- Domino's Pizza is piloting AI technology that scans each pizza to ensure it measures up to its quality standards for the perfect pizza at its Australian and New Zealand locations, the company announced this week.
- The chain partnered with restaurant technology firm Dragontail Systems to create the AI, called the DOM Pizza Checker, which aims to reduce the number of customer complaints Domino's receives regarding pizza quality or order integrity. The scanner measures a number of variables against a data set reflecting the ideal pie, including type, toppings, topping distribution, size and other metrics.
- "Later this year we will be releasing even more features, including the ability to provide customers with a real-time image of their pizza on the cut bench," Domino's Australia CEO Nick Knight told Nation's Restaurant News. "As part of this process, they will also be notified if their pizza has failed our strong quality testing, resulting in a remake."
In a market crowded with competitive pizza chains, Domino's is focusing on quality control to help it win new customers and deepen loyalty. It's unclear what happens when a pizza "fails" and needs to be remade, however. If the chain is throwing away sub-par pies, this could anger increasingly eco-conscious consumers.
The more interesting aspect of this technology, however, is Domino's plan to eventually update it so customers can watch their pizzas as they are being assembled in real time. Diners will also be notified if their pizza has failed inspection and needs to be remade. This planned feature delivers on consumer demand for transparency and eating experiences, though it will be interesting to see how many diners actually tune in to watch their pizza being cooked, or if they would prefer to have an imperfect pie faster than waiting for a pizza that meets Domino's standards.
Our #1 customer complaint is “My pizza doesn’t look like it should!". So, we introduced DOM Pizza Checker - world-first technology which is set to drastically improve product quality and consistency throughout all Domino’s stores in Australia and New Zealand! pic.twitter.com/Ve4WUizTuC— Domino's Australia (@Dominos_AU) May 26, 2019
The novelty of this technology alone, however, could lure diners who want to see what the process is like. But it's important for chains to ensure that their tech-based offerings are actually making the experience easier and more engaging instead of gimmicky. Consumers will see right through flashy bells and whistles, and it could send them seeking pizza elsewhere if the process doesn't deliver on its promises.
Domino’s said it’s testing the technology at one of it's master franchisee’s stores in Australia and New Zealand, so there is still time for it to tweak the technology or to determine whether it’s a good fit for the chain.
If it's successful, the the tech will be another feather in Domino's cap. The chain has long been a leader in experimenting with new concepts and gadgets, recently partnered with Xevo to create in-car ordering technology that allows customers to track their orders. The company set a goal of hitting $25 billion in sales by 2025, so making it easier for customers to place an order while they wait in traffic or drive home from work could help propel them there faster.
It's not alone in the technology race, however, as plenty of other pizza joints are investing in solutions of their own. Pieology has drones that help deliver pizzas in Connecticut, Pizza Hut is dabbling in delivery robots through a partnership with FedEx, and is also experimenting with a prototype of a pickup truck that features a pizza-making robot. Papa John's is partnering with Apple Pay and Google Pay and offers seamless ordering through Amazon Alexa as well as Apple TV. If Domino's scales its AI scan across the company and brings it to the U.S., it could spur rivals to develop similar capabilities.