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Machiavellian Mega-Chain Domino’s Wants to Trade Pizza for Data

Points for Pies is a clever data grab from America’s most tech-savvy chain

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Domino’s, the normcore pizza chain that’s actually America’s best food delivery startup, recently launched a massive data mining project masquerading as a game where people can win free food.

The crux of the promotion is that customers who sign up for the “Piece of the Pie” rewards program can win points by taking a photo of a pizza — literally any pizza, from a restaurant, home kitchen, or anywhere else — and uploading it to the Domino’s app. Although it’s unclear how many exact points are awarded per photo, the official Points for Pies homepage notes that customers “could get 10 points for scanning a pizza once per week.” The reward for collecting 60 points is one free medium two-topping pizza. Domino’s launched this endeavor earlier this month during the Super Bowl blitz — its busiest time of the year — and has promised to give away “at least 100 million points” before closing the deal at the end of April.

On the surface, this might see like just another interactive stunt from Domino’s designed to engender good will among America’s pizza-hungry masses. But the chain is most certainly motivated by other factors beyond merely spreading positive pizza vibes across the land. Over the last decade, the company has masterfully used data collected from online orders and the various iterations of its app, as well as third party sources, to map out local demographics and single out the pizza competition. By harnessing the power of this data, Domino’s is able to offer the most reliable food delivery service across America, while also keeping prices absurdly low.

For the launch of Points for Pies, Domino’s tech masterminds created a new program that uses AI to detect pizzas of all shapes and sizes in the photos uploaded to the app. “This is the first time Domino’s is using AI technology like this,” said Dennis Maloney, the company’s chief digital officer, in an announcement about the promotion. “It will be running the pizza identification process and is already smart enough to identify all pizza, even if it is a homemade English muffin pizza, a pizza with a hotdog stuffed crust, or a high-end artisan pizza. It can even identify if it’s a dog’s squeaky pizza toy.”

Now, with all the photos and other metadata culled from the Points for Pies program, Domino’s will have a new cache of information about how often its users buy, make, and eat pizza, as well as literal snapshots of the competition. This information could influence not only how the chain executes delivery, staffing, and the expansion of its stores, but also how it makes its pizzas — another process that is, coincidentally, orchestrated with the help of AI. And as Popular Mechanics notes, by offering a real-world incentive to play the game (free food), Points for Pies will also keep customers thinking about not just pizza, but Domino’s pizza, all the damn time.

At this stage in the game, it’s too early to tell whether Points for Pies is a hit with customers or not, but one thing’s for certain: This massive data grab will certainly increase Domino’s standing in the inevitable pizza wars of the future.

Domino’s Points for Pies [Official]
Domino’s Pizza-Spotting App Is a Window Into a Future of Justified Paranoia [Popular Mechanics]
Domino’s Is the Best Delivery Startup in America [E]

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