customers are not the only ones who love the technology – store managers and delivery experts do as well because of the transparency it provides and how it improves the delivery experience for everyone"
Dennis Maloney
Domino's Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer

Hyper-local retail location

Domino’s store locations are selected based on the best delivery routes, not the most foot traffic. Each store has an exclusive delivery area within a 9-minute drive time. Being hyper-local retail location, data becomes the utmost importance in order to direct customer’s online order to the best store that can deliver the pizza within 30 minutes.

Location intelligence helps Domino’s in its new site forecasting, while location data is used to improve understanding of customers’ catchments and the ability to understand the true drivers of store performance as well as the impact on nearby stores. Domino’s also uses the intelligence to predict new store sales and cannibalisation using a consistent, transparent fact base and model.

Image credit: CISNFM

Predictive ordering solution

To enable faster pickup and delivery, Domino’s launched Project 3TEN in 2019, an initiative that aims to have a pizza ready for pickup within 3 minutes or safely delivered within 10. To support this initiative, predictive technologies were deployed to help reduce pizza making and delivery times by predicting what pizzas would be ordered next.

The company created a data lake consisting of key order information. It also builds and trains machine learning models to predict the likelihood that an order will be placed, so a store can begin making that order right before it is placed.

As a trial, Domino’s deployed its predictive ordering solution in some of its stores in Australia. Store employees could view an ordering screen displaying specific pizzas with various colour indicators corresponding to the likelihood of those pizzas being ordered. As a result, one store in Brisbane set a new Australian record for fast food, consistently delivering freshly-made pizzas to customer’s houses in less than six minutes for an entire week.

Geo-targeting marketing strategy

Domino’s marketing includes various segmentation, targeting and positioning strategy. The ‘opt-in’ option is embedded along the online ordering process so customers do not need to fill-up any additional form. The location information attached to a mobile number is used for various geo-targeting offers via zip codes, cities or store location radius.

Image credit: Autopilot

Going autonomous

Domino’s has always been an early experimenter with autonomous vehicles due to the significance of delivery aspect in its business model. In 2019, it partnered with Nuro, a self-driving-delivery startup, to autonomously deliver pizza out of one Domino’s store in the Houston area using the startup’s R2 model. Customers just need to enter a code to obtain their order from the Nuro. The autonomous delivery is then integrated with Domino’s GPS tracking system to help finetune the self-driven-delivery experience by communicating to customers exactly when their order will reach.

Image credit: Domino’s

Back in 2016, Domino’s New Zealand trialed a battery-powered delivery robot known as DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit). Later, in the same year, it completed the world’s first pizza delivery by drone, in partnership with Flirtey, a US-based drone delivery company.

As part of its plan to make drone deliveries a prime option to deliver its pizzas, another drone test-delivery was successfully completed in June 2020 on Zandvoort beach, located off Amsterdam coast. Upon approval from authorities, Domino’s is looking to use drones to reach locations where manual deliveries are not possible, like on remote mountains, deserts or on the sea.

The pizza giant is continuing its push forward to create and test new ideas that can take the brand to the next level. In 2019, it launched a new 33,000-square-foot, two-story building known as Domino’s Innovation Garage, where team members can develop and test new technology. The facility also has a dedicated space for testing delivery innovations, including the GPS delivery tracking experience, the customer interface on autonomous pizza delivery vehicles and robots.

"Having a hub for our community of smart, creative and dynamic team members to develop our brand and take it to the next level is important for our continued success,We’re proud to now have a space dedicated to learning, exploring, testing and launching new ideas in a way that only Domino’s can do.”
Kelly Garcia
Chief Technology Officer, Domino’s