Why Domino's Doesn't Need to Go Full-On Fast Casual

Why Domino's Doesn't Need to Go Full-On Fast Casual
Image credit: Phillip Pessar | Flickr

Domino's thinks it has found the recipe for success in the pizza business. If you were expecting the brand to go all-out fast casual, think again.

The pizza company reported first quarter earnings today of $46.3 million, with domestic same-store sales increasing 14.5 percent from the previous year. Internationally, same-store sales increased 7.8 percent, marking the 85th quarter of consecutive international growth.

The company attributed the first quarter success to strong global sales, store growth, tech advancements and franchisees' efforts.

While Domino's has been flying high for quite a while - especially internationally -- the chain has been aggressive in its attempts to stay up to date. Like rivals Pizza Hut and Papa John's, the pizza chain has invested significantly in technology. Today, about 50 percent of all sales are digital and the company has made an effort to be "more than just mobile" with the ability to order via smartwatch and Samsung Smart TV.

Related: Pizza Hut's Largest Franchisee Says Menu Revamp Hasn't Helped Sales

Domino's has also continued to reimagine its restaurant design. The company is forcing franchisees to swap out any outdated "Domino's Pizza" signage to the shortened "Domino's." Twenty to 25 percent of Domino's stores have renovated to adopt the brand's new "Pizza Theatre" design, introduced in early 2014, featuring lower counters, more space and pizza-making at the front of the store instead of a back kitchen.

While the remodel contains elements of a fast-casual pizzeria, don't expect Domino's to go full fast-casual.

"You're not going to see us bringing lumber into the stores soon to start cooking the pizzas," Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle said during the earning's call. Instead, he says that Domino's has looked at ways to bring what people want in a fast-casual restaurant -- food quality, environment, an open kitchen -- and introduce that into Domino's model.

"I don't think you're going to see us go all the way over [to a fast-casual model,] but it does give us an opportunity," Doyle said. 

Related: Papa John's Launches Venmo-Powered Digital Platform to Split Bills

Edition: October 2016

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