The story of Domino’s is a fascinating one. Like so many great ventures, it started small, with two brothers buying a single pizza joint known as DomiNick’s in Michigan. It was sort of a side hustle for them. But over the years, that changed. The company’s founder, Tom Monaghan, became a trailblazer in the pizza industry; yet, his entrepreneurial journey, and Domino’s rise, was not without trials and tribulations.
Riddled with challenges throughout its corporate existence, Domino’s went through PR nightmares, lawsuits, and, at one point, seemingly inevitable obsolescence, before becoming the number 1 pizza company on the planet today — with sales nearing $10 billion annually and operations in 90 countries…
That prestigious ranking is due to the company’s ability to withstand storms, take risks, but most importantly, how well it leveraged technology to make pizza ordering the simplest and fastest in the industry.
In 2016, shortly after a period of bad press, Domino’s CEO at the time (Patrick Doyle) came up with a brilliant idea. The company would leverage the power of smartphones to make ordering Domino’s pizza insanely simple and ridiculously fast — essential aspects when one craves a pie.
You see, after decades in the pizza business, Domino’s understood that pizza eaters typically ordered the same pie every time they chose Domino’s. Billy always ordered a medium pepperoni, Sally, ham and pineapple 98% of the time, and so on. This opened the door for Domino’s to differentiate itself within the marketplace by leveraging technology.
The company built a new online ordering platform so that all Domino’s customers had to do was text an emoji of the type of pizza they wanted, and poof! Approximately 30 mins later, Sally had her ham and pineapple.
The results of this emoji initiative were astonishing. Within roughly a year after launch, sales were up approximately 12%, and Domino’s became the number one pizza company in America. In contrast, Pizza Hut’s (the previous number 1) sales decreased by approximately 2%.
Since launching this emoji text messaging system, Domino’s went from a number two or three pizza company to a global leader.
Once Domino’s had hundreds of thousands of customers texting pizza emojis to them, a new barrier to entry was created for competitors. Pizza is all about satisfying a craving. And humans want to easily and quickly fulfil a craving… the less work involved, the better.
With this program entrenched in their customer-base’s purchasing behaviours, good luck to any competitors trying to wrest market share from Domino’s.
Long before the pandemic changed how many order food and the frequency they do, Domino’s was inventing the gold standard for online food delivery. Their strategy 5-6 years ago was geared toward leveraging Domino’s customers’ everyday technologies to make it stupid easy, and lightning-quick, when ordering.
Interestingly, Domino’s has always focused on speed in the ordering process. Back in the 70s, the company launched a 30-minute delivery promise or your money back… the emoji platform is just a new iteration to the company’s long-time focus on speedy and convenient delivery.
Make it stupidly easy for your customers to transact with your company. And never forget the importance of speed. Those two elements made Domino’s the number 1 pizza company on the planet and helped its stock increase more than 5000% since the Great Recession.