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Domino’s follows McD to deliver a futuristic dine-in experience



Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL), which operates Domino’s Pizza chain in India, has started opening quick-service restaurants (QSR) that are on the lines of the ‘Experience Of The Future’ (EOTF) stores operated by Hardcastle Restaurants, the master franchisee for McDonald’s / McCafe QSRs in West and South India.

The pizza chain plans to enhance the dine-in experience and cater to the changing needs/ preferences of customers patronising its QSRs.

The management of the pizza chain did not respond to DNA Money on queries over the move. However, in a recent earnings call, Hari Bhartia, co-chairman, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL), said that the new store design being introduced in the June quarter is receiving tremendous response from customers.

“We have begun to roll out this new Domino’s store design in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. And nine out of our 26 new Domino’s stores being added in the June 2019 quarter are based on this contemporary design. We have also introduced digital kiosks to improve customer experience in ordering,” said Bhartia.

According to Bhartia, the use of technology, automation, digitisation, to improve efficiency, customer experience and agility continues to be a strong focus across all functions in the company’s business. For the first quarter of FY’20, JFL opened 26 new Domino’s restaurants and closed four, taking restaurant count to 1,249 stores across 276 cities. The company also entered three new markets – Neemrana, Motihaari and Bilimora in the June quarter.

Using technology by way of installing self-ordering kiosks and digital menu displays among others was kick-started in 2017 by Hardcastle Restaurants, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westlife Development Ltd. Amit Jatia, vice-chairman, WDL, had said earlier told DNA that its EOTF stores will set a new trend in the Indian QSR space for others to follow. The operator of 300 McDonald’s outlets had launched its first EOTF store back in March 2017 and currently operates 30 such futuristic outlets with plans to have 115 EOTF stores by 2022.

JFL is making considerable investments in strengthening its own digital assets, delivery experience and improving dine-in revenue stream, strengthening/ building the brand and innovation. “Apart from having significantly improved interiors and better ambience, the one additional investment we are making is in putting in technology in the store, whether it is a self-ordering kiosk or whether it is digital screens. There is a small delta cost (of 10% over the earlier store set up cost) which comes on account of these tech investments in store,” said JFL’s CEO Pratik Pota.

The management of Jubilant FoodWorks had earlier given guidance of opening 100 Domino’s Pizza stores in this fiscal. As consumption slowdown has started showing up in the same-store sales growth of QSR chains there are concerns in the analyst community about a possible slowdown in the store addition numbers by the QSR players. However, the JFL management has shrugged off the worries and is confident of meeting the targeted number.

“All the data that we are seeing as of now, there is no reason for us to revisit that number. We remain on track for delivering that 100 number. But this is a dynamic business, we look at it every month, and we will be open to looking at revised numbers, both upside and downside. I mean, it’s not a number that we are married to, but the data that we are seeing right now, all the numbers tell us that that number is absolutely doable,” said Pota.

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