Domino's Pizza announced the opening of its 9,000th store. To celebrate, the company conducted symbolic opening events at two stores, the first in New Delhi, India's thriving capital city, and the second in New Orleans, in a neighborhood rebuilding itself after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Founded in 1960 and marking its 50th year in business, Domino's Pizza is the second largest pizza chain in the world and the largest focused on delivery of its products. The company marked the opening of its 8,000th store in 2006 in similar fashion, with symbolic openings in Chicago and in Panama City, Panama.
"For half a century, Domino's Pizza has been able to grow and thrive thanks to the dedication and efforts of franchisees and team members the world over, as demonstrated by our franchisees in India and Louisiana," says Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle. "These are two of the largest and best franchise organizations in our system, and it's appropriate that they are sharing in this distinction.
"Opening our 9,000th store is a great milestone," Doyle says, "and we're looking toward one of the goals we set some time ago: We want to clip the ribbon on our 10,000th store within the first half of this decade. We are looking forward to making that happen."
Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd, the master franchisee for Domino's Pizza in India, marked a milestone of its own: The new store is the company's 300th in that country. Doyle, along with executive vice president of Domino's Pizza International Michael Lawton and executive vice president of Communication & Investor Relations Lynn Liddle, joined master franchisee Hari Bhartia and Jubilant FoodWorks president Ajay Kaul and others at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a press conference and the donation of products to feed 4,500 underprivileged children in the local community of Pitampura, a residential neighborhood in north New Delhi.
Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd is Domino's fastest-growing franchise, with plans to open 65 stores by the end of its fiscal year ending March 31. Domino's Pizza in 2009 was also named as one of the best employers in India.
"Today is a historical moment for Domino's Pizza India," says Hari Bhartia, co-chairman of Jubilant FoodWorks. "We started our journey in India in 1996 with the opening of our first store in Delhi. With the opening of 300th store, we have come a long way in this fulfilling journey creating new milestones and benchmarks for ourselves and for the rest of [the quick-service] industry to follow. We have pioneered organized [quick service] and pizza retail in India. We also introduced and built the concept of home delivery in India. But we believe this is still the beginning as the Indian market has a very large potential."
Meanwhile, more than 8,300 miles away from Pitampura, Domino's largest U.S. franchisee, RPM Pizza LLC, will be opening its 135th store, this one in New Orleans on Chef Menteur Highway, one of the areas decimated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The new free-standing store will be "hurricane ready" with generators, an extra-large cooler, and the ability to reopen quickly to serve citizens of the community, as the franchise did in several areas throughout Louisiana and Mississippi five years ago.
"Our franchise is closing in on its 30th anniversary and we have remained committed to being there when our communities need it most," says Glenn Mueller, president of RPM Pizza LLC. "We've always sought to have ours be the last restaurants to close and the first to open in times of great need. Opening a new store in this neighborhood is one more step toward rebuilding this great city. Domino's Pizza was the first chain to offer pizza delivery service and now Domino's is the first to service all areas of metro New Orleans."
Mueller noted that RPM Pizza LLC plans to hire nearly 100 additional team members throughout the New Orleans area.
Domino's executive vice presidents Scott Hinshaw and Jim Stansik joined Glenn Mueller and others at RPM Pizza LLC, including franchise founder Richard Mueller Jr., at the ceremony, which featured two $9,000 donations: one to the Friends of the New Orleans Recreation Department to help rebuild parks and playgrounds, and one to Habitat for Humanity. The franchise also gave away 9,000 pizza slices and 9,000 cans of Coca-Cola products to customers visiting the store during the event.