Domino's Is Thriving Thanks to This Popular New Side Dish
Domino's may be one of of the world's most prominent pizza chains, but that doesn't mean it doesn't face its fair share of struggles. Over the past year, the company has contended with harsh customer backlash over price increases and struggled with an ongoing delivery driver shortage that negatively impacted sales and delivery times. It also missed expectations on same-store sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2022, temporarily sending its shares plummeting after the earnings report was announced.
But Domino's sales finally started to improve in the first quarter of 2023, and the company attributed part of that success to a savory new side dish: Loaded Tots.
Domino's debuted Loaded Tots in three flavors–Philly Cheese Steak, Cheddar Bacon, and Melty 3-Cheese–just before the Super Bowl in February. Domino's CEO Russell Weiner said in an earnings call this week that the company was "really pleased" with the Loaded Tots launch, noting that the products drive innovation at the brand and "fit nicely' into the Mix & Match Deal menu.
"Early signs point to Loaded Tots performing even better than our last two product launches Dips & Twists and the Chicken Taco and Cheeseburger specialty pizza," Weiner said.
Of course, the Loaded Tots weren't the sole reason for Domino's stronger performance in the quarter. Company executives also credited price increases for the improvements, which included a 3.6% increase in same-store sales in the United States compared to a 0.9% increase in the fourth quarter of 2022.
But innovation, both on the menu and in other sectors of the business, was also a major factor in the company's performance this last quarter, according to Weiner.
"As I reflect on the first quarter, I can't help but be encouraged by the resilience of our business model and the competitive advantage our franchisees and team members bring to Domino's Pizza," Weiner said in a statement. "We grew by doing what we said we were going to do: drive value and step up our pace of innovation."
Domino's customers can expect to see even more innovation moving forward. The company announced plans in 2022 to roll out 800 electric delivery vehicles at restaurants nationwide. It has now raised that commitment to over 1,000 electric vehicles "and counting," Weiner said during this week's earnings call.
Domino's also plans to revamp its loyalty program–which was designed more around delivery customers–to cater more to carryout customers.
"We're excited to add more value and rewards for everybody," Weiner said.