By Elvyna Atchanah, Kareesh Manraj, Shalini Ramessur
and Travis Olivier
Mauritius is one of the fastest developing and most stable economies on the African continent. The Fastfood and Quick Service Restaurants landscape has a variety of brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Debonnairs, Pizza Inn, El Mondo, etc.
The market size for pizza in 2018 was Rs. 2.1bn for 10.5m pizzas sold annually, with 55% of the market consisting of unbranded Pizza restaurants (Luigi’s Marco, Roberto, Cas Nostra). In-depth research by the ENL/Rogers Group indicate that 87% of the target population eat at a Fast-Food operator or at a Quick Service Restaurant each month while 67% further prefer to buy an international food brand versus a local one.
According to a focused group study conducted by DCDM Research, customers have less time to cook food at home and are more inclined to eat out. They are also more open to home delivery if the service is effective. Likewise, office delivery is a service that is sought by the target market for meetings or birthdays, especially because of limited lunch time. Yet, at the same time, it is generally perceived that existing food outlets perform poorly on delivery which acts as a barrier to seeking that service. The research also identified characteristics of the ideal pizza company:
- good location
- fresh products
- open kitchen
- welcoming staff
- good ambiance
- good delivery service, and
- good ordering system.
The market research also identified similar gaps in supply on the following aspects:
- Online ordering
- Effective delivery system
- Use of fresh ingredients
Additional research enabled us to better understand average order spend across locations, meal periods and weekdays, amongst the existing competing brands.
Guided by the strong insights gathered through market research and the above market opportunities, we approached the Domino’s Pizza franchisor in the US.
One of the challenges we faced was defining the Domino’s Mauritius brand to a culturally complicated market while adapting the menu to the diverse demographic tastes. Indeed, Mauritius is made up of Hindus, Muslims, Creoles and French ethnic groups. Furthermore, the brand had to manage intense competition from 5 branded Pizza operators.
How the brand was positioned in Mauritius
Brand positioning and development focused on the emotional and functional benefits procured by interacting with Domino’s Pizza.
Our core strategy – to win hearts and minds of the target market – was determined by key insights (listed above) gathered through extensive market research about what customers want and what is important to them. Our strategy consisted of meeting the needs of customers and providing them with everyday value.
Domino’s Pizza is a technology company that happens to sell pizzas. It is one of the few pizza companies that uses technology as a way of transforming the pizza experience – to make it easier and more convenient to order.
In Mauritius, Domino’s Pizza is the only brand that allows for easy online ordering and tracking of orders – from oven to your doorstep.
Tone of voice
In addition to the product itself, our tone of voice also differentiates us from the competition.
- Either Creole or English
- Fun and honest
- Inspired from local creole sayings and Mauritian culture tweaked to make them relevant to pizza-eating
We created our own tagline: The Making of Delicious, which emphasises:
- The continuous process of making fresh, hand-tossed pizza (unique in Mauritius)
- The continual process of product innovation, based on customer feedback
- That the pizzas are delicious because fresh ingredients are used, and international standards are respected
The above has guided us in ‘Mauritianising’ the brand identity of Domino’s Pizza and has been the core guidelines directing the creation of all our collaterals, the most important ones being:
1. Our Pizza box:
- We chose to go with a pizza box, printed in 2 colours, the red and blue colour scheme of Domino’s Pizza.
- Most of our competitors had plain, uninteresting brown pizza boxes.
- We communicate our USPs on our pizza box to make customers realise there is no need for sophistication (and thus cutlery) with our brand. Even though it is an American brand, it still has strong local values and wishes to be fully integrated in the local community.
2. The design of our stores:
- Our super store in Port-Louis is a historical building with stone walls and high ceilings.
- Each of our store designs accentuate our USPs with the aim of creating a warm, authentic, yet modern and pleasant ambiance. They include decoration elements that remind customers of the locality and that show that Domino’s Pizza is part of the community.
3. Our in-store menu:
- The menu focuses on our beautiful and delicious-looking pizzas, while communicating our core USPs, and provides details of our offerings.
4. Our products:
- We seek connection, trust, love and engagement from our customers. We quarterly review our product mix in a systematic BCG matrix that maps our pizzas across average margin per item and units sold. This enables us to identify our best-selling products (stars) and the poor performing items (dogs). We also collect customers’ opinions when we update our menu. The same tone of voice and design guidelines were used across the board on all our communication and advertising materials.
- A brand that is fun
- Value for money
- An American pizza, that has a long history dating back to 1960
- Fresh ingredients and hand-tossed pizza
- Great service
- No. 1 in Pizza Delivery
- Easy and convenient online ordering
Revitalising our brand
We consistently focus on our Value Equation, ensuring our product, service and image are per standard. Our product mix is reviewed yearly to ensure that the offering remains relevant to the target market. The customer remains at the center of all New Product Development initiatives, with a constant watch out of competitor activities.
In October 2019, we conducted a series of customer surveys and focus groups.
The following customer tastes and preferences were identified, and the following insights were gathered about the Mauritian market:
- Want more cheese
- Want more sauce
- Need for a light/on-the-go lunch for customers
- Looking for an alternative to small pizzas
- More “bread” eaters for lunch
Chicken kebab is a flavour widely appreciated by Mauritians and our testing aimed at assessing the success of this flavour on a pizza – a flavour that does not exist amongst other competitors.
The customer testing resulted in the introduction of:
- Creamy Veggie in the Classic Category
- Chicken Kebab in the Favourites Category
- 8-toppings Veg Extravaganza pizza in the Gourmet Category
- 4 varieties of Cal’z Sandwiches
Today, the Chicken Kebab is one of the top 5 best-selling products across our 4 stores. This further emphasises the importance of customer feedback as part of new product development – that is inherent to the Domino’s Pizza culture.
Our in-store and takeaway menus were also refreshed taking into consideration the psychology of menu design. The aim being to make the ordering-process more intuitive and user-friendly.
The key principle that was taken into account was the Golden Triangle according to which a person’s eyes typically move to the middle first before travelling to the top right corner and then to the top left corner.
This influenced our menu-design so that:
- The fresh ingredients and the tagline pops out
- The Cal’Z Sandwiches (which is a new product range) stand out
- The ordering process becomes intuitive starting with choosing your size, choosing your crust and then your pizza
In December 2020, through another series of Customer Surveys and Tastings, we identified the desire for Creamy and Cheesier Pizzas among our target customers. And so, the Chicken Mayo was born– a hit with existing customers that also helped us acquire new customers.
In May 2021, the brand innovated and launched the Creamy Chicken Deluxe, a product that has been a great success among Mauritians.
How we have measured the success of that branding at the launch:
During the first week of operation, we exceeded our forecast and recorded 3,594 orders. We even won an award from Domino’s International for being the Best in Africa in terms of our Opening Week Record.
A Campaign Impact survey was conducted 10 days after the launch of the communication campaign with a sample of the target market.
They were asked:
- To name the pizza brands they knew: 16% of respondents mentioned Domino’s Pizza.
- Whether they knew Domino’s pizza was available in Mauritius: 64% replied in the affirmative.
A brand awareness survey was conducted by DCDM Research; 78% of the sample were aware that the Domino’s Pizza brand was available in Mauritius.
After 3 years of operations, we have grown and today we have:
- 32852 Facebook Followers
- 14,900 Instagram followers
- 2,019 reviews on Google
Where do we want to be?
We want to strengthen the Domino’s Pizza Brand on the island by opening 12 stores by 2023. Our objectives:
- To be the Pizza delivery expert on the island
- Drive 30% of our orders to order online
- To be the No. 1 pizza brand on the island