Domino’s Pursues Self-Driving Delivery Vehicle Testing and Eyes Elevated Customer Experience

While a definitive, or even tentative, timetable for actual implementation might be elusive at this point, officials at Domino’s Pizza are eager to stay on the cusp of self-driving delivery vehicle testing. Domino’s has partnered with Ford to conduct a second round of self-driving delivery vehicle testing, focusing on an elevated customer experience.
This two-month test is being conducted in Miami. The initial round of testing occurred in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jenny Fouracre-Petko, Director of Public Relations for Domino’s Pizza, talked to Loyalty360 about the company’s ongoing involvement with self-driving delivery vehicle testing.
“We learned some really interesting things from the first round of testing,” she explained. “For instance, that people are actually open to idea of getting a delivery from a self-driving vehicle and that the consumer interface we tested was well understood by the customers who tried it.”
For the second round of testing, a Ford Fusion hybrid vehicle—manually driven, but outfitted to look like a self-driving vehicle—will take deliveries from a Miami Domino’s store to customers who have ordered online and chosen to participate in the test. Participating customers will be able to track the vehicle via GPS and will receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches. The texts will also provide them with simple instructions on how to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle using a PIN code.
“We have worked with Ford over the years on projects such as ordering Domino’s through Ford Sync, so based on existing relationships we were able to work with them again on testing out the self-driving vehicle concept,” Fouracre-Petko added. “While the timing of when these cars will be on the road is really a better one for Ford than Domino’s, what we know is these cars are going to happen. As delivery experts, we want to be ready for any technology that could impact the delivery business. The reason we are doing all this research is because we want to be ready when that day comes and for our customers to have a seamless, easy-to-use experience when these vehicles become a reality.”
Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, with a significant business in both delivery and carryout pizza. It ranks among the world’s top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 14,800 stores in more than 85 markets.
Domino’s recorded global retail sales of more than $12.2 billion in 2017. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino’s achieve more than half of its global retail sales in 2017 from digital channels, primarily online ordering and mobile applications.
Domino’s isn’t alone in the pizza industry when it comes the testing of autonomous vehicle delivery. Loyalty360 talked to Pizza Hut last month about its pursuit of new delivery options that involve autonomous vehicles.
At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toyota, the world’s top automaker, and Pizza Hut announced a global partnership to explore the future of pizza delivery and other initiatives to improve mobility around the world. Toyota is working on a plan to tackle mobility and delivery issues through an e-Palette vehicle, a self-driving modular store on wheels.

Doug Terfehr, Senior Director of Partnerships and Public Relations at Pizza Hut, told Loyalty360 that the e-Palette solution could support the company’s delivery business in the future or, given the flexibility of the e-Palette design, could even serve as a mobile kitchen in areas of the world where such an experience would match consumer interests.

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