Back in November, Domino’s launched a gift card giveaway program with a simple objective… to discourage the use of third-party delivery apps. The program was promoted through television ads during the pandemic. Participating stores in various locations throughout Boston, Phoenix, Louisville, Laredo and Denver bought thousands of $50 gift cards from local restaurants, and randomly gave them out to Domino’s delivery customers.
The goal was to encourage customers to “buy local” and order directly from the local restaurants instead of using delivery apps. While delivery services such as Grubhub and DoorDash offer convenience and access to a vast customer base, they also charge fees that often eat into the margins of local, mom-and-pop establishments.
Domino’s business model has always been laser focused on local delivery. In 1984, the company created the 30-minute pizza delivery guarantee which helped make it the world’s largest pizza delivery company. The pledge was simple… if pizza was not delivered within 30 minutes, it was free. The company has since dropped this delivery guarantee but continues to innovate.
Last year, Domino’s launched a new service in Houston enabling customers to have a pizza delivered without ever interacting with a human. The company partnered with autonomous delivery vehicle startup Nuro to allow select customers to have their pizzas dropped at their door via Nuro’s R2 robot.
“Domino’s is the home of pizza delivery,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief innovation officer in a TechCrunch article. “Delivery is at the core of who we are, so it’s very important for us to lead when it comes to the consumer experience of delivery.”
At Domino’s, giving customers options is paramount, especially if they don’t use delivery apps. The company’s current television commercial offers a $3 carryout tip to customers who order online and pick up at the store.
I applaud Domino’s for continuing to innovate and find new ways to engage its customers, while protecting the sanctity of its delivery turf. There is certainly a place for delivery apps, but not at the detriment of local restaurants.