More stellar results from Domino’s: the pizza delivery chain said today that like-for-like sales were up 15% in the first six weeks of the year, as more and more credit-crunched customers opted to stay in for their occasional culinary ‘treats’. After profits jumped 25% last year to £23m, Domino’s is now in expansion mode – it intends to hire about 1,500 people this year, as part of a plan to open at least 50 new outlets. And with the average order creeping up, it may also try to persuade busy execs to order Domino’s next time they’re having a working lunch…
It’s long been evident that Domino’s would be a big winner in the downturn, as cash-strapped punters steer clear of dining out but can’t quite face the prospect of actually cooking for themselves (as KFC also proved yesterday). Domino’s CEO Chris Moore said today that the average spend per order had enjoyed ‘a big increase’ to just under £18, suggesting that it’s attracting more affluent customers who are willing to shell out the kind of sums they’d normally spend in a restaurant. He also says that its core market is expanding as its original customer base grows up and the longer working week produces more ‘cash-rich, time-poor consumers’.
But Domino’s has been working hard to hammer home its advantage. It increased its advertising spend by £3m to £18m, including its high-profile sponsorship of Britain’s Got Talent. It’s refitting its stores ‘to increase the theatre of the pizza maker’. And it’s added an extra 52 UK outlets (it now has 553, and wants to get this to 1,000 in the next decade). As a result, apparently one-third of the 2.7m households that ordered its pizzas last year were first-timers. That’s a lot of new converts to the charms of the Mighty Meaty et al – good news for Domino’s, if not for obesity campaigners…
According to the Guardian, next up for Domino’s is a crack at the corporate market. Moore told the paper that the chain had recently opened stores in business districts in both London and Manchester, and was considering a tie-up with restaurant booking service Top Table. So instead of dining on delicate finger food and sushi, City high-flyers could spend their business lunches scrapping over the last slice of Pepperoni Passion in 2009...
In today's bulletin:
Inflation tumbles closer to zero
Darling provides a home for stricken bankers
Domino's Pizza targets working lunches after latest sales boost
Why a bad interview could be costly
Do It Right: Top tips for advertising in a recession