For twelve years Andre ten Wolde was the highest boss of Domino’s Pizza in the Netherlands and Belgium. Last year he changed this position for that of Operational Director of Domino’s in Europe. We speak to him on one of the few days he is ‘at home’, in the Netherlands.
Domino’s has a strong focus on fast delivery. How important is this delivery time for the success of Domino’s?
“The quality of the pizza is and remains the most important thing, but the delivery time obviously has a lot of influence on this. Because the shorter the pizza is on the way, the tastier it stays. So our main concern is not so much that the customer gets the pizza at home very quickly, but rather that we deliver a tasty meal.”
Is there still time to be gained in the preparation of your pizzas?
“We could leave the preparation to a robot, as already happens in America. But we’d rather have the pizzas made by human hands. We could also opt for pre-formed pizza bases to speed up the preparation of pizzas. But the taste of fresh dough bottoms is simply better, so we don’t do that either. The way in which we prepare the pizzas is already very efficient, so there is no real gain in time. Moreover, faster production probably does not lead to a better product. Faster delivery does.”
How do you achieve those fast delivery times?
“By reducing the distance to the customer. In other words: by having many branches. That makes it possible to deliver quickly. Expanding the number of branches is and remains a spearhead for us.”
Doesn’t this focus on fast delivery endanger the safety of deliverers?
“Certainly not. We don’t ask them to go faster, but make sure they don’t have to go that far. What’s more, all our deliverers receive extensive training and all our delivery vehicles have GPS. This allows us to see not only where they are, but also whether they are speeding or braking suddenly.”
Finding and retaining delivery drivers is a challenge for many delivery restaurants. How does Domino’s deal with that?
“A good working atmosphere is more important for employees than one euro an hour more. In order to help managers create that good atmosphere, we offer them a training course, for example, that gives them tools to do so. In addition, we have a reward system that works well. The ability to grow is also important to keep it interesting for employees. The CEOs of Belgium, Germany and France, for example, all three of them once started out as deliverymen at Domino’s. They then became franchisees and have since become CEOs.”
You regularly organise family days. Who are they for?
“Family Days are fun days where family members of our young deliverymen can take a look behind the scenes. If they want, they can also deliver pizzas themselves. This way they can see what their child is doing and that it is safe and fun. That is very much appreciated and it speaks for itself. It’s one of the reasons why we get new deliverers pretty easily.”
Healthy food is increasingly important for people and yet Dominoes continue to grow. How is that possible?
“By responding to customer demand. For example, we have removed all artificial colourings, aromas and flavourings from our meals. The amount of salt and sugar has also been considerably reduced. Furthermore, the dough for the soil and our tomato sauce are one hundred percent vegan and therefore suitable for almost everyone. There is a wide choice of fresh toppings, with which we can meet all dietary requirements. There are also a number of gluten-free pizzas on the menu. Pizza is often eaten in groups. So it’s good to have ‘something for everyone’.
Lunch is becoming an important meal for more and more restaurants. Does that also apply to Dominoes?
“Lunch orders are indeed growing fast. For example, many establishments offer sandwiches and fruit smoothies before 5 o’clock in the afternoon. However, pizzas are still the most commonly ordered, even for lunch. In addition, orders increase later in the evening, especially in the big cities. For many people, that’s a snack moment.”
Dominoes have been experimenting with delivery robots for years. And in Australia, you already work with a pizzachecker to check the quality of the pizzas. What do you think the future of delivery meals looks like?
“As far as the delivery robots are concerned, it is certainly not the intention to replace delivery robots. But the delivery market is growing so fast that there simply won’t be enough deliverers to deliver all the meals. At the moment the legislation does not allow the use of delivery robots, but that is likely to change in the future. Furthermore, ordering via devices other than laptops or telephones will increase, for example via smartwatch, TV or the screen in your car. And: there is still a lot to be gained by making it easier to pay online. That still costs customers too much time at the moment.”
People can also order via your own platform. Why is Domino’s also on Thuisbezorgd.nl?
Because there is a large group of people who only order via Thuisbezorgd.nl. If we are missing there, we miss out on a lot of orders. For example, many people don’t immediately think of Domino’s when they want to order lunch. Until they scroll through the restaurant list and meet us there. Thuisbezorgd.nl is an important sales channel for us”.