Domino’s then introduced a campaign adding variety to its $7.99 carryout deal to drive orders and ticket to a rapidly growing corner of its business—carryout—which is approaching 45 percent of total domestic orders, Allison said.
Lastly, the brand unveiled a 20 percent off late-night deal that represented the first time Domino’s has tried incremental value dedicated to the daypart (9 p.m. and later). The reason behind this is straightforward, too. Quick-serves typically generate a sizable amount of delivery sales late night, and that’s blown up in light of third-party expansion.
"We expect an eventful calendar in the coming quarters as Domino’s builds on the recent late-night promotion with the rollout of GPS driver tracking and likely menu innovation, all of which suggests a more aggressive posture to stabilize its delivery business," BTIG analyst Peter Saleh wrote in a Thursday note.
More on the “shakeout”
Allison said there’s clear evidence of instability. You see some pizza chains experiencing more difficultly as evidenced by closures, particularly due to higher labor cost markets. Domino’s runs at a very high volume on a per unit level. But as these costs rise, if you’re not doing so, Allison said, it just gets increasingly challenging to survive.
“It also gets more and more difficult to compete in a pizza delivery business if you’re not shrinking down the radius of your territory for delivery because that is the key—that wage rate is the key driver,” he said. “And you really have to improve over time the number of deliveries per driver, per hour that you can get.”
The current landscape is a pizza industry under pressure from labor costs that is also transitioning volume from dine-in to delivery without an increase in terms of overall growth in the restaurant industry. It’s left a lot of brands to trade orders from a more profitable to a less profitable channel while wage rates go up.
“So that is why when we talk about a shakeout to come, this is not an industry that starts with 40 percent profit margins typically,” he said. “There is not a lot of room for some of these players to cede margin to a third party on one end, while labor costs are going up on the other.”
Allison added that we still really don’t know how behavior will evolve for customers accessing third-party delivery. As the full cost, or at least some, is taken on by the guest, what will ultimately happen to their spending habits?
“We don’t know the answer to that yet,” Allison said. “But what we do know is, we know a whole lot about the elasticity of demand in the pizza category.”