No address? Domino’s can still bring you pizza
Chain sets up 150,000 ‘hotspots’ for delivery
Craving pizza and have no address? No problem.
In a twist to the emerging “delivery economy,” Domino’s Pizza will accept orders to 150,000 designated places across the U.S. on Monday that don’t have traditional street addresses, whether they are parks, beaches or landmarks, such as statues or St. Louis’ Gateway Arch.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain has created a network it calls “hotspots,” which enables hungry customers to get their prepaid online orders anywhere from the Las Vegas Strip’s iconic welcome sign to the statue of “godfather of soul” James Brown in Augusta, Ga., by using their smartphones to select a predetermined delivery spot closest to their beach chair.
The development represents a leap in an industry that pioneered home delivery long before Amazon, Walmart, Target and restaurant chains decided their futures depended on it. Now, as retailers and restaurant competitors try to figure out how to profit from delivering goods straight to peoples’ doors, a pizza company is taking it to the next level.
“This is a really big delivery innovation,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief digital officer. “It’s not necessarily a brand-new technology. It’s the application of technology in a new way.”
Making address-less delivery a reality was the confluence of two trends, he explained. A growing number of people are ordering all types of food online — at Domino’s, for example, it’s now up to 60% — and smartphones have become universal. The plan takes advantage of smartphones’ navigation and mapping abilities.
When the food is en route, customers get a text message telling them to head to the drop-off spot and keep watch for the traditional marked Domino’s delivery car. When customers initially place their digital orders, they have the option of adding self-descriptors, like what they’re wearing, so drivers can identify them easily.
“Every person at the company has at some point wanted to get pizza delivered to somewhere where they couldn’t,” Maloney said.
Other Domino’s hotspots include points within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., home to the Smithsonian Institution museums and Washington Monument; and the Atlantic City boardwalk. Every state has at least one.
There are some places that aren’t included. Maloney, for instance, said he didn’t think any homeless encampments are on the list.
Domino’s began testing hotspots in the Miami area in the fall, according to Maloney. Along the region’s namesake beach, for example, there was one about every quarter-mile.
Experts say the move represents an innovation.
“It’s the holy grail of everything they’d like to do in the context of delivery,” said Tim Bajarin, president of the San Jose tech consulting and research firm Creative Strategies. “You, as a customer, are no longer glued to an office or a home.”
But, he said, “hotspots” could pose problems, such as parking at busy intersections or congested stadiums.
Domino’s has created a network of delivery hotspots.