U.S. Markets closed

Dominos CEO: We got ahead of the curve in technology

Nicole Sinclair
Markets Correspondent

Dominos (DPZ)—the global pizza chain with over 13,000 stores in over 80 markets—is knocking it out of the park.

The company posted 13% domestic same-store sales in its latest quarter, significantly above restaurant peers and even Yum Brand’s (YUM) Pizza Hut, which clocked in a negative same-store sales number in its latest quarter.

The secret sauce?

Other than the company’s new recipe rolled out in 2010, in one word: technology.

Digital Dominos

“We got into it early,” said CEO Patrick Doyle. “We decided this was clearly the place where our customers were going. We started investing heavily 6, 8 years ago now on our digital platform.”

In its latest quarter, 55% of Domino’s sales were digital, well ahead of the 20% for the restaurant industry, according to Bloomberg.

Doyle said a big part of the company’s success is “early investment.” And he added the company hasn’t stopped. “We got ahead of the curve there. But then we’ve kept investing.”

For example, the company just rolled out ordering with a bot via Facebook (FB) messenger.

This builds on the company’s other ordering platforms—including Ford (F) Sync, Amazon (AMZN) Echo, Apple (AAPL) watch and even emojis.

“We’re continuing to drive new places that people can order our product. And clearly it’s been working out for us.”

While much of the technology has been focused on ordering thus far, Doyle said the next focus is on delivery and pick-up.

“Fundamentally our business is taking orders, making pizzas and getting them to the customers…. What we’ve done a lot of is investment on the ordering side but we’re looking at whether there are opportunities in the other spaces to really change the customer experience,” he said.

In particular, the company has been testing self-driving cars and drone delivery, both which Doyle said he sees as near-term opportunities.

“People are continuing to underestimate how fast some of these things are going to be coming,” he said.

Market share growth

Doyle, meanwhile, emphasized still-tepid growth in the industry—forcing the company to focus on market share gains, built through digital initiatives and loyalty programs.

“The key is what you do with customers once they register with you,” he said. “There’s been a lot of focus on penetration of digital ordering. I think it’s just as important what you do with those customers once they’re there.”

The company’s “Piece of the Pie” loyalty program has been driving share, according to Doyle, built from individualized profile set-ups.

Please also see:

Healthy retail sales number belies rapidly evolving industry dynamics

It’s all bad news in the restaurant chain business

3 top strategists debate the impact of the Fed, the election and earnings