Domino’s emerged as the clear 2015 winner of the ever-fierce pizza wars, posting a 12 percent jump in sales for U.S. restaurants open at least a year.
In comparison, archrival Papa John’s reported a 2015 same-restaurant sales gain of 4.2 percent for North America, and Pizza Hut generated an increase in U.S. restaurants of 1 percent.
The Big Three are pursuing decidedly different strategies in their efforts to steal market share from one another. Domino’s has embraced alternative ways for consumers to order a pie, streamlining the process to the point that texting a pizza emoji is all a delivery customer need do. Patrons can also place an order through the Apple Watch, Amazon’s Echo virtual-concierge system, Twitter or even some cars’ onboard navigation systems.
It is currently experimenting with specially outfitted electric delivery vehicles.
Papa John’s announced last year that it would pursue a clean-label strategy, eliminating additives from its pies and boasting that it uses better ingredients overall than competitors do. It continued to pursue that strategy this year, recently promoting a menu R&D specialist to the position of chief ingredient officer.
Pizza Hut’s parent company indicated last fall that the chain would emphasize convenience rather than product quality as it attempts to keep up with Domino’s. But its marketing efforts since then have pivoted on deals, like a limited-time offer of a $5 pizza, and publicity ploys, like the giveaway of a pizza garnished with $100 in edible gold flakes.