Four Ideas How to Sell Pizza – In A Country Where Nobody Eats Pizza.


Adam Nowak- Guest Contributor

February 22, 2023
let's talk loyalty

We tend to complain about the business environment. Yes, we have high inflation, lower consumer demand and ever-changing regulations served by our governments. Tough times, aren’t they? But before we start complaining, let’s imagine that our task is to become the food & restaurant business leader by delivering pizza in the country with 18,110 islands, rice and chicken as a primary diet and over 600 ethnic groups and subgroups. Welcome to Indonesia!

If you think about it rationally, you can come to the conclusion that it’s an impossible task to accomplish. That’s why I found #329 episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty amazingly refreshing. In the show “Dominos Pizza in Indonesia”, Mayank Singh, Domino’s Chief Digital Officer in Indonesia, tells the story of his company’s journey from 125 to 222 stores, with pizza delivery time standard always faster than an ambulance. 

Mayank’s optimism and cheerful attitude on the show sparked my imagination and inspired me to think about loyalty business fundamentals. Here are the four ideas I grasped from Mayank’s conversation with Paula.  

Digital Mindset. Chef or Engineer?

In the old joke, it’s enough to say  “digital transformation” three times. Then with a puff and swoosh, a consultant from Accenture will appear next to you, taking care of your business transformation. The reality, though, is far from magic, especially in the Indonesian food business.

For Dominos, the fundamental shift means moving from a food chain that uses technology to becoming a technology company that sells food—a slightly semantic change but with an enormous impact.

It’s relatively easy to make a tasty pizza. The hard part is to offer the same quality in hundreds of locations and serve millions of customers with the same experience quality: 30-minute home delivery and 2-minute waiting time at the pick-up point if you order by the app.

Engineers are equally (or even more) important as chefs as data flow, prediction models, and app backend infrastructure enables them to make a delicious pizza at the right time, place and taste.   

Mobile First = Mobile Only.

The Dominos episode recalled my first visit to Seoul in 2015. We went on the “retail safari” to experience how retail may change in Europe in the next couple of years. At one point, our guide’s phone battery ran out. She began to panic that it would not be possible to order a cab to go to the next location. How great was her surprise when I hailed a cab the “classic” way, just by waving my hand. 

As Mayank mentioned, people in the western hemisphere went through smooth evolution, from PCs in the 80ties and nineties, laptops in the noughties and teenies, to mobile after the iPhone launch in 2007.

In Asia, however, the mobile experience was the first and, in most cases, the only. Smartphones have become a second brain and (figuratively) body extension. If consumers can’t do something with their phones, they can’t do it at all. If something is not in the mobile app, it simply doesn’t exist. Zero – one game. And like it or not, it’s not the nature of emerging markets, as you’ve probably seen in your local store a two-year-old child in a stroller with a smartphone in their hand. 

Focus on ROI as a Common Denominator.

We tend to say that customer experience is a goal on its own. We avoid calculating its direct ROI. Again, it places us somewhere between CX shamans and marketing wizards, which needs to be understood by the rest of the company.

In Dominos, calculating the ROI helps the CX team to speak the company’s dominant language. It brings everything to a common denominator and allows them to compare the business cases with other departments. It transforms customer experience from marketing mambo-jumbo into one of the most critical company assets. It enables them to win a better position in the queue for investments on par with logistics or expansion.

Own your data and Find the Right Partners. 

The very often question in the loyalty industry: as we can’t build everything in-house, how to set it up with external partners? How to split the roles between “us” and “suppliers”? In my professional life, I have tried many models of cooperation with vendors, including both extreme options: handing over the entire infrastructure to external partners or attempting total autonomy by building everything through the organisation’s own efforts. None of them was optimal, to say the least. Either we lose control, or we lack competence and, above all, new, fresh ideas.

In conversation with Paula, Mayank gives a great suggestion that works super well for Dominos: secure that all data are in-house and owned by the company. And cooperate with external partners on specific consumer problems to solve. When you find the right companies that love challenging the status quo, you will secure both control and innovative (and sometimes radical but outstanding) ideas.  

This article shares only a friction of the ideas and thoughts that Mayank and the extraordinary Dominos case planted in my brain.

So if you want to know how to work with segmentation and categorisation, what the 3D model is, and how to develop the solution that Google will post on their blog as a great example, you must listen to the entire #329 Let’s talk loyalty episode!

Footnote from Paula: We’d like thank our friends in Capillary Technologies for the introduction to Domino’s for this episode to be possible.

About the Author

Adam Nowak is passionate about customer engagement and loyalty, with almost 15 years of experience in the retail industry. During this time, he created an iconic customer club & a genuinely member-centric customer experience to build a personal, rewarding, and long-lasting relationship with every customer. Adam has broad experience building CRM & Loyalty capabilities in the Country and Global Marketing teams. He also shifted the organizational mindset in the Global structures, co-leading the integrated marketing framework and moving brands from silos to integrated marketing planning and execution.

Loyalty Marketing Manager in Electrolux and blogger on

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