Even Domino’s couldn’t hold out against third-party delivery forever. The world’s No. 1 pizza chain has announced an agreement that will allow U.S. customers to order its food for delivery through the Uber Eats and Postmates apps, both owned by Uber.

Domino’s is the last of the big four pizza chains—which include Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa Johns—to embrace third-party delivery. The roll-out will start this fall in four pilot markets, the company said in a press release, and will spread nationwide by the end of 2023.

As part of the historic deal, orders placed on the Uber Eats platform will be delivered by uniformed Domino’s drivers. Additionally, customers will be able to track their order using Domino’s Tracker or through the Uber Eats app. And Uber One and Postmates Unlimited members will receive delivery of Domino’s orders for no charge.

Related: Domino’s has new plan to out-deliver its competitors

The agreement will likely put Domino’s delivery personnel on more doorsteps in more markets, pressuring local independent pizzeria operators to fine-tune their own delivery strategy. Better yet, as PMQ reported in April 2021, independents need to differentiate themselves through storytelling and authentic branding, building customer loyalty and creating a memorable guest experience that a quick-serve delivery giant like Domino’s can’t match.

Domino’s has struggled since the pandemic to hire and retain delivery drivers. In April 2021, Domino’s then-CEO Ritch Allison said the company was “experiencing one of the most difficult staffing environments in a long time,” adding, “The real pinch-point is the drivers.”

The chain has seen a decrease in demand for delivered food in recent quarters, and its same-store sales grew by less than 1% in the last quarter of 2022. In the first quarter of that same year, Domino’s same-store sales dropped by 3.6%, signifying a striking reversal of fortune for the brand. Due to staffing challenges, some Domino’s stores were forced to close down early on occasional nights in 2022, which was previously unheard of.

This photo shows a pair of hands holding a phone with a Domino's delivery app


At that time, PMQ noted, “It remains to be seen whether Domino’s will rethink its delivery strategy. But with third-party leaders like DoorDash and Uber Eats snapping up more and more drivers that Domino’s needs, the brand might not have a choice.”

That time has finally come, as Domino’s CEO Russell Weiner explained in a statement. “Now that aggregators are at scale, the next logical marketplace for us to enter is order aggregation,” he said. “Our research in the U.S. and learnings from 13 of our international markets has shown us that taking orders using the Uber Eats Marketplace provides access for Domino’s and its franchisees to a new segment of customers and what we believe will be a meaningful amount of incremental delivery orders once it’s widely available.”

Related: Domino’s challenges drive-thrus with new ordering options

Over time, Domino’s said the deal could bring Uber Eats orders to two-thirds of Domino’s stores worldwide, thanks to a single master agreement that will unify Domino’s international markets and leverage the global scale of both brands. Domino’s and Uber Eats currently have 27 international markets in common.

Uber Eats will be Domino’s exclusive third-party platform in the U.S. until at least 2024, the company said.

“As the No. 1 pizza company in the world, it is not surprising that Domino’s is a brand people have been asking for on Uber Eats’ global platform,” Weiner said. “Given certain customers only order their delivery from the Uber Eats app, this deal could make Domino’s available to millions of new customers around the world. Domino’s will still be the face our customers see at the door, while Uber will be providing us with adequate data to understand delivery efficiency and incrementality. Meanwhile, Domino’s own e-commerce platform will continue to be the place our customers can go to access our best deals and industry-leading loyalty program.”

Pizza News, Domino's