Domino's scores with chicken

by Monica Watrous
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The latest product launch at Domino’s Pizza, Inc. may have raised some eyebrows, but it also helped lift traffic and ticket during the chain’s most recent quarter.

Introduced in April, Specialty Chicken features traditional pizza toppings, cheese and sauces layered on pieces of lightly breaded boneless chicken. Varieties include crispy bacon and tomato, spicy jalapeno and pineapple, classic hot buffalo, and sweet barbecue bacon.

Specialty Chicken features traditional pizza toppings layered on pieces of lightly breaded boneless chicken.


“This product was embraced by our customers and drove good margins for our franchisees,” said Patrick Doyle, president and CEO, during a call with financial analysts to discuss second-quarter earnings. “So, overall, we are very pleased with our latest addition to the menu.”

The launch represented Domino’s first since September 2012.

“As with any product, as we have kind of described in the past, this is not as much kind of center-of-the-plate as pizza,” Doyle said. “So, a little bit more of it is an add-on, which was a great way for us to get some growth in ticket through mix in the second quarter, and that was part of that ticket growth. But overall the response was very strong. I think it played into maybe a little bit of the order growth, but I think most of the order growth in the second quarter really came from continued momentum in brand, continued digital growth, all of those things that have been driving results for us for quite a few years.”

With digital channels accounting for about 45 percent of sales, Domino’s continues to build on its technology platforms. In May, the company launched an ordering app for iPad.

Domino's has launched voice ordering through its iPad app.


“We logged over $1 million in sales through this app in its first four weeks alone,” Doyle said. “Since then, we also became the first company to launch voice ordering through our iPhone and Android apps. The voice ordering is similar to Siri on your iPhone, only our computer generated voice is called Dom. We feel this was a trailblazing move in the direction that technology is headed.”

Domino’s also introduced a group ordering tool on-line that helps customers determine the number of pizzas needed for a large group, with recommendations for popular toppings.

“At a roughly $3 billion run rate on worldwide digital sales, we believe we are the global digital leader in our industry with an innovation-oriented mindset in everything we do,” Doyle said. “For us, technology is not an add-on or a nice-to-have. It's a core part of our global strategy and central to the great experience our customers have with Domino's.”

For the second quarter ended June 15, Domino’s had net income of $38,462,000 equal to 67 cents per diluted share on the common stock, up 15.6 percent from $33,270,000, or 57 cents per share, in the same quarter of the previous year.

Revenues climbed 8.8 percent to $450,463,000 from $414,009,000.

Same-store sales increased 5.4 percent at domestic stores and 7.7 percent at international units, excluding foreign currency impact.

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