Jim Cramer was very worried about the pizza space going into Domino's Pizza (DPZ)'s earnings last week, as weakness from Yum Brands (YUM)' Pizza Hut and Papa John's (PZZA) indicated that there was a price war heating up.
That was all proved wrong when Domino's earnings knocked it out of the park, including a 12 percent increase in domestic same-store sales.
On Monday, he spoke with Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle who said the investments that the company has made in its stores, food and technology during the past few years are now paying off both internationally and domestically.
"We view ourselves as a work-in-progress brand," Doyle said. "We continue to find places that we can improve the experience for the customer and as long as we are making investments that do that, that can permanently improve the experience for our customers and we think we are going to continue to grow."
What separates Domino's from the pack is that it is a play on what Cramer calls the stay-at-home economy. This refers to strength in stocks that don't require people to get off the couch, such as Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX).
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Domino's began investing in technology approximately seven years ago and made the decision to manage the technology in-house. Its investments in technology have made it even easier for people to order from home and never speak to another human being, thanks to partnerships with non-traditional restaurant partners, such as Facebook, Google (GOOGL), Amazon and Apple (AAPL).
"Those are kind of the big players in technology, and we've got to be there with them with our customers if we are going to grow our sales," Doyle said.
Customers can order with an Apple watch, Facebook messenger, Alexa and Google Home. The platform also allows them to track their pizza from the store to their door. It's even rolling out an autonomous delivery vehicle called "DRU".
Approximately half of the employees of its Ann Arbor, Michigan-based headquarters work in technology or analytics surrounding the data created on its platform. Doyle also attributed the success of the quarter to Domino's franchisees.
On its earnings call, Papa John's said its soft quarter was due to a decline in NFL ratings. However, Doyle confirmed that Domino's was not impacted by any NFL decline and managed to take share from the big players in pizza. This is a shift for Domino's, as Doyle cited approximately 80 percent of gains in the past 5 years were taken from smaller players.
"We did take share from the category overall, and maybe a little bit more of it came from the larger players this category," Doyle said.
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