How Domino’s Pizza is taking a bite out of India

I was in India the past 10 days, I go about every 3 years. This time I noticed one big change: Domino’s Pizza is HUGE in India. Every few blocks has a Domino’s and the people are going crazy for it. Here are a few of the ways Domino’s has tailored their business to be more India friendly.

Things that Domino’s changed to fit India:

Veg Friendly Everything

50% of the entire menu is vegetarian. They clearly specify which menu items are vegetarian by showing you a green dot next to the item. 10% of India is completely vegetarian and 30% of India is vegetarian due to religious reasons at least 5 days out of the month.

Moped Delivery

The traffic in Mumbai (one of the biggest cities in India) is really bad, much worse than Los Angeles. It takes 20 minutes to go a mile – this is due to over population, bad roads, animals roaming the streets, and people crossing the road whenever they want. Mopeds are definitely the fastest way to get around the city because they can easily weave through traffic.

Goodbye Parmesan, Hello “Spice Mix”!

Indians like things spicy. Instead of including Parmesan cheese packets Domino’s includes an “Oregano SpiceMix”. They have also spiced up their pizza recipes to please the Indian palette. The spicy Sriracha sauce that we are all use to in America is water compared to the spice level in India. A spicyness level of 2 stars in India is 4 stars in the US.

Things that Domino’s didn’t change for India:

Home Delivery

It turns out people are lazy everywhere. Food at your door for no extra charge is a great service.

Self Service

This one was kind of a shocker to me. Indians are accustomed to being waited on hand and foot at a restaurant, you just don’t expect to have to clean up after yourself.

But Domino’s Pizza India didn’t have any servers or bus boys during my visit. All they had was a simple trash can with a “Use Me” sign. By educating and training their customers to clean up after themselves, Domino’s India can employ less people and keep their prices low. It is interesting that Domino’s decided to challenge Indian culture here even though they were willing to make a lot of other cultural changes that are outlined above.

The Domino’s Pizza Brand Name

The Domino’s brand name is strong. They have been featured in hundreds of movies and have run gazillions of TV ads. Even though Domino’s was new to India a few years ago millions of Indians heard about it before hand allowing them to have a massive launch.

Domino’s India is ran and managed by an Indian based company called Jubilant Foodworks. The best decision Domino’s made in their India strategy is understanding that they are not an expert in India, so they partnered with a strong team that truly understands India to help grow their business there.

Here are 3 things I learned from Domino’s India:
1. Tailor your business based on the countries’ culture (I know obvious!)
2. Keep your brand identity
3. Don’t do it yourself – Find someone amazing that knows the country to help you run and manage the business abroad.

What could Domino’s do in your country that would make it thrive? Let me know in the comments.


  1. wow I really love the pictures. I had no idea Domino’s was so different in India. Can you upload a bigger picture of the menu – would love to see it in detail.

  2. I’m living over here in Big China. Biggest surprise is that KFC is huuuuge. McD’s isn’t even close to second fiddle. KFC’s menu is tailored to China, but still centered on fried chicken. Chinese people love fried fowl. McD’s hasn’t changed too much, except they seem to focus on selling their ice cream. Chinese people have this weird phobia of cold food (ex. water is always served warm), so…oops! I think McD’s could take a page from Starbucks. Even though Chinese people aren’t so into coffee, Starbucks sold itself as a desirable Western brand instead of a place to find quality coffee. In Chinese Starbucks, you will see people go in to order coffee, hardly drink it, but take tons of pictures of themselves with the Starbucks cup.

    • Ben – I’d love to see some pics from China! It is hard to believe that McDonalds is struggling in China – since they are dominating here.

      KFC is pretty huge in India too. They have veggie options as well on there menu too!

  3. One more thing that has made them successful — (seemingly exclusive) partnerships with business giants. When I was interning at InfoSys, they were the only pizza restaurant on campus. They did massive massive amounts of business to tens of thousands of workers everyday. And that was just on one campus — I believe they’re on many Infy campuses.

    • That is really cool. I had no idea they did that. A great distribution strategy for them.

      It kind of reminds me of If they get enough people to sign up they could easily start their own restaurant and already have a “audience” in place.

  4. I need your advice regarding my business Related to launching business. pls let me know where can i get in touch with on your personnel email. I would like to keep the things confidential.

  5. Living in India and a frequent user of Domin’s pizza and free home delivery services. Still a lots of info here to learn about and the BEST of all is NOT to risk yourself every where ~ but hire an expert !!

    Thanks for the vision !! You Rock !! 🙂

  6. Interesting. I love the comment about people taking pictures in starbucks china. I’m in Nepal now and I just saw a baskin robbins. A few years ago I was here when the first KFC opened and everyone treated it like a big deal. The newspaper was reporting on it for weeks. I think Nepal/India is just crazy for American brand experiences.

