by George Nott

Domino’s track you to the ‘cook zone’ on way to pick up pizza

Jun 09, 2016
Big DataBusiness IntelligenceRetail Industry

Domino’s will track customers on their way to stores, so orders are hot and fresh when picked-up.

From next week across Australia, the pizza chain will use customer GPS and mode of travel data to calculate the optimum time to start making their order.

Once a customer has entered a virtual ‘cook zone’ – a changeable distance based on the store’s live lead time – the pizza making process will begin.

“When you place a pick-up order, we actually don’t know when you’re going to come into the store,” said Domino’s CEO Don Meij at the company’s innovation unveiling event in Sydney.

“From the moment something is created and cooked to our opportunity to actually eat that food, time reduces quality. We will now start tracking you while you’re tracking us. We will only make your pizza when you get into our cook zone. We will try to align that pizza to you.”

More than a half of Domino’s orders in Australia are made for customer collection. Referred to internally as GPS Customer Tracking, the new feature will be optional and marketed as ‘On Time Cooking’.

“If you’re on a desktop and or you don’t want your location tracked, you just want us to know where you’re leaving from, we’ve got algorithms then that will take control,” said group chief digital officer Michael Gillespie.

“We’ll start cooking it when we believe [a customer to] be four minutes away. So we can track them or we have algorithms that will work out when they’ll be coming to the store if they don’t want to be tracked.”

Gillespie noted that the data would only be used in relation to the ‘On Time Cooking’ experience and only held for the duration of that experience.

The company unveiled a new app – Zero Click Ordering – that when opened would order your favourite pizza, unless you cancelled the order within ten seconds.

The addition of estimated delivery time to the Live Pizza Tracker, better targeted in-app coupons, and operational efficiencies to cut order to door times were also announced at the event, which included a meet and greet with DRU, Domino’s pizza delivery robot which is expected to launch in New Zealand within a year.

The company said DRU, which was announced in March, embodied a “bigger, more holistic Artificial Intelligence role at the company”. Customers’ first experience with DRU would be through the addition of voice AI to online ordering platforms.

A similar virtual voice ordering assistant called Dom was released on the Domino’s app in the US in 2014.

Meij said globally, technology innovations made by the company weren’t necessarily easily shared.

“A lot of this knowledge and technology [developed in Australia] is being adapted by our peers around the world,” he said. “We share a lot of learning, we don’t necessarily share the platforms. So you might say – why don’t you just plug and play Dom? Well you couldn’t plug and play Dom. As much as he’s amazing, we had to create our own.”

Nevertheless, he said the Australian team had developed customer-facing digital technologies, such as the driver tracker, that are now in use in Belgium, France, New Zealand, The Netherlands and would be adopted soon in Japan and Germany.