When Domino’s launched its pizza business 58 years ago, ordering was simple. Customers could walk into their local restaurant, tell the staff their name and ask for ‘the usual’. The Domino’s ethos has always been about convenience for customers, and while the technological revolution has presented a huge learning curve, the pizza business continues to find ways to use new tech to recreate that original quick, easy and personal experience customers return for. In February 2018, Domino’s unseated long-time rival Pizza Hut as the leading global pizza chain – with worldwide retail sales exceeding US$12.2 billion last year.
Whether debuting technology firsts like its online pizza tracker and voice-ordering iPhone and Android apps or creating innovative new menu items to suit changing tastes and trends, Domino’s is dedicated to making great pizza and more in approximately 15,000 stores in 85 markets around the world. The business opened its first Asia–Pacific franchised outlet in Japan in 1985, and Domino’s restaurants are now operating in 15 countries throughout the region. Vice President of Domino’s Asia–Pacific, Steven Pizziol says Asia–Pacific has become the fastest-growing region for the company, and he’s seen significant growth in markets such as China, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
After 14 years of managing Blockbuster’s growing business throughout North, Central and South America » between 1992–2006, Steven joined Domino’s in 2007 and is now responsible for its business in the Asia–Pacific and India region, encompassing more than 3,500 stores with a combined revenue of approximately US$2.2 billion. “When I came to the region, we had just under 1,000 stores and we’re now approaching 4,000, so it’s been an incredible acceleration of growth,” he explains. “My favourite part of the job is visiting our people and our stores throughout Asia–Pacific and Japan – every day is different and I love it.”
Given the cultural and economic diversity of the Asia–Pacific region, Steven says this growth journey has not been without its challenges. “In the short-term, we’re dealing with rising wage rates and the competition of the new gig economy, but the ongoing challenge is to keep up with new technologies and changing customer preferences for clean and healthy food options,” he explains. “Overall, I’d say we are proactive and well positioned for all these changes to come. Domino’s is more than a pizza company; we’re also a very innovative and technologically focused brand.”
“That’s a tough one. I eat a lot of pizza, but my favourite is the Philly Cheese Steak Pizza. It’s topped with provolone cheese, sautéed beef, caramelised onions and green peppers – it’s absolutely delicious.”
As one of the first food outlets to offer home delivery, Domino’s continues to lead the industry despite increased competition. “We’ve been in this business for almost 60 years, and we’ve learned how to deliver food right, ensuring that it’s delivered quickly, safely, efficiently and at the right temperature and the right price,” he notes. “Our initial vision was to become number one in pizza by 2020 but because we achieved that early, we want to become the dominant number one by 2025 with 25,000 restaurants and a 25 per cent market share. In many regions around the world, we’re already number one, but we want to be a dominant number one. In Asia–Pacific, we’d like to see 7,500 new stores – which represents around a quarter of our goal. This year, we’ll be launching our first stores in Southern China and Bangladesh.”
Steven describes the Domino’s culture in two words: not normal. “Despite being a large global brand, we’re entrepreneurial and innovative by nature – we’re never satisfied with where we stand. Our team in Australia has led the world in technology breakthroughs like our first autonomous delivery vehicle, while New Zealand has tested our first drone deliveries,” he explains. “We’re also a company that promotes from within and even offers corporate opportunities for those who work hard.”
“My favourite part of the job is visiting our people and our stores throughout Asia–Pacific and Japan – every day is different and I love it.”
Responsible for almost 4,000 stores and tens of thousands of employees, Steven isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get involved at the ground level. “A good leader is one that can set the tone, set the direction and set the vision of the organisation,” he notes. “To do this, you have to know the day-to-day detail that’s involved in that execution and you have to empower your team to achieve their individual goals and the goals of the business as a whole. If you work hard and you enjoy what you do, you can provide a good life for your family and colleagues. That’s the ultimate success.”