Domino's has long recognised that cars aren’t necessarily the quickest way to deliver pizzas. A 2019 trial revealed that the use of e-bikes resulted in quicker delivery times in many areas and the firm is now set to trial self-driving ‘delivery bots’.
The 2019 e-bike trial resulted in Rad Power providing Domino’s with fleets of bikes for deliveries in the US and similar deals have been struck in other territories.
"Domino's tested e-bikes in a number of corporate-owned stores across Houston, Miami and New York earlier this year, and those stores saw improvements in overall delivery and service," said Tom Curtis, Domino's executive vice president of corporate operations.
"They also experienced labour benefits, as the stores were able to hire from a wider pool of candidates, including those who might not have a car or driver's license. Plus, stores that were already delivering with traditional bikes saw improved team member satisfaction with e-bikes."
Rad Power has since been providing a version of its RadCity Step-Thru commuter e-bike featuring insulated soft-sided cargo areas that can hold up to 12 large pizzas in insulated bags.
In the Netherlands, Domino’s has used a version of Giant’s food Delivery-E+, while in Australia e-bikes have in some cities been supplemented by e-scooters.
Chain Store Age reports that Domino’s is now set to pilot autonomous delivery from one of its stores in Houston, Texas.
‘Select customers’ who order from the Woodland Heights branch will have their pizza brought to them by an electric Nuro R2 robot.
The Nuro R2 is 2.74 metres long and 1.10 metres wide. It can travel at up to 25mph and is fitted with a 31 kWh battery.
When the R2 arrives, customers enter a PIN on its touch screen to open its doors.
“This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries; how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief innovation officer. “We look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino’s existing delivery experts to better support the customers’ needs.”