Domino’s Retains In-House Delivery with Innovative yet Familiar Software

Remember Domino’s Pizza Tracker where you could monitor the progress of your dinner in their kitchens? Now Domino’s will introduce customer-accessible GPS tracking of pizza delivery drivers in 27 corporate stores within Phoenix, Arizona. Later this spring, Dominos will also expand this pilot software to three franchise markets in Lansing, Michigan; Roanoke, Virginia; and suburban Seattle-Tacoma area in Washington.

Customers using this feature will receive an ETA and then keep a close eye on movements of the pizza delivery driver on either the order confirmation page on Dominos.com or via the Dominos app. They can also opt for SMS notifications to alert them when their order is two minutes away.

“We’re excited to offer this feature to our customers,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief digital officer in a statement. “Transparency on orders that are out on the road makes a big difference to customers, as well as drivers and store managers. With GPS tracking everyone can have the best possible delivery experience.”

The drivers will have access to one-touch customer callback as well as suggested routes via this software. The store managers will also have a screen that tracks drivers so they can make improvements where needed.

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This GPS-tracking feature is new to U.S. customers. Domino’s previously rolled out an experimental version throughout Australia in 2015.  Domino’s then entered a three-year lawsuit against Precision Tracking, a small Sydney company that builds custom GPS tracking, in which Domino’s was accused of copying Precision’s GPS software to pass off as its own. Financial Review reported this was “dubbed the intellectual property case of the decade” in Australia. The two companies then settled last October when Precision posted on its website that Domino’s is “entitled to operate the GPS Driver Tracker” but that Precision also has the right to use their patents and technology with third parties.

This real-time GPS-tracking feature isn’t new to food delivery, either. Third-party apps such as UberEats or DoorDash have utilized this to attract customers, in turn wooing large pizza chains like Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, both of which abandoned strict in-house delivery in favor of innovation.

Interestingly, Domino’s new CEO Richard Allison has been recently outspoken against using third-party delivery apps. He said, “…it’s just not clear to me why I would want to give up our franchisees’ margin or give up the data in our business to some third party who will ultimately use it against us.”

Instead, Domino’s has invested heavily in its digital platform, from its well-known Pizza Tracker and its relatively-new GPS Driver Tracker to its Anyware software and recently working with Xevo, a software company, in creating an app that will be preloaded onto cars’ interactive dashboards in 2019.

Whether Domino’s should embrace third-party apps like other pizza chains remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see how keeping operations in-house fares in the long run.