Domino’s and IoT: Reinventing the Pizza Story

As something coming from an oven and deeply rooted in tradition, pizza may seem a low-tech type of food. Indeed, if you just think of what you eat – that delicious, universally loved combination of dough, tomato and cheese – it is.  But that’s not keeping Domino’s from taking a very advanced technological approach to all the surroundings. By doing so, the company is radically changing the pizza experience and its story.

In the last few months, Domino’s has announced a series of initiatives that are going to make the notion of eating pizza very different. In March the company’s CEO Ray Pasquale told Channele2e that Domino’s franchises are using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to reduce food waste and increase health code standards. In April the company’s European branch presented Domino’s Robotic Unit, a futuristic robot with wheels that will ensure timely delivery of pizza within a 1mile radius around the franchises. The company is also testing the use of drones in New Zealand. (see articles by Ty Trumbull, Channele2e and Jennifer Faull, The Drum News).

In May Domino’s disclosed another exciting innovation: this time, it’s related to the ordering process. At present 85% of orders to Domino’s come from digital channels, and the company expects this percentage to climb to 95% in a few years. That’s the perfect precondition to let consumers take direct advantage of IoT while ordering pizza – and have great fun doing so. How?

Domino’s informed the market that it has established a partnership with IFTTT, a free online service that allows users to make connections among different devices. Changes or events in one device can trigger other events in other devices. In Domino’s case that means that IFTTT users may now hook into the famous Domino’s Tracker and create totally unexpected performances.

If you ever ordered pizza from Domino’s, you are certainly familiar with its Tracker, which provides real-time information on several stages, such as: the order is prepared; the order is in oven; quality control; the order is out for delivery. As well explained in a recent article, the new IoT feature could imply that, for instance, when your order enters the oven, this triggers a certain song to play automatically on your musical device at home. Or, when your pizza is out for delivery, this can turn on the light on your porch. The possible connections are endless (Tim Nudd, Adweek).

What is relevant in this announcement is not just the technological feat. The most interesting aspect is the opportunity that users are given to stage their pizza moment.  When hosting a group of friends, the arrival of the delivery man may be turned into a show, with different devices automatically setting the perfect environment (focussing the lights on the table, switching on the TV for the soccer match, etc.). Thus, Domino’s pizza ceases to be a product or a service and becomes a thrilling experience. At the same time, the pizza story is reinvented as an unexpected encounter between food tradition and digital innovation.

And if you think that’s enough from a pizza brand, reconsider: these are just three of about 50 cutting edge digital projects that Domino’s has in its pipeline for the next 6 months.

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