- Domino's Pizza added a "dinner bell" feature to its mobile app that customers can use to notify friends, family and colleagues that food has arrived. The app lets customers form groups of people who will receive a notice on their smartphones when the pizza has been ordered. The app rings again automatically when the order is out for delivery, according to a press release.
- The dinner bell feature is available on the most recent version of the Domino's app. Customers must set up a Pizza Profile that asks for their name, phone number and email address. After logging in, customers can invite friends and family to join their dinner bell group.
- Domino's generates more than 60% of U.S. sales from digital channels, including Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo devices, Twitter and text messages using a pizza emoji.
Domino's dinner bell is the latest mobile innovation from a company that's embraced a variety of mobile technologies in the past decade. As phone ordering has evolved alongside advancements in smartphones, Domino's has worked to become an e-commerce company that happens to sell pizza, especially as millennials are more likely to order food for delivery instead of dining in a restaurant. While Domino's is using the new feature to urge more people to download its mobile app, it remains to be seen whether the novelty of a virtual dinner bell will actually increase downloads and continued usage.
The dinner bell isn't Domino's most compelling mobile feature, however. The company also has expanded its Hotspots delivery service, which lets customers order pizza from places without a traditional address, such as a beach, park or sports field, to more than 200,000 locations. The pizza chain launched the program in April with 150,000 hotspots and later asked for customer suggestions for more locations, marketing the program directly to consumers with a lighthearted commercial and its first ad in The New York Times. The company also tested Snapchat's shoppable AR feature and upgraded its phone ordering system with a voice recognition feature powered by artificial intelligence to automate pizza orders.
As peak pizza-buying activity gets under way with the National Football League's regular season, other pizza chains have ramped up their promotions to remain top of mind among mobile-savvy consumers. For its first national campaign as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, Pizza Hut introduced Game Plan, a new digital platform that lets customers get deals, receive notices about their favorite teams and enter to win football-themed prizes. NFL viewership has ticked upward this year after two seasons of declines, which may align with higher pizza sales. Last year, the former CEO of Papa John's blamed the ratings slump for softer sales.