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Big Pizza Rolling In The Dough

Big Pizza Rolling In Dough Thanks to Adept Innovation

Motivation for many work teams comes in the form of a white flour slab oozing with oil and melted cheese, slathered in red sauce and topped with more foodstuffs than a Thanksgiving dinner.

Pizza. You want it. You need it. Now.

The big chains aka Big Pizza hear you. Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut. They want to keep you happy and buying, so they’re bringing it. Or rather their heated up mobile apps and in some cases, new delivery bots are bringing pizza to you faster than you can say pepperoni.

It turns out that the new apps and delivery systems that decrease delivery time and increase customer engagement are increasing sales. So are crazy new types of toppings and flavored crusts.

Now thanks to:

  • new ways to deliver pizzas
  • new types of pizzas
  • new ways to engage consumers

The big pizza companies are raking in more dough as they roll out more pizza dough.

Fun With Bots and Drones – The Cool New World of Pizza Delivery

“There’s only four things we [Americans] do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode and high speed pizza delivery,” says a main character in the prescient 1993 sci-fi novel Snow Crash.

Now that high speed pizza delivery is about to speed up even more that to new technology.

Domino’s recently successfully delivered pizza by drone. And they’re rolling out bot delivery too. Rolling as on wheels. So take a good look at the pizza delivery guy with the logo shirt and insulated bag full of pizza pies on his shoulder. In fact, take a picture. He may soon go the way of the milkman and the iceman.

The successful drone delivery happened – like other cool things – in New Zealand. The drone, made by Flirtey, delivered two pizzas to a household in Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland.

GPS navigation autonomously controlled the drone, which was also supervised by folks back at the office. The order took only two to three minutes to arrive, according to Fortune. And to top it off, the customer of this historic pizza run loved it, too.

“The delivery was a lot quicker and it was most certainly more fresh and hot,” the customer said.

Domino’s explained on its Facebook page, “Domino’s and Flirtey have invested a great deal of time and energy into this process so far. Now we have been able to make deliveries to a customer’s house, directly from the store. The product options and delivery distance will expand throughout the trial process as we successfully complete each of our steps. Safety, and the quality of our products arriving to customers safely is our number one priority throughout all stages of testing and launching pizza drone deliveries.”

Meanwhile, if you see what looks like a cooler on wheels rolling down a street in Hamburg, Germany, you’ve just seen Domino’s new pizza delivering robot.

The six-wheeled robots are slightly less than two feet tall, weigh about 40 pounds and travel around four miles per hour — a brisk walking speed. Its movements are tracked throughout its entire journey and it can only be opened by the recipient, according to the website of Starship, the Estonian company creating the carrier robots for Domino’s and other food delivery businesses.

For starters, the robotic deliveries will only be available within a mile radius of select Domino’s locations. And though Starship’s bots can rove around sidewalks autonomously, they will be accompanied by humans initially just to make sure all goes well, Recode reported.

Pizza Toppings Walk on the Wild Side

Sriracha sauce, curry, and soft pretzel crusts. This is not your parents’ pizza. You can still order those, of course. Tomato sauce, mozzarella and the usual toppings. But today’s latest pizza add-ons run the gamut of nearly all things edible. The small indie places offer foodie pizza topped with items like farm fresh eggs or organic berries, gourmet cheeses and fresh herbs. However even Big Pizza has upped its game in this department with a wide variety of wilder pizza styles and toppings.

Pizza Hut recently rolled out a new menu full of new flavors intended to keep its young demographic from getting bored. You can choose from a cornucopia of new options or opt for an entirely new concept of pizza. For example, there’s the Giddy Up BBQ Chicken. A pizza with not a drop of tomato sauce. Instead it’s got barbeque sauce topped with grilled chicken, hardwood smoked bacon and fresh red onions matched up with toasted cheddar crust and a barbeque sauce drizzle. No tomato sauce or even cheese in the Sweet Sriracha Dynamite pizza with its grilled chicken, sliced jalapeño peppers, sweet pineapple and Peruvian cherry peppers, honey Sriracha on the crust edge and a honey Sriracha sauce drizzle. Not in Naples anymore, are we?

Not to be outdone, Domino’s last year introduced a hybrid pizza burger. The oven-baked crust forms the bun with the toppings sandwiched inside. Kind of like an updated calzone. But the pizza burger is only available at Domino’s eateries in India right now.

