Domino's Marketing Strategies – Says, Affordability is the key to survival in India market


WhenDomino’s entered India in 1995, Pizza was quite low on the taste palate of Indians. Fourteen years and 274 stores later, brand Dominos seems to be on a roll, having not only made pizzas popular with the country’s burgeoning middle class, but also the brand omnipresent. In an interview with Amit Sharma, Domino’s Pizza India VP, marketing, Dev Amritesh, shares the brand’s India journey and the company’s plans for India. Excerpts:

From being a foreign snack to being a meal option, how has Domino’s shaped Indian consumers’ perception of the pizza?

We have constantly focused on consumer-centric areas such as product innovation, taste, pricing and customer service. Our several products innovations such as Double Cheese Crunch Pizza, Kebab Pizzas, Cheese Burst Pizza, Domino’s Calzone, Chicken Wings amongst others, and most recently Pasta, have gone down well with the consumers. As the result, we have been able to get quick product acceptance from them and often that is the first and most important bridge that a foreign food category has to cross. On the other hand, offers like, Pizza Mania at Rs 35/- per Pizza and Fun Meal for 4 has helped us drive value-formoney proposition allowing access to the brand. We have realised that value for money is an extremely important need for Indian consumers, especially in the context of the food services market. Then our 30 minutes or free service guarantee gives a differentiated edge to our brand amongst the Indian consumers.

Where does the brand Domino’s stand in India and what is the strategy to take it to the next level?

Domino’s Pizza has a widespread presence through a network of 274 stores, spread across 55 cities in 20 states. Further, our thirty minutes or free promise helps us reinforce our position within the delivery market. It’s no surprise then, we are the leaders in the organised pizza home delivery segment, with a market share of 65%, according to the Food Franchising Report 2009. Now, we seek to increase our penetration through new store openings in existing cities where we operate stores. The Technopak Report 2009 estimates that only 2% of the monthly expenditure on food bought from outside or ordered-in by households in India is spent on pizzas and pastas on a monthly basis. We see that as a opportunity to capitalise on low penetration.

How much of a challenge has it been to market a pizza brand in India?

Over the last two years, our sales revenue has grown by more than 100%. Also, the average same store growth in the last three fiscals has been around 16%. Our initiatives in the area of brand building, product innovation and penetration coupled with the changing demographics in the country have helped. Some of the factors that have driven growths and perception of Pizzas as a meal option have been changing lifestyles, rising incomes, especially amongst youth, growing middle class and nuclear families and increase in working women population. So, while there are challenges in every market, the manner in which brands overcome them is what matters.

How different are Indian consumers from their Western counterparts? How has Domino’s faced the challenges in food home delivery to the Indian consumer?

With global exposure and changing demographics, Indian consumers are not very different in terms of their expectations from service brands. The key for us is to have an engaged, trained and motivated team that can help us overcome any day-to-day challenges that might arise. Our operations have been ranked number 1 in the Domino’s Global Operations amongst countries with 100 or more stores in 2006 and 2007 and amongst top 3 in 2008. One of the reasons for this has been our robust training programme, which covers every aspect of our store operations. We are developing new training mechanisms and practices such as automated video training manual for our employees to further improve our training efficacy.

Most food & beverages MNCs are increasingly looking at affordability plank to push their brands? How has Domino’s reacted to it?

Affordability is one of the important pillars for the Dominos brand. It goes aptly with the functional benefits that we provide our consumers. Affordability apart, great taste and world class customer service are the other important pillars of our brand. In India, for a brand that has aspiration to cut across consumer segments, affordability is critical. That said, it is still one of the aspects of brand building, not the most important tool to create a strong brand.


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