- Domino's is buying 800 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles for delivery use at stores across the U.S. as the pizza restaurant franchise looks to make its fleet more climate friendly.
- This is not the first effort by Domino's to advance delivery, with recent tests of autonomous vehicles and an e-bike program.
- The new EV fleet will also help boost driver recruitment, one of the areas of hiring the company has seen lag in recent quarters.
Domino's Pizza will be rolling out a fleet of 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles, 800 of the GM EVs in total across the U.S. in the coming months, as it looks to not only reduce its environmental impact but also attract new delivery drivers.
The pizza chain restaurant has previously set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and CEO Russell Weiner said optimizing how it delivers pizza is key.
"Domino's was founded in 1960 as a delivery company, and we go to bed every night and wake up every morning saying 'how can we get better?'" Weiner told CNBC's Jim Cramer on "Mad Money" last week. "This is a way we can get better; better service for our customers and better for the environment."
The Chevy Bolt EV will provide the company with zero tailpipe emissions and lower average maintenance costs than nonelectric vehicles, as well as a reduction in fueling costs, according to Domino's. The new vehicles, which have a 259-mile range, will be custom-branded with Domino's logos.
An initial 100 vehicles have been arriving at select franchise and corporate stores across the U.S. in November, with the additional 700 arriving over the coming months. Domino's had 6,643 stores across the U.S. as of Sept. 11, with 402 of those being corporate locations.
The adoption of this fleet of EVs is not the first time Domino's has looked to optimize how pizza is delivered.
In 2014, the company introduced the DXP delivery vehicle, a custom-build Chevrolet Spark that featured a built-in warming oven and special compartments to hold items like sodas.
Domino's has also been piloting driverless delivery with robotics company Nuro, delivering pizzas with an autonomous on-road vehicle at the chain's Woodland Heights location in Houston, Texas. Other start-ups, such as Refraction AI, have been testing autonomous vehicles suited for pizza delivery.
Domino's has also looked to move beyond traditional car delivery, launching an e-bike delivery program in 2019 at stores in major metropolitan cities like Baltimore and Miami. It now delivers pizza by electric bike and scooter in 24 international markets.
Rolling out the new fleet of GM EVs also is expected to help the company with its driver recruitment efforts.
"It just allows us to tap into a different driver pool," Weiner said. "If you think about today, what we do is hire folks with cars, but that's getting really competitive with what's going on."
There are many people who work in Domino's stores or potential workers who have driver's licenses, and Weiner said, "all they need is a car… it's a great way for us to bring in incremental labor at a time when that market is tight."
While some of the company's stores require delivery driver applicants to use their own vehicle, some do provide a car.
Weiner said that the company's hiring metrics including applications and new hires per week are back to pre-Covid numbers, but he added, "there's still gaps to fill, and that's part of why we're doing things like this to bring the inflow and give a few more options."
On the company's third quarter earnings call with analysts on Oct. 13, Weiner said staffing remains a constraint, "but my confidence in our ability to solve many of our delivery labor challenges ourselves has grown over the past few quarters."