Domino’s takes on food-delivery rivals with $50M free food giveaway

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Domino’s Pizza is taking on food delivery apps that it says charge unexpected fees — by giving away $50 million worth of free food to random customers, the company announced Monday.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based pizza chain is calling it a “surprise frees” promotion in an effort to take on surprise fees that it says its rivals like DoorDash and UberEats charge.

“Unlike many third-party food delivery apps, Domino’s provides customers with one straightforward delivery fee, because we know that’s what customers want and deserve. There are no hidden city or service fees with Domino’s,” Domino’s COO and US president Russell Weiner said.

Anyone who orders Domino’s delivery online through Nov. 21 is eligible to get a giveaway item, like boneless chicken wings or a pizza, the company said.

Domino’s said customers will have just over a 7 percent chance of winning each time they order.

UberEats, DoorDash and other food delivery services have added fees in certain cities around the US as the result of government restrictions on how much third-party delivery services can charge restaurants.

DoorDash has added a roughly $1 to $2 delivery charge in cities including Chicago, Cleveland and Denver, CNN reported.

UberEats has charged a similar fee in Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston, the outlet added.

Domino’s, for its part, has long chosen to rely on its own delivery network rather than relying on third-party apps.

On the company’s second-quarter earnings call last week, Domino’s CEO Richard Allison said that while the company’s still a pizza company, he views third-party delivery platforms as the company’s “biggest competition.”

“We also believe that the fact that we use a single transparent delivery fee, we think over time, is an important competitive advantage,” Allison said.

“When I use a third-party delivery, I have to really get my calculator out to figure out what I’ve actually paid to have that food delivered, because maybe I got a discount on the delivery fee, but maybe I paid a service fee, maybe I paid a small order fee, maybe I have paid a fee because I happen to be in a city where they were charging an incremental city fee,” he added.

“We very much believe a single transparent delivery fee, over time, we think, will be important to customers.”

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