Domino’s plans to make customized e-bikes available to U.S. franchisees this year as a delivery-vehicle option, in part because of the labor benefits.
The bikes feature a small electronic motor that helps a rider get up hills or take a break from pedaling. In tests, the bikes proved a particular benefit in high-traffic situations, since they can scoot around long lines of cars, and in areas where parking is a problem.
The bikes can travel 25 to 40 miles between charges, depending on how much pedaling the rider chooses to do. The model that will be supplied to Domino’s under a deal with Rad Power Bikes, a leading manufacturer, will feature front and rear cargo areas that can hold up to 12 large pizzas, as well as drinks and other items from Domino’s menu. They have a cruising speed of up to 20 mph and are outfitted with lights for nighttime travel.
Photograph courtesy of Domino's Pizza
The cost of the devices was not revealed. Rad Power markets its vehicles to consumers for about $1,500 each.
"Domino's tested e-bikes in a number of corporate-owned stores across Houston, Miami and New York earlier this year, and those stores saw improvements in overall delivery and service," Tom Curtis, Domino's EVP of corporate operations, said in a statement.
He indicated that an unexpected benefit was the e-bike’s appeal to potential hires. “The [test] stores were able to hire from a wider pool of candidates, including those who might not have a car or driver's license,” said Curtis. “Plus, stores that were already delivering with traditional bikes saw improved team member satisfaction with e-bikes."
Consumers who ride e-bikes are not required to buy insurance, as car drivers are.
Domino’s noted that e-bikes aren’t widely used by domestic franchised units, but are common in overseas markets.
Similarly, the bikes have long been used by independent pizzerias and Chinese food restaurants in cities such as New York.
The franchisor said it intends to outfit company-run units in Miami, Salt Lake City, Baltimore and Houston with hundreds of the custom e-bikes later this year.