Why Dominos' virtual assistant struggles to understand your orders

Dominos CIO Kevin Vasconi is bullish on virtual assistant technology, but says that natural language processing and artificial intelligence technologies require more polish.

By Clint Boulton
Aug. 25, 2016

The formula is working. Last year, Dominos generated $4 billion in ecommerce sales worldwide, including $2 billion in the U.S. Of those orders, half came via mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. In the July quarter, Dominos reported $339.3 million in sales, a 12 percent increase from a year ago. The company is also expanding domestically and abroad, adding 244 stores, mostly overseas.

Ideally, Vasconi says he’d like to make it as easy for people to order from Dominos as it is for him to pick up his dry cleaning or order a drink at his favorite bar. When he pulls up to the former, the dry cleaner recognizes his car and gets his clothes ready. And when he enters the bar, the bartender often has his favorite cocktail waiting.

Ordering pizza is much more complex today but Vasconi says that it doesn’t have to be, if Dominos finds the right formula of voice and natural language processing and multi-platform support to reach every consumer. “If we can get to that level of service, we are going to win,” Vasconi says. “We are going to clean up.”

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