The Domino Effect

Pizza remains a favourite fast food and with Taste Holdings bringing international giant Domino’s Pizza to South Africa and providing strong infrastructure.


The Domino Effect

Whether it’s thin, hand-tossed or deep pan bases covered with melted cheese, tomato, tasty meats and bright, fresh vegetables and herbs, it’s not hard to understand why pizza is such a favourite and one of the fastest growing categories in South African fast food market.

Add to it the, affordability and convenience, and you’ve got a product that is in constant demand and a highly competitive market.

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When choosing a franchised pizza brand to invest in, Domino’s Pizza’s managing executive Roz Sandham explains why it comes out tops as an investment.

What is the history of Domino’s Pizza in the international market?

It’s a very established and successful international brand. It opened its doors back in the 1960s in the US and today has more than 11 000 franchised (96%) and corporate-owned stores in 70 countries, making it the largest pizza delivery chain in the world.

While the bulk of these stores are in the US, the sheer number of outlets is a testament to the product and brand’s success, as well as its ability to set the precedent with best practice, operations and systems in each of its stores around the world.

What sets Domino’s Pizza apart from other brands from a franchise perspective?

You’re part of a global system of a big international brand that’s had time and practice in mastering every aspect of the business from systems and operations, marketing, in-store and online IT infrastructure and so on. And although they’re an international brand, it’s highly accessible for support in local markets.

Here in South Africa, for example, Domino’s Pizza International has a dedicated resource to assist us in the conversion of existing stores and roll out of new ones. It’s support for territories outside the US is the reason it’s growing more rapidly outside the US than inside it.

It’s a really strong system with support to make you successful. If you follow the Domino’s Pizza way, then it’s really hard to mess up.

But is there room for another pizza brand in the eyes of South African consumers?

Yes absolutely, and especially so for Domino’s Pizza. It’s a competitive market, but the affordability and quality of Domino’s Pizza puts it in its own league.

The simplest way to explain it is to say “you just have to try it to taste the difference,” but the longer explanation is that as an international brand it’s got extremely high quality standards, and the level of best practice means it’s such an efficient operation that focus can stay on producing and delivering the best quality product.

What makes Domino’s Pizzas unique?Roz-Sandham

Domino’s Pizza bases are fresh, never frozen, and are delivered to our franchisees twice a week. To make this happen, Domino’s Pizza International came out to South Africa and assisted Taste Holdings with building a dough manufacturing plant that meets it’s exacting criteria and standards.

We also control all toppings, sauces and sides, which means every single pizza you order and every store that you visit maintains a consistently high quality standard. This has the added benefit of economies of scale that reflect in franchisees’ profits.

Our in-store systems are also high tech. Everything is timed from beginning to end and recorded on the system so you can always see where something is and how long it’s taken. This allows you to observe the whole system for margins of error and to address challenges so you can meet customer expectations.

A successful international brand also needs to be flexible to the local market in order to gain traction and develop a loyal following. When coming to the South African market, Domino’s Pizza tailored some flavours to meet the local market’s tastes.

In the US for example, pepperoni is the most popular topping, whereas here we’ve created a pizza with BBQ rib meat, smoked bacon and honey mustard sauce which is only served in South Africa. Peppadew is another uniquely South African ingredient added to our pizzas.

What does Taste Holdings bring to the table for new franchisees?

Again there’s the link to a huge international brand for leveraging best practice, but Taste Holdings in its own right has been in the QSR and restaurant industry for 15 years counting Scooters, St Elmo’s, Fish &Chip Co, Maxi’s and Zebros as brands in its stable.

The Taste Holdings head office team are all highly experienced and experts in their field. If you’ve got a problem in finance, marketing, legal, motivation, operations, anything you can think of, we’ve got someone who can help you directly with that. Our training team alone has 36 staff, so we’ve got the intellectual and infrastructure resources to make every one of our franchisees well-rounded and successful operators.

How have you managed change with converting your existing Scooters and St Elmo’s franchisees to Domino’s Pizza?

It’s been a very exciting and busy time for us. We launched the first Domino’s Pizza store in November 2014, and we’ve already converted 41 stores. Based on our conversion schedule, by the end of the year we’re looking to have around 100 stores operating as Domino’s Pizza and we believe there’s market capacity for 300 outlets and annual sales of R1 billion.

Our existing franchisees are very excited about converting because they understand the business opportunity that comes with operating an internationally recognised and successful brand. In the QSR industry, franchisees are required to rebrand every five to seven years, so in this case they haven’t just rebranded, they’ve gained a whole different brand.

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What kind of training is offered to new franchisees?

Our existing franchisees are going through the same training process as new franchisees and it’s great seeing them come alive with enthusiasm and motivation by learning something new. All Domino’s Pizza franchisees go through the five-week comprehensive training programme to learn operations and culture.

Then two weeks before opening a store staff are intensively trained on all the products and procedures – even the drivers. From there, a trainer is allocated to the store and remains there for a further three weeks after opening to ensure franchisees are on their feet.

To learn more about Domino’s Pizza South Africa and Taste Holdings, visit www.dominos.co.za and www.tasteholdings.co.za.

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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