Domino’s reveals tech, data and AI plays at innovation event

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 9 June 2016

Domino's has become equal parts tech company as it is a food company, with the business this week holding its first Abacus technology innovation event in Sydney.

The event saw the company reveal 10 innovation projects that it’s been working on, that centre around the theme of “Time is the enemy of food”, with the business launching new data offerings, technology advances and even outlining what the company hopes to be doing with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the near future.

The first, and one of the biggest announcements from the event, centres around the idea of flipping the brand’s GPS driver tracker on its head, so the same tech can track consumers to ensure that their pizza is fresh out of the oven when they are about to pick it up.

Called On-Time Cooking, the offering will ensure that orders that customers pick up will only commence cooking when customers have entered the “cook zone” – an updated virtual zone around the store meaning customers receive hotter, fresher pizzas.

Speaking at the event this morning, chief executive and managing director of the business, Don Meij, explained that Domino's is in a transformation period, with the company looking at all sorts of technology as ways that can help the company not only drive efficiencies, but also ensure that its customers get the best experience.

“We’re not creating gimmicks,” he says. “Gimmicks are gone in a day and cost millions to be gone in a day.

"All of this tech is inspired by our customers - it’s inspired to make our business better.”

The company is also aiming to use its masses of customer data to make its messaging more relevant. There’s a side affect to this data play as well, with Domino’s group chief digital officer Michael Gillespie explaining that in the updated Driver Tracker app, the company has started running polls which are able to answer some of Australia’s big questions.

First the questions centred around what are people’s favourite types of pizza toppings, with the polls being created to keep people entertained while they are waiting for their order to arrive. Gillespie says that the polls quickly turned to bigger issues, with Domino's asking customers who they think will be Australia’s new Prime Minister?

“[Domino's] has the ability to predict who’s going to be the leader of Australia,” he says. “That power has come from us asking questions, we saw people were engaged and it gives them a voice and allows them to have fun while their pizzas to arrive.”

The company also talked about its new philosophy of, ‘Slow Where It Matters, Fast Where It Counts.’ This is a part of Project 3/10 which sees the company aiming to get delivery times down to 10 minutes, and its pick-up times only taking three minutes. While still some time down the track, Meij explained that by using the information the company now has about its processes, it’s can see where it needs to take off time without hurting customer experience.

Domino's has also looked to North America for some innovation ideas, and one the local business is deciding to launch is Zero-Click, an app that allows people to order pizza in 10 seconds. It follows on from the US pizza emoji concept, one that means consumers don’t have to spend a huge amount of time ordering. Once this app is opened, a consumer has 10 seconds to cancel the order otherwise a pre-saved selection is already on its way to you.

Today’s innovation event also won’t be the last for Domino's, with the brand planning to hold Abacus events every six months to update the market on technology advances.

See the full list of Domino's Abacus innovation announcements below: 

  1. On Time Cooking –Domino’s has invented On Time Cooking for pick up customers. Available from 13 June, Domino’s has introduced a technology solution for customers who may place an order and then be stuck in traffic or caught up at home. Using technology, the company is able to ensure that a customer’s pizza is as hot and fresh as possible on their arrival. Referred to as the ‘GPS Customer Tracker’, orders will only commence when customers have entered the Cook Zone – a dynamically updated virtual zone around the store that represents the current store lead time which means customers receive hotter, fresher pizzas.

  2. Domino’s New Live Pizza Tracker - In 2006 Domino’s brought the world the first ever Live Pizza Tracker, allowing customers to track every stage of their pizza order in real time. Over time the Domino’s Live Pizza Tracker has been refined and had elements added, such as GPS Driver Tracker, all set to enhance the customer experience and give them back their time. In 2016 Domino’s took a trip down memory lane and introduced the new and improved tracker.

  3. Estimated Delivery Time - The latest addition to the Pizza Tracker experience is Estimated Delivery Time. Estimated Delivery Time provides customers with a clear and accurate estimated time for their delivery. This is made possible due to a combination of GPS Driver Tracker and store operation data. 

  4. Zero Click - Recently Domino’s has brought to market a range of platforms that make ordering faster and more convenient than ever before and set new benchmarks for the industry. Now in as little as four clicks on a screen, an SMS or a tap on an Apple Watch you can place a Domino’s Order. Zero Click Ordering is set to be the easiest way to order pizza in Australia and allows customers to simply open the app and the order is complete.

  5. Project 3/10 – GPS Driver Tracker started as a driver safety initiative but the insights it has provided Domino’s extends further than just the delivery side of the business. It has opened the pizza lid to the company’s new philosophy of, ‘Slow Where It Matters, Fast Where It Counts.’ The core idea behind the philosophy is to ensure that staff are slow in taking the time to make the pizza correctly, spending time with the customers and providing excellent service but fast in the improved hustle and service times and streamline operational procedures to crunch seconds off the clock, made possible due to Domino’s time crunching technology developments.

  1. Domino’s Data – Not too many companies in Australia have access to the volume of data Domino’s does. For over 10 years, the company has offered online ordering and over that time has carefully refined what data is captured with an end goal of improving the customer’s overall experience. Thanks to a new targeting system created in house by Domino’s, the company is now focused on delivering more personal and relevant content to customers to ensure its tailoring customer orders like never before.

  2. One Digital & the Domino’s Global Market - The digital systems developed here in Australia are now in five other Domino’s markets, soon to be seven. As an Australian company Domino’s is extremely proud to be developing customer-facing digital technology solutions in Belgium, France, New Zealand, The Netherlands and soon Japan and Germany. The ability to export technology and innovation globally means global learnings are applied to future developments as technology is tested and implemented across its seven markets. The benefit to the customer means the development is accelerated – bigger, better and faster. This type of technology is only possible in Domino’s.

  3. Europe Tracker – When developing technology for global markets, Domino’s faces different challenges and needs to find ways of transferring innovative ideas to comply with regulation. A good example of this is GPS Driver Tracker in Europe. Regulations prevent the company from showing exactly where the driver is and their name. This provided a challenge on how Domino’s can retain the core benefit of being able to track their order from the store to the door but also comply with the law. The solution, to build a visual experience that shows a delivery driver leaving a store and arriving at a house. The customer will be able to see when the driver has stopped and also how close the driver is to their house. Some Domino’s innovations change regulation, others help inform and others need problem solving around regulations already in place.

  4. Domino’s Robotic Unit (DRU) – Since the launch of the world’s first autonomous delivery vehicle (DRU) in March this year, Domino’s has been busy doing customer trials with DRU, giving him better vision and working closely with the relevant regulators in this space. DRU has been busy delivering customers piping hot pizza orders and interacting with customers to improve his delivering skills as part of the delivery expert team.

  5. The future of AI at Domino’s - The development of DRU has only just started for Domino’s with him set to embody a bigger, more holistic Artificial Intelligence (AI) role in the Company. All AI interaction Domino’s customers are set to experience with Domino’s will be with DRU as he takes up residence at the pizza headquarters. In fact, most people’s first experience with DRU will not be via the delivery unit, it will be through Online Ordering as we work to add voice AI to online ordering platforms to help customers place an order. 

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