Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Domino's opens 100th store, plans 100 more

Pizza franchisee says there is room to double its takeaway outlets in New Zealand.

Pizza franchise Domino's seems to have found the recipe for success, opening its 100th store and is planning another 100 in the next five years.

The company opened its first New Zealand store in Johnsonville 13 years ago this week, and has since expanded across the country, increasing its store number by 15 per cent in the past 18 months alone.

Its 100th store was opened yesterday in Meadowbank with Domino's Pizza Enterprises group chief executive Don Meij saying the company was looking to hit 200.

"People say, how many pizza shops can you have, but actually when you compare us to hamburgers, fried chicken and sandwiches we're still really underpenetrated compared to what the demand is," Meij said.

"We're opening stores a lot bigger than we would have dreamed even five years ago so the pent-up demand is there.

"New Zealand would be the second or third most penetrated Domino's market in the world per person, and we absolutely still have the capacity to do another 100.

We already have another four under construction."

The ASX-listed company holds the master franchise rights for the Domino's brand in Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

The company says it is the largest franchisee for the Domino's pizza brand in the world.

Domino's has invested heavily in revamping older stores and launching new technology.

This includes its GPS driver tracking technology, improved online ordering systems and its driverless pizza delivery robot. Meij says the success is down to putting the customer first, above company margins.

"A lot of companies innovate to profit -- they look at how they can make a little bit more or just put a little less on -- our business doesn't think like that.

"We look at every customer as an individual rather than a cluster."

Meij said New Zealand was the sauciest market he had come across, with Kiwis preferring sauce on both the bottom and top of their pizza and often with extra flavours. That and a love of potatoes, with the Domino's wedges and Mister Wedge pizza selling well.

Meij has certainly seen a lot of the pizza industry -- starting out 29 years ago as a pizza delivery driver for two years in Queensland while at University, he then made his way up the ranks until he became a franchise owner, building his store count to 17 before using this to buy into the Domino's business.

He has been one of the major shareholders since.

This doesn't seem to have dampened his enthusiasm for pizza, admitting that while spending almost eight months of the year travelling, he usually eats pizza on the road.

- NZ Herald

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