Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping Domino’s, the world’s largest pizza chain, to check the quality of pizzas sold and improve standards across its many franchises. The company decided to partner with Dragontail Systems to deploy the DOM pizza checker in 850 stores across Australia and New Zealand. DOM uses computer vision, a key AI technology that attempts to capture and interpret images or videos in a meaningful or useful way.
The technology at a glance
The camera captures the image of pizzas placed on the cutting bench and analyses the pizza to make sure it meets Domino’s quality standards. If the product meets the company’s standards, the system matches the pizza to the appropriate order, displaying it on the screen with a corresponding quality score.
If one of the pizzas has an issue, the checker will alert the manager with a visual pop-up and a sound, displaying the problem detected (for example, toppings not properly distributed or burnt crust). The manager can then decide either to agree with the computer, in which case the system will automatically relog the order, or override it, whereby the system will keep a log but move on to the next pizza. A thumbnail of the picture is then sent to Domino’s tracker, allowing customers to check their pizza, targeting a growing desire for transparency.
The project took almost two years from the first agreement to complete deployment and the solution has evolved over this time. It now only takes two seconds from the pizza being placed on the bench for analysis to appear on the screen.
The data collected can help with long-term improvements
In addition, the system keeps a log of all the inputs and sends it to Domino’s headquarters. This allows the head office to check products sold under its brand name and score each store, potentially allowing Domino’s to allocate training resources effectively and reducing the need for auditing.
Now that the solution has been deployed, it can be enhanced with additional features. To respond to the increased customer attention to health and safety, for example, the two companies added a cleanliness-checking feature to the camera, which makes sure the cutting bench is cleaned as often as the company’s standards require.
Can’t argue with the results
Domino’s claims to have witnessed a 14% to 15% improvement in product quality in stores that have installed the cameras. While the cameras’ adoption was not entirely smooth, with scepticism of the technology causing initial doubts in some franchises, the overall project was received quite well. Franchisees also added that it created a climate of positive competition, motivating employees to improve the quality of their pizzas.
After years of bold proclamations that resulted in AI becoming overhyped, the technology is finally being deployed in real-world applications and delivering tangible benefits. In the foodservice sector, AI is helping to solve a range of everyday challenges, from delivery route optimisation to demand forecasting and tailored marketing. Domino’s has successfully integrated the technology in its everyday operation, making AI the perfect topping.