In an attempt to earn customer loyalty heading into the Super Bowl pizza rush, Domino’s is offering members of its Points for Pies rewards program a chance to earn points without having to buy a pizza from the chain. Domino’s Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Art D’Elia said in an announcement for the offering, “Instead of advertising during Sunday’s game, we decided to invest in a breakthrough program.” (Domino’s Chief Executive Ritch Allison, however, will appear in commercials for the program.)
To receive the promotion, diners download the QSR’s app and sign up for its rewards program. They can then use a “newly embedded pizza identification feature to scan their pizza” and earn 10 points from the company. Customers then redeem 60 points for a medium two-topping pizza at the restaurant chain. To make the promotion possible, the company’s digital analytics team made a tool using artificial intelligence (AI) that can spot a pizza in a photo. “We kept the definition broad, and we landed on an open-faced expression of sauce, cheese and crust,” Domino’s VP of Advertising Kate Trumbull told AdAge.
Yet the company will not allow credit for other food items like turkey sandwiches and hamburgers. But Domino’s Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney did note in the announcement that the tool could spot all sorts of pizza varieties, “even if it is a homemade English muffin pizza, a pizza with a hotdog stuffed crust or a high-end artisan pizza. It can even identify if it’s a dog’s squeaky pizza toy.” He also mentioned that the offering is unprecedented for the pizza chain: The latest promotion “is the first time Domino’s is using AI technology like this,” he said.
The move comes ahead of Super Bowl weekend, which is “one of the top five days of the year in the ever-competitive pizza industry,” per AdAge. Domino’s says they usually sell around four million chicken wings and two million pizzas “on the biggest football day of the year.” In terms of pizza, the figure reflects a 40 percent increase over the amount of product sold on a typical Sunday. Overall, the company claims that it could “cover more than 5,000 football fields” with the amount of pizza that it sold last year.
Nearly all – or 92 percent – of customers view placing a QSR order via a mobile app as a positive experience, per the PYMNTS Mobile-Order Ahead Tracker. The report also pointed out that the average increase in check size for digital orders was 20 percent. It also found that a 50 percent share of Pizza Hut’s sales last year were placed through QuikOrder. (The QSR announced that it was acquiring the technology company in December.)
Domino’s Digital Push
Domino’s has also launched other digital initiatives recently. The QSR said in April that it was delivering to non-traditional delivery locations, such as sports fields, parks and beaches, through its Domino’s Hotspots program. (At the time, it said that more than 150,000 locations were included.) However, the option was only available for prepaid orders placed on mobile apps and on Dominos.com. With the service, local Domino’s Hotspots that are available for delivery will appear on a map for customers to select after their location is determined.
Domino’s USA President Russell Weiner said in a press release announcing the new initiative, “We know that delivery is all about convenience, and Domino’s Hotspots are an innovation that is all about flexible delivery options for customers.”
That effort came after former Domino’s Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle predicted more voice orders from customers and deliveries from autonomous cars. He said last year that “…over the next three to five years, I think you will see more and more people using natural voice to place orders, as opposed to thumbing things into their screens.”
But for now, QSRs like Domino’s are tapping into their loyalty and rewards programs to drive promotions as they head into a digitally driven future.