Interview | Domino's

"Delivery is the future"

As a schoolboy, Stoffel Thijs was already delivering pizzas for Domino's. In August 2018, the Dutchman took the helm of the company in Germany as CEO.
As a schoolboy, Stoffel Thijs was already delivering pizzas for Domino's. In August 2018, the Dutchman took the helm of the company in Germany as CEO.

Delivery is the bread and butter business of the Domino's brand. The clear focus on the delivery business brought the company a plus of 23 percent in Germany in 2020. The enormous head start in terms of digitalization also helped. "Even at the beginning of the pandemic, we were fully digitized," says CEO Stoffel Thijs.

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Domino's is one of the few foodservice companies that not only got through the past year without any damage, but even with great sales growth - thanks to its clear focus on delivery.What consequences did the pandemic have for Domino's?
Of course, we also faced challenges. The first and most important one for us was: Keeping our people safe. More than 10,000 people work for the Domino's brand in Germany. We wanted to ensure their safety while keeping our operations open. To do this, we established contactless delivery, for example. In addition, it was not at all easy to maintain the delivery logistics, i.e. to have all products in the stores on time. But we managed that, too.

Were the stores affected by Covid 19 outbreaks?
There have been a few quarantine cases. We have always acted according to the motto 'better safe than sorry' and in such cases prefer to close the stores rather than expose people to a risk.

Many gastronomy companies only tackled the issue of digitalization during the crisis. Domino's even calls itself a tech company that delivers pizza. Did you nevertheless carry out further digitization steps?
In fact, we were already fully digitized when the Corona pandemic arrived in Germany. We are constantly introducing new innovations to the platform. This year, we will introduce a new app and launch a new website. The app will be even more intuitive than the current one and the speed of the ordering process will accelerate.

What was the basis for last year's increase in sales?
The increase in sales is delivery-driven. The delivery business accounts for 85 percent of sales at Domino's Germany, our Bread & Butter business is delivery. The core users are 18 to 35 years old. We have a high brand awareness in this target group. Nevertheless, it is not our only focus. Especially in the Corona period, we also gained older customers who were perhaps more afraid to go out. What we lost, on the other hand, were the pick-up customers. These are usually people who work in the office and go to get their pizza at lunchtime. Because of the home office, that has become less.

How did user behavior change during the pandemic?
Basically, there have been no groundbreaking changes for Domino's. Our customers were already online and are still online. However, we have gained many new customers. The average receipt has increased, but the order frequency has not changed much. The bestseller has also remained constant: it's still salami. There were no major Corona-related movements in the choice of products. The trend towards vegetarian food also existed before Corona. For us it is always clear: We are a pizza company and we don't want to position ourselves as a health company. But we don' t want to be unhealthy either. We are constantly working on this. For example, byreducing the salt content or introducing vegan options. Our commitment to corporate social responsibility goes hand in hand with this. We have joined the Better Chicken Commitment and most recently the 'Four Paws Atlas Challenge'.

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