The Pizza & Coffee Wars

Aaron Bare
5 min readApr 25, 2022

As disruption through digitization continues to spread, it provides companies with opportunities to capitalize on the digital habits of their customers. The brands that can make the customer experience a digital one wields a major advantage over their competitors, regardless of industry. Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks Coffee are two brands that effectively capitalized on changing customer habits, and as a result, are now titans in their respective food and beverage industries.

In 2008, Domino’s Pizza stock value hit rock bottom. By 2020, its stock value was 112x higher. (1) It is the only company growing at a faster rate than Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, or Google in that same period. (2) It is one of the few businesses able to thrive throughout the global coronavirus pandemic. The exponential growth of its brand was possible thanks to one crucial pivot: Domino’s stopped being a pizza company and became a tech company that sells pizza. It all started with an “We’re Sorry for Sucking” advertising campaign with the CEO talking directly to the campaign admitting the many flaws and shortcomings from Domino’s and the pizza industry as a whole. At the end of the commercial shares a simple promise that Domino’s would do better. Only Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich war against Chick-fil-a’s chicken sandwich empire that launched them into viral relevance in November 2019 created better results for a fast-food company. Yet, Domino’s was not focused on a short-term spike, it wanted a long-term strategy. So, it decided to invest in becoming a platform.

Domino’s armed themselves with an aggressive investment in software and digitization of the supply chain, an internal commitment to innovation, and a fresh new menu based on rapid prototyping and customer feedback. Domino’s enlisted its 17,000 stores in the Pizza War. (3) The result was a digital platform, a way for the customer and the company to interact with each other digitally, engaging customers via text, emojis, e-mail, apps, and/or websites. Domino’s became more relevant to its customers by showing up where customers spent their time.

Domino’s has created a digital platform in the form of a mobile app and has integrated everything into one process that provides users with digital services they did not know they needed. A pizza tracker tells customers when their order is in the oven. A…

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Aaron Bare

Author of Exponential Theory. Founder of the Change Agents Academy. Learn more at (www.aaronbare.com).