How Domino’s Spun From Lame to Upper Crust

Failure is an option. That’s what Domino’s CEO and President Patrick Doyle said became the company mantra as it began reinventing itself nearly a decade ago. Accepting failure as an option allowed the company to take risks, not play it safe and innovate, he told business leaders gathered in Detroit near Domino’s Ann Arbor headquarters, according to an analysis in Harvard Business Review.

“The scale of the changes at Domino’s are remarkable. Doyle became CEO in 2010, after some troubled years, when the company’s growth was slow and its stock price was stuck, a lame $8.76 per share. Today, Domino’s is the second-largest pizza chain in the world, with more than 12,500 locations in more than 80 countries, and a share price at $180. It has moved from being the butt of late-night jokes to becoming a favorite of the stock pickers on CNBC.

Although Doyle credits publicly owning up to the poor quality of Domino’s pizza and upgrading it, he also noted the importance of scaling up the company’s tech investment as key to the turnaround.

Doyle said that Domino’s is not only in the pizza-making business, but also in the pizza-delivery business. “We are as much a tech company as we are a pizza company,” he said.

Of the 800 employees at corporate headquarters in Michigan, 400 are in software and analytics. Customers can order a pizza on the Domino’s app, tweet for a pizza, or simply text an emoji. Each order is monitored at every step of the way by technology, giving customers real-time information about the status of their order.

Pizza Emojis and Customer Engagement

Texting an emoji of a slice of pizza to place your order is kind of cool. You confirm your order with the thumbs up emoji. Then you can use the Pizza Tracker App. Kind of like after you order an Uber, the live tracker app lets you follow your pizza along the process. From placement to cooking to leaving the store, your pizza’s journey is documented in real time. And there’ a GPS feature to track the driver’s location. Reportedly, college students love to watch this documentary unfold – especially when they’re “hella lit.”

“Domino’s embrace of technology is working to impact its bottom line. The company claims that its emphasis on technology helped generate over 50% of U.S. sales from digital channels at the end of 2015, and helped reach an estimated $4.7 billion annually in global digital sales. That’s a lot of pizzas!” commented an article about the Domino’s rebound on Tatango.

In the U.S., pizza accounts for some 60% of the online food delivery market, according to a Morgan Stanley analysis reported in Forbes. As Paysa noted in a recent post about mobile food delivery apps, Domino’s dominates with 24% of total digital delivery market share. Pizza Hut’s 19% market share and Papa John’s 9% rounds out the rest of the pie.

“At nearly $500 billion a year in revenues, the restaurant industry is one of the largest in retail. Of this, food eaten off premise carves out $210 billion, including the $30 billion delivery market, of which $11 billion is online. Exclude pizza, however, and online delivery’s slice shrinks to $4 billion,” Morgan Stanley states in its full report.

Pizza Pays Off With Bigger Slices of Stock Dividends

All that tech innovation resulting in edgier faster delivery and customer engagement is paying off. Big Pizza is gobbling bigger slices of the stock market.

Shares of Domino’s (DPZ) hit an all-time high recently as reported in CNN Money article, This pizza is red hot! Domino’s and Papa John’s on fire. “The stock is up 14% already this year and more than 60% over the past 12 months. And even though Papa John’s (PZZA) is down a bit so far in 2017, shares have soared nearly 80% in the past year,” it said.

In fact, the stock price of Domino’s has grown 2,092% outperforming hot stocks such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple, according to Quartz.

CNN Money attributes Domino’s stock climb to its new high tech appeal to young consumers, citing the New Zealand drone test run as an example. Papa John’s success CNN says stems from its absurdly appealing varieties of pizza and toppings such as the recently resurrected its super-decadent (and protein heavy) Ultimate Meats pizza. And its humorous commercials.

Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), also the parent company of KFC and Taco Bell, gets a smaller slice of the stock pie, it seems. Despite some recent signs that things are starting to stabilize at Pizza Hut, it’s still a turnaround story. Same-store sales for Pizza Hut were down 1% in the third quarter.

Win or lose in the short run, Big Pizza has forever changed our relationship with the savory content of those grease-stained, flat, square cardboard boxes.

But what if those drones go rogue and start secretly filming what you’re working on? Or the pizza bot gets hacked and threatens to release a toxic gas into your office or home unless you pay an extra fee? Wait, come back pizza delivery guy.