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Domino’s will not rest until it figures out every possible way to improve pizza delivery

Domino’s 45-year history of picking up the pace in pizza ordering and delivery innovation

Domino’s will not rest until it figures out every possible way to improve pizza delivery
[Photo illustration: Fast Company]





Last year, Domino’s tallied more than 60% of its U.S. sales via digital orders, achieved its 30th straight quarter of same-store sales growth, and saw its stock rise 22% in a tumultuous market. These milestones were driven by the company’s efforts to get its pies into people’s hands as quickly as possible, including geofencing public parks to enable outdoor delivery and challenging cities to improve their roads in a cheeky, faux-PSA campaign. “The Grubhubs and Uber Eats of the world will [challenge] us,” says Art D’Elia, Domino’s chief brand and innovation officer. “We need to keep pushing ourselves to maintain our advantage.” Here’s a look at the company’s 45-year history of deploying product, tech, and marketing to pioneer advances in ordering and delivery.

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1973, The 30-Minute Guarantee

The promise that customers would get their pizza within 30 minutes of ordering (or it’s free) finally ends in 1993 in the U.S., thanks to delivery runs that began to resemble a Fast & Furious prequel. But it did establish the brand’s commitment to speed.

2008, The Pizza Tracker

Domino’s introduces the online real-time progress bar to answer the age-old question: “Hey man, when’s the pizza gonna be here?” “Consumers love the transparency it provides,” says D’Elia. “We’re continuously looking for ways to bring new benefits to the tracker.”

June 2014, Steady Pizza

Ever get a pie where all the toppings have slid to one side? In Brazil, Domino’s creates a storage box containing a gyroscope that keeps a pizza even-keeled while strapped to a motorbike rider’s back. Alas, it’s just a short-lived marketing stunt.

October 2014, Voice Ordering

Dom, a Siri-esque voice assistant built to talk you through your order, is officially rolled out in Domino’s mobile app. “It allows our employees to focus on making pizzas instead of spending time on the phone,” says D’Elia.

May 2015, Domino’s AnyWare

This tech platform brings ordering into the 21st century, transforming any two-way communicator into a pizza-summoning machine. AnyWare enables customers to order via text­ing a pizza emoji, messaging Twitter or Facebook Messenger, or using a smartwatch or speaker.

October 2015, Domino’s DXP

The pizza chain outfits a customized Chevrolet Spark with a 140-degree warming oven that can carry up to 80 pizzas. Today, about 100 DXPs are deployed in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, Houston, New Orleans, and Seattle.

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2016, Self-Driving Delivery

Domino’s rolls out experimental self-driving robots in a few German and Dutch cities, and it teams with Ford to test autonomous-vehicle delivery in Miami and its hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The biggest challenge with autonomous vehicles,” says D’Elia, “is that last 50 feet.”

April 2018, Hot Spots

Domino’s, with the help of nearly 800 franchisees and thousands of delivery drivers, incorporates geofencing into its digital ordering process, which means that it can bring pizza to more than 200,000 outdoor locations, such as your favorite park bench.

June 2018, “Paving for Pizza”

The company asks Americans to nominate their town for pothole repairs, because smoother roads mean safer pizza. In what might be the first brand success that’s also a scathing indictment of infrastructure funding, users submit more than 137,000 requests. Domino’s paves one community
in each state.

September 2018, Dinner Bell

The Pizza Tracker now lets people create groups in the Domino’s app to share their Pizza Tracker alerts with friends and family. What a time to be alive.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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