Avia Collinder, Business Writer
Jamaica's pizza market is dominated by two rival players who currently operate 18 stores between them, with most of the business concentrated in Kingston.
One new frontier, however, has been Portmore in St Catherine - with estimated population of 250,000 - where Pizza Hut recently opened a new outlet and where Domino's is planning a second.
On December 20, Domino's also opened its 11th store in May Pen, Clarendon, while disclosing plans for a total J$100 million spend on three new stores, the reimaging for some and relocation of others over the next three years.
Sean Scott, CEO of Wisynco Foods Limited, the franchise holder for Domino's in Jamaica, said new stores are planned for Barbican and downtown Kingston, and Portmore, St Catherine.
"This will bring our total store count for Domino's to 14," said Scott.
"We are confident that in the next five years, we will grow the market to support 20 Domino's stores islandwide."
Other Domino's locations are on Old Hope Road, Hope Road, Constant Spring Road, Elma Crescent and Central Plaza in Kingston; Port Henderson Plaza in Portmore; Caledonia Road in Mandeville; Brunswick in Spanish Town; and the departure lounge of the Sangster International Airport and Fairview Shopping Centre in Montego Bay.
Domino's May Pen store cost the company J$24 million to establish. The chain has also disclosed plans to ramp up its delivery service, which Scott believes is already better than its rivals in the market.
"We have grown our fleet of delivery experts by 40 per cent in the last quarter to total over 65 riders, which is by far the largest fleet of delivery riders in Jamaica's pizza industry," said Scott.
"Other players in the industry are focused more on sit-down formats and only dabble in delivery. Unlike the competition we do not charge an additional fee above our menu price for delivery," he said.
Chief rival Pizza Hut, which is operated by the Myers family-owned Restaurants of Jamaica, opened its seventh store in Braeton, Greater Portmore. The other six are located in Havendale, Liguanea and New Kingston in the capital; one in Montego Bay; one in Angels in Spanish Town; and one in Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland.
The Pizza Hut Portmore restaurant focuses on delivery and provides minimal seating for dining. It joined Domino's which was previously the only pizza store in the area.
Internationally, the Pizza Industry Report 2011 indicates that Pizza Hut is the largest international chain and located in nearly 100 countries. Domino's places second with presence in over 60 countries in addition to home market, the United States.
Locally, Domino's is dominant in store count and Wisynco also claims close to two-thirds share of the pizza market. Scott says the company is aiming to grow its market share even more in 2013.
"I think the pizza industry is a perfect example of how pockets of opportunity for growth exist in Jamaica despite the macro-economic challenges facing the broader economy. The pizza category is definitely growing and as the leader in the category we believe we are driving this growth," said Scott.
The company is tapping into a lunch market with an eight-inch pizza priced at J$270.
"In the past two years we began to witness a 'tipping-point' of sorts where Jamaica's taste profile began to change and pizza was adopted as a common meal option alongside patties, burgers and chicken," said Scott.
"Our strategy of capturing this market is centred squarely on operations. Our mission is to be the best-run Domino's franchise in the world."
The company raised prices by an undisclosed margin in December.
"This was the first price increase the company has taken since 2010 and was done not to increase margin but rather to accommodate for the recent devaluation of the Jamaican dollar," said Scott.
He estimates that Domino's controls close to 65 per cent of the pizza market and an even larger share of the delivery market — "since other competitors do not deliver from all their stores."
The company also views all quick-service restaurants as competitors, not just players in the pizza market.
"Jamaican consumers have an ever-expanding list of meal options and we see ourselves competing for a share of 'belly' more so than a share of the pizza business," Scott said.
He said Domino's has experienced double-digit growth over the past 12 months, both in terms of revenue and its bottom line.