Technology

Domino's takes on the drive-thru with Apple CarPlay

The pizza delivery chain, which has been targeting traditional fast-food restaurants more aggressively of late, now has an app that will let you order from the car.
Domino's Apple CarPlay
Domino's on Monday said its app functions with Apple's CarPlay. / Image courtesy of Domino's.

Domino’s is increasingly taking on the fast-food drive-thru and it hopes a little technology can help with that.

The pizza delivery chain, which has been getting more of its sales from carryout as delivery has lagged, on Monday introduced an app for Apple CarPlay that will enable more customers to order directly from their cars.

The idea is to give people a convenient ordering option while driving that isn’t a traditional drive-thru. The app gives customers two ordering options: “tap to order,” which lets customers make orders they have saved in the system, or “call to order,” which lets them call a customer service representative.

The company is one of the first restaurant chains to come out with an app on Apple’s CarPlay service and is the first pizza chain to do so. “Domino’s has been known as the industry leader when it comes to pizza and technology, and we’re constantly striving to continue to provide the best experience to customers,” Domino’s Chief Digital Officer Christopher Thomas-Moore said in a statement.

Domino’s has been arguing for a time that its carryout business is making it more competitive with quick-service drive-thrus for business from busy Americans looking for an easy meal they can pick up on their way home.

Carryout was a growing part of Domino’s business before the pandemic and represented about a third of the chain’s sales in 2019.

The pandemic shifted much of that to delivery, but as the pandemic has faded and consumers returned to more normal activities, that business has returned, and then some. With consumers fretting about the economy, many of them shifted from more expensive delivery to less expensive carryout.

Carryout now represents 40% of the company’s business. The company has some drive-thru windows but also created its curbside service during the pandemic to get more of those customers. It now believes its Apple Carplay app takes that effort even further.

“We know how frustrating it can be to wait in a drive-thru line just to place an order,” Thomas-Moore said. “Domino’s app on CarPlay is a great alternative to that, as customers still have the convenience of staying in their car and can place an order from wherever they are, without waiting in a long drive-thru.”

Domino’s system sales rose just 1.3% in 2022, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic, due largely to a decline in demand for its delivered pizzas. The company has been focused on its carryout business, where orders are typically smaller but more profitable because they don’t require a delivery driver.

The company had spent much of the past decade adding new technology capabilities, particularly its “Anywhere” ordering platform that enables customers to order via Apple Watch or even by texting a pizza emoji. Customers can get the CarPlay app by downloading the company’s iPhone app where they log in and save an “Easy Order.” Customers then select the Domino’s app on CarPlay.

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