From its Early days to Creating a Strong “On-time Delivery” Recall, Domino’s Journey in India was a Case Study Screaming to be Documented. And we Did!

It seems a little like love when you see a half-starved teenager dive into the warm square-foot cartoon package, delivered-and-promised within half-an-hour. For Domino’s, the joy is mutual. 70% of all pizzas that are home-delivered in the country end up contributing to the coffers of this quick service restaurant (QSR). In fact, one out of every two (non-home made) pizzas that are consumed in any part of India, is a Domino’s-baked product. Numbers are enough to prove how dominant a force this brand has become in India. But here’s the real surprise: For Domino’s, the flight apparently is yet to begin.

Domino’s (in reality, Jubilant Foodworks; the company managing the show) considers the domestic market to be the most important in Asia. It’s rare that a US-based $1.57 billion-a-year sales generating multinational giant chooses to bet bigger on a country other than China. But this is true. Blame the company for being over-optimistic if you may, but what it is betting heavy on is the rising clan of middle-class and the youth segment which forms a large percentage of the Indian population. And considering the rising levels of conspicuous consumption and economic conditions, Domino’s is hoping its calculations are right. The Indian market is already amongst the top 10 contributors to Domino’s global topline. J. Patrick Doyle, Global President & CEO of Domino’s Pizza told 4PsB&M during his last visit to India, “By 2014, we expect India to be amongst the top five earners – and our plans to achieve this goal are in action with new launches.” With the QSR market in India growing at 25% and with 26,000 pizzas being sold per day in India (as per CII; FY2010), Doyle may be hitting the right spots in his forecasts.

To their credit, the present times represent a solid growth phase for Domino’s. A CAGR of 40% (which Domino’s has in India) in any market is considered obscenely high. And the fact that it is the market leader in India is even better news for the company. But victory for it has come at a price – more than a decade of toil. In fact, some talk about how Domino’s learnt the secrets to success in the Indian market the hard way, right from its very early days in India (when McDonald’s initially stole the show with its easy-on-the-pocket menu). Its first outlet was opened in January 1996, in New Delhi. Then, the concept of home delivery was still in its nascent stages in India. It wasn’t easy work for Domino’s to inculcate the home delivery concept in a market where eating out was only restricted to branded restaurants. But the company managed to put in place an integrated home delivery system never before seen in India.
Within the first year, the company also realised that it had to quickly change its Western offerings to suit Indian tastes if it was to succeed locally in the long run. Where KFC failed in its first go in Bangalore (and closed down at that time), Domino’s succeeded. It did so with the introduction of localised toppings like ‘Peppy Paneer’ and ‘Chicken Chettinad’. In fact, many even mocked at the company’s localised strategy, but Domino’s India knew that if it had to spread its wings beyond just the metros, into the mini-metros and tier II & III locations especially, it had to give in to local palates. It did so in good time. “Of course, during the initial years, like any other MNC, we too had teething problems. It took us time to understand the Indian market. But that situation lasted for just two years post-entry into the Indian market,” confessed Doyle to 4Ps B&M.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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