Domino’s recently celebrated a major pizza milestone—the opening of their 9,999th store in San Diego, California—a location that features their brand new Chute Gerdeman-designed concept. A 10,000th store opening quickly followed across the globe in Istanbul making it clear this pizza pioneer, and two-time Pizza Today “Chain of the Year,” is not resting on its laurels.
“Everything started to come together in 2008, when we recognized the real need to change,” said Russell Weiner, Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We began to expand our menu, develop a whole new recipe for our pizza and come up with new, break-through ways to talk about our brand with consumers. We began to interact with customers in innovative ways through technology, mobile devices and social media.
“The next step in this process was to build the store of the future, featuring new store signage and a simple, visually striking logo—because we believe Domino’s has become an iconic global brand that is instantly recognizable,” Weiner continued.
To that end, front and center of the new restaurant is the “Pizza Theater,” which enables customers and passersby to watch the Domino’s pizza chefs custom-make each and every order. “Domino’s makes a great pizza,” says Lynn Rosenbaum, Chute Gerdeman’s Vice President, Environments, “and today’s customers appreciate the art of cooking. They want to see it happen.”
Previously, the service counter was perpendicular to the store entrance, leaving very little room for customers to wait or watch the activity behind the counter. The Chute Gerdeman team designed the counter to run length-wise so the Pizza Theater is right up front. “Now, the first thing customers see is the best thing Domino’s does…pizza-making,” Rosenbaum explained. “Before they even enter the store, they see a fun, entertaining and welcoming environment.”
Domino’s pick-up business has been increasing in recent years, now accounting for about 30% of its sales, according to Weiner. Just a few years ago, he said, 80% to 90% of the chain’s business was delivery. Since so many more costumers are opting for pick-up, “we want to be a place that people feel comfortable in,” said Mr. Weiner.
The open floor plan serves more than one purpose. In addition to watching the pizza chefs in action, there is now space for a dining room with comfortable seating, a chalkboard wall for writing “Pizza Proverbs” as well as comfortable seating and an electronic Pizza Tracker, so customers can monitor the progress of their order.
Chute Gerdeman designers also added new open refrigerated display cases that offer a number of “grab and go” items, from salads and mini dessert parfaits to milk and cookies.
The color palette pays homage to Domino’s red, white and blue brand colors, but has been enhanced with some warmer colors, including a fresh-baked ochre color called “Crust,” and a bold red used for accent walls.
More than a dozen of the new concept stores have been built throughout the U.S., from Las Vegas to Gulfport, Mississippi. All scored high in improved brand perception and likelihood to recommend. And all were met with great customer results.
Complementing the new store design is a new, single-tile logo—marking a significant change in the branding of the 52-year-old company.
“Through every step in the redesign process, Chute Gerdeman provided exceptional guidance and creativity,” Weiner added. “They clearly understand Domino’s, and have designed a store that provides a much richer experience for our customers.”