Domino’s wants to stop sending its delivery drivers out on the road in beat-up old cars with tacky signs stuck on the roof.
Okay, the “car topper” isn’t going away, but the cars are about to change in a big way, the Ann Arbor, Michigan restaurant chain unveiling a specially designed subcompact pizza wagon it is calling DXP.
Short for “delivery expert,” it’s a heavily modified version of a Chevrolet Spark minicar that was developed through an online crowdsourcing competition – with Michigan-based Roush Enterprises doing the customization.
“The Chevrolet Spark is the perfect vehicle to bring our pizza delivery to life,” said Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA. “Not only will the DXP have a warming oven on board and enough storage capacity to hold 80 pizzas in the rear, but the fuel efficiency is something our franchisees welcome.”
That may seem like a lot of dough, but Domino’s is the country’s second-largest pizza chain in the country, behind Pizza Hut, with 5,000 stores in the U.S., and 7,100 more overseas. Last year, its drivers clocked 10 million miles racing to American homes, delivering 400 million pizzas along the way. Deliveries account for about two-thirds of its business.
Founded in 1960, Domino’s plans to roll out 100 of the DXP delivery cars over the next three months. They’ll start out as conventional Chevy Spark subcompacts but Roush will make a series of modification that include ripping out all but the driver’s seat and installing a warming oven that can be accessed from the outside.
If the Roush name is familiar, by the way, that’s because the suburban-Detroit firm is producing the 100 bubble-shaped autonomous vehicles that Google will be testing near its Silicon Valley headquarters.
(For more on the Google Car project, Click Here.)
Entries into the Domino’s Ultimate Delivery Vehicle competition brought in a variety of ideas, some wacky, some ready to roll. There’ll be hubcaps adorned with the familiar domino-shaped logo, and even a “puddle” light to project that logo on the ground alongside the DXP when it’s parked.
The vehicles also will come with GPS to ensure driver’s don’t get lost along the way.
The 100 cars Domino’s has ordered will go into operation in 25 U.S. markets. They’ll account for a relatively small number of the company’s total delivery fleet and Domino’s isn’t saying, yet, whether it hopes to have the franchisees operating a majority of its stores buy their own DXP delivery cars.
The program “demonstrates our vehicles can deliver – in a literal sense in this case,” said Ed Peper, head of General Motors Fleet Sales, “to fleets across America.”
(Will you even recognize the cars to come in the near future? Click Here for more.)