Domino’s Pizza has jumped feet first into the world of user generated content, delivering up an online platform that allows ‘Moguls’ to create their own pizza designs and win a cut of the proceeds for every pizza sold.
The Pizza Mogul program offers designers of new pizzas a proportion of sales earnings (‘Mogul Dough’) that varies between 25 cents and $4.50 per pizza, depending on the number of toppings.
The Pizza Mogul model is reminiscent of Valve Software’s Mann Co., an in-game store for players of Team Fortress 2 which was launched in 2010. Mann Co. allowed players to create items for the game and earn real money by selling their creations to other players, while Valve also takes a cut of the proceeds.
The Pizza Mogul platform was built in just over six months and delivered in conjunction with software development consultancy ThoughtWorks at a cost of around $5 million, which is roughly what Domino’s would ordinarily spend on a 13 week marketing campaign.
The code is hosted on Domino’s standard Microsoft Windows Server running ASP.NET services, backed by a SQL Server database.
ThoughtWorks added minor extensions to the existing Domino’s online ordering system to enable the ‘Mogul Dough’ rewards system, ensuring it was augmented in such a way that it can be easily rolled out to other Domino’s franchises around the world.
ThoughtWorks’ product lead Jane Nguyen told iTnews that the site was developed using Agile and Lean methods, but with a “pragmatic” process managed by the company’s in-house developed Mingle project management tool.
ThoughtWorks also used Slack - a free online tool similar to IRC - to manage what Nguyen called "asynchronous direct contact".
“It helps me manage multiple simultaneous conversations with different groups,” she said.
Developers use Github for source control, with another in-house developed tool called Go used for pipeline management. Testing is supported by a combination of Jasmine and PhantomJS for interface testing, with KarmaJS for integration testing.
New models, risks and rewards
Domino’s is a company that can afford to push the boundaries.
Over the past five years, its stock price has increased by 578 percent. The benchmark S&P200 index rose only 45 percent over the same period.
“You have to have some element of process, but process can’t be so restrictive that it suffocates big ideas,” Domino’s Pizza Enterprises CEO Don Meij told iTnews. “It can’t be so suffocating that you never get anything to market.”
“There are those who govern the business, and there are those who drive the business. Those who govern the business make sure that we don’t blow up, but they can’t suffocate the business. And those driving the business can’t blow us up either by taking us over the edge too quickly,” he said.