- Domino’s completed the first-ever pizza delivery by drone with the help of the drone delivery service Flirtey, according to a Flirtey press release. A DRU Drone model completed the run.
- The delivery happened in New Zealand, and came three months after Domino’s first partnered with Flirtey, per CNBC. In the lead-up to the event, the pizza brand conducted test flights that worked with the NZ government and tracked things like the temperature of pizza during transit.
- Domino’s is now looking toward Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany as possible markets where it can expand drone delivery. A customer poll found 70% of Domino's consumers would be open to DRU deliveries.
When brands like Uber use drones to promote their service, it comes across as a gimmicky marketing stunt, utilizing a trendy tech to get directly in consumers' faces. Domino's and other fast food restaurants, on the other hand, could majorly benefit from the airborne devices, which dramatically open shipping options and add an entirely new dimension to omnichannel shopping.
"Drones offer the promise of safer, faster deliveries to an expanded delivery area, meaning more customers can expect to receive a freshly made order within our ultimate target of 10 minutes," said Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij in the release. "This is the future."
Unfortunately "the future" isn't quite here now, as the New Zealand test likely serves as a novelty and proof of concept for Domino’s. The many hurdles ahead include clearance for airspace use, safety issues in the event of a drone crashing or causing damage and injury on the ground — not to mention the simple logistics if the idea takes off and multiple drones are competing for the same airspace.
In the U.S. market in particular, it’s doubtful the FAA will allow for drone delivery anywhere but the most rural locations anytime soon, if even that given the conservative nature of the agency.
Back in 2013, Amazon made waves when CEO Jeff Bezos went on 60 Minutes and stated his company was developing drone technology to offer 30-minute delivery for a program called Amazon Prime Air. Publicity for the project has simmered in the years since, but Amazon hasn’t dropped the idea, and has been testing drone designs and even deliveries in the U.K. to places with specialized helipads.