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Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Domino's delivers its first pizza using a drone

Aerial pizza delivery may seem futuristic, but has today become a reality with the first pizza being delivered by drone.

Domino's Pizza and drone company Flirtey announced this year they had teamed up to deliver pizza through the unmanned aerial vehicle, and have this morning completed the first delivery - a Peri-Peri chicken pizza and a chicken and cranberry pizza - to Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland.

Domino's said the test was an important proof of concept and it would be making more delivery flights this week. It was planning to expand drone delivery next year.

Domino's Group chief executive and managing director Don Meij said the successful delivery followed a number of operational and product trials, including food temperature testing and co-ordinating with government.

DRU Drone by Flirtey making the first Domino's delivery. Photo/supplied
DRU Drone by Flirtey making the first Domino's delivery. Photo/supplied

"We invested in this partnership and technology, because we believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries, so even more customers can receive the freshest, hottest pizza we can offer," Meij said.

"Our partnership with Flirtey grew out of this drive to innovate. Their success within the airborne delivery space has been impressive and we're proud to have partnered with them on this," he said.

The delivery by drone was a world-first, according to Meij, who said Domino's expected high demand from customers when it started trials.

The benefits of delivery by drone included avoiding traffic and congestion, and limiting delivery time.

"We expect [drones] to be an essential addition to our delivery fleet," Meij said.

Flirtey director NZ Samantha Sharif and Domino's NZ GM Scott Bush. Photo/supplied
Flirtey director NZ Samantha Sharif and Domino's NZ GM Scott Bush. Photo/supplied

"This will actually create jobs. As we expand, we will look to hire additional team members whose roles will be focused on drone order loading and fleet management," he said.

"I am proud of this partnership that has not only delivered this momentous event, but is leading the world for this important technology. This is the future."

Research from Domino's showed 70 per cent of customers would use drone delivery if given the opportunity. New Zealand is its trial market but Domino's is also looking at trials in Australia, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

Flirtey chief executive Matt Sweeny said the company had been doing daily tests and making adjustments to ensure the delivery would be successful.

"Flirtey will work with Domino's to expand on today's success, and plan to extend the dimensions, weight and distance of the deliveries in the future based on results and customer feedback," Sweeny said.

Customers Emma and Johnny Norman sample the first drone delivered pizza. Photo/supplied
Customers Emma and Johnny Norman sample the first drone delivered pizza. Photo/supplied

"It is so exciting to work with Domino's and achieve this," he said. "The insights that Domino's can bring by being a world-class delivery company helps Flirtey to offer a world-class drone delivery service."

Amazon, Walmart and Google have all said they were planning a drone delivery service but regulations have so far hindered them.

- NZ Herald

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