First Domino’s Pizza outlet opens in SA

The first Domino’s Pizza restaurant in South Africa has been opened by Taste Holdings. The new store is in Rivonia Junction, Sandton, and by the end of this week, there will be a further three outlets: one in Durban and two in Cape Town. These corporate stores and, together with another two outlets to be opened by end-November, will serve as training facilities for Scooters Pizza and St Elmo’s Woodfired Pizza franchisees ready to convert to Domino’s Pizza.

Jay Currie, CEO of Taste Holdings Food Division, says the pizza market in South Africa is ranked third in the quick service restaurant and fast food segment of the market, behind chicken and burgers, and growing at a steady 6% to 7% per year. There are around 1000 pizza delivery systems currently operating plus around 400 to 500 independent restaurants. Total value of the local pizza market is estimated at R5-billion annually.

Domino’s Pizza and Taste Holdings have been in talks for over a decade, deciding how best to bring the brand into South Africa. The decision to take on the 30-year master licence agreement for South Africa and the other neighbouring countries in which Taste Holdings’ pizza division has a presence was taken earlier this year. This includes Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, with Zambia and Malawi to follow pending the fulfilment of certain conditions. (Domino’s presence in the rest of Africa is the responsibility of three separate master licence agreement holders, in East, West and North Africa.)

Domino’s Pizza is considered the world’s leading pizza delivery chain in both store numbers and unit sales, with more than 10 800 outlets in approximately 70 countries. Initially half of the raw materials required to make the pizzas, plus some of the equipment, will be imported from suppliers that meet Domino’s strict brand standards, but soon Taste Holdings’ food services division, Buon Gusto, will take responsibility for sourcing and distributing the ingredients locally.

Some 23 staff have already spent time in the US training in the stringent Domino’s way of producing and serving pizza and how to effectively bring the Domino’s brand culture into South Africa.

A key component of the Domino’s brand is a central kitchen producing the dough, using a secret recipe, and supplying fresh dough balls to the stores. This will remove the inconsistencies and additional workload for restaurant staff inherent in producing pizza dough in-store.

Another signature feature of Domino’s is its use of advanced technology, and next year will see the launch of its digital ordering and payment system (PC and mobile) in South Africa. Added to this is the 30-minute delivery time, plus the promise that no matter what happens, “We’ll fix it” approach to achieving maximum customer satisfaction.

Conversions of existing Scooters Pizza and St Elmo’s Wood-fired Pizza restaurants will start next year February when the supply chain is fully up and running and a much larger central kitchen to produces the dough balls opened in Midrand.

Some 150 outlets are expected to convert initially and more coming on stream in time. Cost of conversion is between R600 000 and R1-million, depending on the size of the outlet and when the change-over is done. Taste has committed to making this as easy as possible for franchisees, both in terms of financial costs and training services provided.

Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Taste Holdings, says: “We are excited to be able to share the news that South Africans will very shortly have the opportunity to taste the world renowned Domino’s Pizza for themselves. We have no doubt that the brand’s introduction will also afford even greater business opportunities for both existing and potential business owners who are looking to make a mark in the fast food franchising market.

“Following the announcement of our master licence earlier in the year, we have been working fervently to ensure the Domino’s Pizza experience in South Africa will exceed the expectations of those who have tried it abroad. We want to ensure that not only do we offer consumers the legendary taste that makes Domino’s Pizza so successful, but that the brand also attains some South African flavour to keep it relevant for the local market. While we will be introducing authentic American-styled pepperoni to the market, we have also kept a few local pizzas on the menu to keep our South African pizza connoisseurs happy.

“Domino’s Pizza is the leader in a number of its markets. We intend to not only meet but exceed the standards of the brand in our own local market to ensure its legacy is strengthened even more in our country. It is our goal to ensure that South Africa is one of the top Domino’s Pizza markets very soon,” concludes Gonzaga.

Pizzas are available in a range of flavours as well as a “build your own” offering. Bases include thin hand-tossed, hand-tossed and fresh pan (made using secret dough recipe infused with butter chips for extra indulgence). Sizes are small: 19cm; medium: 23cm; large: 30cm; and extra large: 35cm. A variety of sides are available including dessert items, plus a range of seven sauces in which to dip pizza crusts and sides. Prices for pizzas range from R20.90 to R159.90.

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