  7. Great article, Rishi! It’s interesting to think about this on a micro scale — how can businesses adapt when changing their market focus or winning over a new customer base?

    • wow – never thought about it that way.

      That might be really hard to do with mass market products like Dominos. But works great for companies like and 37signals

  8. Hey Rishi, great blog.

    Yes, Domino’s is huge here in India. So is McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. KFC and Costa Coffee are getting there. Just this week, Starbucks has finally inked the deal with one of India’s largest business groups – Tata’s – to open their coffee chains across the nation. So, the next time you visit India, your daily diet is taken care of by these international giants, though in a customised way.

    Oh, and BTW, guess what Jubilant Foodworks, the company that operates Domino’s pizza chain in India, is coming up with next? Dunkin’ Donuts… 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to India, and I do not particularly love Domino’s pizza’s, but I love the story and the conclusions that Rishi draws.

    Now for what Domino’s could change down here (as in Mumbai…): develop a 100 percent eco-friendly way of delivery. Mopeds are un-eco, and besides, here in NL people don’t like how they race through traffic (what you call “weave” so friendly) and how they sound. So, here is their challenge!

    • Insightful comment Ton!

      Running a global fastfood chain and being eco-friendly is a major challenge. Just think of all the cardboard boxes and paper cups companies like Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks go through on a daily basis (in the millions).

      Being eco-friendly is a major challenge. If someone can create products that are cheap and effective for the big chains to adopt they could be very very rich since this is a big concern for all the big players.

      • I think landfill and waste should be taxed, not labour and wage. That would help all of us. So, you nail it, Rishi: big and small players DO have a major challenge with being eco-friendly and sustainable. Governments need to install this on a level playing field, don’t you think?

        • I’m not really sure what the implications of taxing landfill and waste would have on the global economy. So it is hard for me to make a call here.

          If someone can create a product that is eco-friendly and cost effective that would be the best. Currently there isn’t something which is why all the major players use paper based products 🙁

          • The global economy has totally limited resources that are called: soil, oil and ore (and the like) plus meters in square, water and air.

            In the global (that is: Planet-Earth-based) economy these resources have since long not been prized or taxed for what they are really worth. They were seen as gifts (which they are) with no replacement value (but that is untrue). However, non-limited resources like toil have been taxed, and consequently we prefer new goods above repairs, and poverty above being fair.

            The global economy therefore is not sustainable. This is not so much an opinion, as a fact, that not everybody is willing to recognize. I suppose however that you, Rishi and your readers, are clever. Earning money while spending our last resources is not clever economic behaviour. Maybe it looked like that for ages, but it never was. This is what I meant by “taxing landfill and waste in stead of labour and wage”.

            Do we agree? Do you see what we as entrepreneurs are called to do to serve the globe? Our challenge is: we must do better! Not only better than our competitor, but better than governments and citizens can imagine. The biggest problems are the most worth solving! Way to go, Domino!

  10. enjoyed the article, rishi, thanks, did you eat any of the pizza there? wondering what you thought (living in chicago, i don’t do domino’s)

    hope all is well. would love to grab coffee if/when you’re in chicago.

    • Kenny – great to hear from you!

      Yes, I did eat the Pizza there. It was awesome.

      Domino’s (US Version) has really reinvented itself over the past 3 years. If you are a pizza lover give them another chance. They don’t taste like cardboard anymore.

  11. Now that is an interesting story but you know what will be more interesting.

    An Indian product company making it big in US by understanding and customizing for the US market. I know companies like have done well – but they are exceptions, not the norm. This despite Indian doing well in US. Hubspot and Udemy come to mind immediately.

    We @ are trying to build a global learning marketplace. US is an important market but different from India – not just in content but in how to market, sell and position. Let’s see how it goes 🙂

    BTW : Great blog. And you got a follower 🙂

    • Great comment. I’d love to see a Dosa chain take over the US 🙂

      Right now all the US franchises have a ton of capital and infrastructure to quickly try out experiments in different countries. Which is why you only see US franchises everywhere else. My only worry is that this will make it harder for new fast food chains to emerge.

      Zoho is a definite exception. What are your thoughts on companies like ?

      PS WizIQ is cool – is it for India or US?

  12. @flipkart is completely Indian in DNA. There main innovation has been in payment options and delivery. That was where e-commerce in India lacked. Figuring out what needs innovation in US while sitting in India is tough. Further, the challenge in India is fast from complete. I don’t think they will get the bandwidth to think US.

    @wiziq & @wiziqcourses are global. UAE, Singapore, South Africa, US, UK, India are the key markets right now. I sometimes wonder whether that’s a good thing or bad 🙂

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  14. Nice article. I was in India several years ago working with one of our dev companies, keeping some late nights and was getting tired of hotel food. I would call Dominos when leaving the office and by the time I had made it to my hotel a hot pizza would be waiting for me. The great thing is it tasted like my local Dominos at home.

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