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Innovation By Design

How Domino's Is Using Technology To Drive Pizza Sales

With Zero Click ordering and other innovations, the food-delivery company is finding new ways to get you your pie.

How Domino's Is Using Technology To Drive Pizza Sales

[Photo: Kevin Van Aelst]

Pizza chains have long courted customers with gimmicks like stuffed crusts and meat-heavy specialty pies. And while Domino’s also offers its share of shameless waistline expanders, the company has distinguished itself by emphasizing technology and experience design. The goal: to make transactions as frictionless as possible. "In that instant when our customer is thinking, 'What should I get for dinner?' an easy ordering experience can make a world of difference," says Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief digital officer. Domino’s has been at the vanguard of pizza tech since at least 2008, when it launched its popular tracker function, and lately it has been increasing its digital efforts. In May 2015, it introduced emoji ordering, which lets customers summon dinner by tweeting a pizza icon. Less than a year later, it became the first fast-food company to release an Amazon Echo application that enables users to order via voice command.

The company’s latest breakthrough takes effort reduction even further: no-click ordering. Save your info and preferred order ahead of time, and you can summon food simply by opening the app. A timer appears, counting down from 10. At the ding, your order has been placed. That’s it—no additional buttons to push, no decisions to make, no effort whatsoever.

All of these innovations are driven by Domino’s AnyWare system, a cloud-based hub with customer profiles that can be accessed from a range of platforms. With AnyWare, Call of Duty addicts can order on their PS4, for example, and Ford drivers can use their car’s Sync system. While the number of purchases on some of these emerging platforms is small, "a lot of this is about exploring technology and staying on the forefront so we’re there ahead of our competitors," says Kelly Garcia, VP of digital development. "We’re learning so that we’re ready when they break out."

Overall, Domino’s digital strategy is paying off, with the app and website pulling in more than $2 billion in digital sales a year—more than half of its delivery revenue. In the second quarter of 2016, same-store sales jumped almost 10%, a spike the company attributes in part to its tech efforts. The next step with Zero Click will likely be to make it more customizable, and Maloney says Domino’s is experimenting with other ways to improve the delivery process. "Pizza shouldn’t be creating angst with our consumers," he says. "It’s supposed to be a fun food."

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A version of this article appeared in the October 2016 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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