Domino's to use Amazon's Echo for voice ordering pizzas
Domino's Pizza has signed an agreement with Amazon Echo allowing voice ordering for customers as it looks to boost slowing sales growth.
The delivery chain, which has around 20 stores in Northern Ireland, launched what it called an "industry first" beginning yesterday, as well as introducing GPS tracking for pizza deliveries.
The group reported first-half sales of £546.5m which, while a 10.5% increase on last year, represented a slowdown on the 17% growth seen in the same period in 2016.
Like-for-like sales, meanwhile, grew 2.4%, a marked decline on last year's 13% growth as the firm flagged a "softer consumer environment and a slowdown in the overall delivery market".
Pre-tax profits rose 9% from £44.6m, with the firm to shortly open its 1,000th British outlet.
The performance of Domino's Pizza has been hit by the surge in popularity of Deliveroo, a food delivery app that uses delivery people on two wheels to deliver foods from a range of restaurants and takeaways.
Deliveroo uses the services of around 100 riders in Belfast, and has around 70 restaurants and takeaways in the city on its books.
Uber Eats - the food delivery arm of the taxi app - has also eaten into the market share of firms like Domino's, though Uber Eats is yet to start operating in Belfast.
Domino's chief executive David Wild said: "The first half of 2017 has been another period of good progress for Domino's Pizza Group, despite a more uncertain UK economic environment. The core business delivered strong year-on-year system sales, continuing to take pizza market share, with good like-for-like performance. We have had a record six months in the UK, opening 40 new stores, and have consequently raised our expectations from 80 to 90 this year.
"I'm delighted that we'll shortly be opening our 1,000th British unit, and we are well on track to achieve our goal of 1,600."
"Domino's continues to lead the pizza market, with innovations such as the popular Lotta-Chocca pizza and our launch of Amazon Echo voice ordering.
"Following a successful trial, we'll be rolling out GPS, which will enable customers to track their delivery and help franchisees with labour management."
The company said that the introduction of GPS tracking would provide "significant labour savings" for the franchisee, while also enhancing the overall online consumer experience.