Dominos Pizza is investing in electric vehicles by signing a deal with General Motors to help attract drivers. This attempt is to overcome a worker shortage that has hobbled pie deliveries industrywide this year. According to the deal, the world’s largest pizza chain will procure 800 Domino’s branded Chevrolet Bolts for 37 of its own stores. There are hundreds of such stores being run in its US franchises.
Furthermore, Domino’s said it would begin deploying the branded vehicles this month, and that the company expects to order more from the General Motors Co. division after the initial round. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we will have the biggest fleet of electric vehicles in the pizza industry, period,” Domino’s Chief Executive Russell Weiner said in an interview. Store owners can let employees use the cars for pizza delivery as a way to help recruit new drivers, some of whom don’t have their own vehicles for work, Domino’s said.
Dominos found that shop owners identified cars as an impediment to getting enough delivery workers. Some pizza drivers have said that a dearth of used cars during the pandemic, high fuel costs, and other factors limited their interest in continuing in the industry. Drivers typically pay for their vehicles.
According to Mr. Weiner, electric vehicles should help the company lure drivers who have other job options, or lack wheels. Those factors have crimped Domino’s business, he said. The new vehicles also will advance the company’s environmental goals by cutting carbon-dioxide emissions produced by traditional gas-fueled cars. This move is part of American companies’ broader embrace of electric vehicles. Amazon.com Inc. has said it plans to deploy a fleet of EVs, FedEx Corp. has started operating electric vans, and Tesla Inc. said it plans to deliver its first electric semitrailer truck to PepsiCo Inc. next week. Uber Technologies Inc., which has struggled with its own driver shortage, is also making an EV push.
Also, the competitor companies like Pizza Hut and Papa John’s International have struggled this year to hire and retain enough delivery drivers, a linchpin of their businesses. Pizza sales surged during the Covid-19 pandemic, but demand for drivers also jumped as other restaurants rushed to add their own delivery services, typically through apps that employ gig drivers, pizza companies have said. Last month, Domino’s said that its same-store sales for delivery declined 7.5% in the three months ended Sept. 11 compared with the year-prior period. The company in April called a lack of drivers and other impediments to its delivery business its biggest short-term challenge in the U.S.