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How Domino’s Achieved World Pizza Domination

The four key drivers to the brand’s off-the-chart success.

May 15, 2018

It’s not an easy path to becoming the big cheese of the pizza industry. There’s the competition. Trendy new products. Changing consumer appetites. In order to stand out and refine a competitive edge, the differentiator has to be — quite literally — outside the box.

Ansira has partnered with Domino’s for 15 years, first as the brand’s print agency and now as its digital partner, so we’ve had a front-row seat to the transformation from beleaguered pizza chain to world leader in pizza delivery. We’ve witnessed the leading-edge innovation embraced by Domino’s leaders — Patrick Doyle, president and CEO; Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA; and Dennis Maloney, chief digital officer — and everyone else in the company, from corporate staff to delivery drivers. And through recipe iterations, new product launches, and package redesigns, we’ve watched the brand disrupt the pizza-ordering experience.

At the 2018 Domino’s Worldwide Rally Expo in Las Vegas, the pizza chain is celebrating several hard-earned accomplishments, but the granddaddy of all is the sweetest. From our 15-year vantage point, here are the four reasons why Domino’s has legitimately become the global market pizza leader — two years ahead of schedule.

Reason No. 1: Domino’s Acknowledged Who It Was
“The sauce tastes like ketchup.” “Totally void of flavor.” “The crust tastes like cardboard.” “Microwave pizza is far superior.”

In 2010, Domino’s conducted focus group research, and consumer feedback wasn’t kind. Public perception was that the pizza was mass produced with processed ingredients. Doyle and his team had to take a hard look in the mirror to accept what the public thought of Domino’s — and then change everything that wasn’t working.

This meant reinventing sauces and pizza doughs, and even reselecting cheeses. With the feedback and new goals, Domino’s embarked on the ultimate pizza turnaround.

Reason No. 2: Leadership Has a Clear Vision of What They Want Domino’s To Be
Once Domino’s heard the criticism and launched pizza 2.0, it had to decide what it wanted to become. A pizza brand with delicious products, yes. But that was only half the story.

When Doyle came on board as CEO in 2010, he outlined the ultimate goal: to become the global market pizza leader by 2020. But after such prolific and harsh consumer criticism, was it possible?

The Domino’s leadership team made the strategic decision to concentrate on delivering more than just great products on Dominos.com. They wanted to deliver the ultimate pizza ordering experience. To that end, Doyle outlined Domino’s new brand strategy: to be an e-commerce company that sells pizza. Every business decision would be made from that directive.

Reason No. 3: Domino’s Has an Active Strategy Aligned to the Vision
Over the years, Domino’s has launched plenty of new products to meet consumer demand, but it has maintained a disciplined control. While other companies attempted to capitalize on foodie trends — hot dog crust pizza, anyone? — Doyle said, “We will not chase our competition.”

Through all the hype around competitor’s products, Domino’s stayed true to its vision and didn’t give in to the pressure to launch trendy pizzas. Instead, Domino’s leveraged innovation to hone the ordering experience.

Today, there are a host of ways place a Domino’s order: phone, text, smartwatch, app, Slack, online, voice, and the new Domino’s Hotspots®. Even Alexa has your back when you’re craving a slice. Domino’s is also working on a pilot program in Miami with Ford Motor Company to test self-driving pizza delivery cars.

Reason No. 4: Domino’s Has the Perseverance to Stick to the Strategy
The Domino’s brand has heavily promoted its “easy order” focus. It has stuck to the script for eight years, ensuring that every customer has a direct path to pizza heaven.

The “easy” part doesn’t stop once an order is placed. The customer can track the status of the pizza through the Pizza Tracker function and count down the minutes until delivery. By expanding on the numerous ways customers can order, the brand is staying true to its commitment to be an e-commerce company that sells pizza.

Taking the Throne
The pizza industry grows at a rate of 1% to 2% annually, but Domino’s has blown away that average, earning double digits year after year. In 2018, Domino’s hit its goal to be the global market pizza leader, a full two years ahead of its 2020 deadline. We congratulate Domino’s on this delicious accomplishment.

From a single location in 1960, to 15,000 stores in 2018, Domino’s has earned its crown. Ansira is proud of the many roles we’ve had a chance to play throughout the pizza leader’s evolution — and watched as customers around the world ate it up.

About the Author

Austin Wright
SVP, Strategy

Austin helps billion-dollar brands develop holistic strategies to drive customer loyalty.

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