In the ever shifting landscape that is pizza delivery, Domino’s is making a big move. Fico Coffee, a subsidiary to Evolution Capital just announced an exclusive franchise deal with Domino’s to bring Domino’s Pizza to Thailand. The Thai deal will also allow Fico to increase its primary investment strategy by opening new locations of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchise. The announcement by Fico comes on the heels of Domino’s US announcement of Specialty Chicken to their menu. The new item has yet to get the public review but some food critics have shown to be less than pleased.
For Fico, their entrance into the fast food market in Thailand is part of the implementation of a $6-8 million company expansion plan. The inclusion of Domino’s Pizza in the expansion plan gives Fico potentially unlimited growth in Thailand for the foreseeable future as the initial Domino’s deal is an exclusive one.
As for the Specialty Pizza, it’s described as a pizza with a fried chicken crust. Consumers can par take in a variety of four flavors; Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Crispy Bacon and Tomato with Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple. The move by Domino’s is viewed as an interesting strategy for an industry at times hard pressed to be innovative. When competing against the tide of so-called healthier gluten-free, low-fat, low-calorie, protein or vegetable rich options elsewhere, what some view as just another junk food option may not garner the attention sought by Domino chefs.
Like Domino’s Pizza, Subway has recently introduced a menu option which is called the Flatizza. The new item which is essentially a flatbread pizza is positioned by Subway under its existing marketing strategy, “eat fresh.” Consumers are also being increasingly drawn to options like real fruit and whole grain snacks from companies such as Brookside or Kashi. While others like El Pollo Loco and Subway flood the television airwaves with a steady and constant barrage of commercials, chains like Taco Bell are partnering with top chefs to create healthy and tasty selections like the Cantina Salad for patrons.
Financial, consumer and business, interests are going to have to wait to see if Specialty Chicken or Domino’s Pizza’s presence in Thailand will translate into profits for Domino’s and Fico. Pizza is not new to Thai consumers. For a number of years Pizza fans have enjoyed Chang Mai and Paradise Pizza restaurants which both feature New York style pies. Pizza Hut has an existing presence in Thailand as well, setting the stage for the addition of Domino’s as a pizza delivery option.
The presence of Pizza Oven Thailand, a local manufacturer known for their wood fired pizza ovens is also a sure sign that there are plenty of palettes primed for the introduction of new options for their pizza cravings.
Business is the bottom line and the bottom line is all about business. For Fico this means taking a chance on a new market for themselves where others have an existing and proven track record. While business for Domino’s is about how to stay relevant rather than cliché with regard to delivery fast food. For other franchise organizations, they receive the benefit of observing someone else diving in and testing new waters first. Many eyes will be watching the stats on Specialty Chicken sales domestically and the growth of Domino’s Pizza franchises in Thailand in hopes of predicting or better yet creating the next big thing.
By T. Lawson