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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Domino's Pizza has shunned delivery app giants Uber Eats, DoorDash and GrubHub, and the pizza chain's CEO confirmed the company has no plans of collaborating with them any time soon.

Why it matters: While its No. 1 competitor, Yum Brands' Pizza Hut, has partnered with and taken a stake in the to-go dining app GrubHub, Domino's has banked on its technological investments in delivery and user operations to beat out competition, the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

"Our same-store sales performance for the quarter came in toward the lower end of our 3-year to 5-year outlook, as we continue to navigate through headwinds related to aggressive activity from third-party delivery aggregators. I do not expect this activity to ease in the near term."
— Domino's CEO Ritch Allison, in a Q2 earnings call

By the numbers:

  • U.S. same-store sales growth at Domino's has tapered off, and in the most recent quarter, the company reported 3% same-store sales growth — the slowest in at least 3 years, per Reuters.
  • The results disappointed Wall Street, and shares of Domino's fell more than 8% after the news broke.

Domino's still holds the largest market share in the pizza sector. But as the multinational restaurant doubles down on delivery technology, company executives are more concerned about delivery apps boosting demand for their competitors' food, not the competitors themselves.

  • For instance, valued at $12.6 billion, privately held DoorDash is now worth more than Domino’s, which has a market cap of $10.43 billion.
  • With the exception of UberEats and GrubHub, the delivery apps are backed by venture capital, and as private markets, they have patience the public markets do not.

What they’re doing: From chatbots to drones and its newly expanded driverless delivery cars, the world's largest pizza chain has been upping its investments for the past decade in technologies to give its customers a more seamless experience, and the push internally for innovation only continues.

  • Domino’s has been testing Ford-built, self-driving delivery vehicles in Michigan and Miami for several years. In June, Domino’s announced autonomous-vehicle startup Nuro will make a custom driverless fleet of cars for pizza deliveries in Houston later this year.
  • A Domino’s division in Australia and New Zealand began testing AI cameras that photograph and grade each pizza on different criteria to control quality. Auckland, New Zealand has also been home to pizza delivery by drone for the past 3 years.
  • Domino's has delivered to more than 200,000 nontraditional locations in the U.S., like parks and beaches.
  • The company’s voice-recognition system, “Dom,” has been automating telephone orders in about 40 stores since last year.

The bottom line: Outside delivery companies pose a real threat to about 20-25% of Domino's locations, Morgan Stanley analyst John Glass said in a research note Thursday. This competition could chip away at sales growth by up to 2% for locations open for a year or more.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.