The Brisbane-based company relies heavily on a young workforce and customer base and to match theor expectations Domino’s has flagged a significant shift that gives it a point of difference in the food sector that is dogged by wage theft, poor conditions, health concerns and staff turnover.
Cowin said it wanted Domino’s to be “food without regret”.
But Domino’s has also warned of problems in Japan where sales have slumped and it admitted it can’t forecast an outcome for 2022. It has also warned of higher food costs. Its shares dived 17 per cent this morning on the news before a recovery had them down 12 per cent.
Cowin also said the year ahead would be challenging.
Although there was shift in consumer habits to fast food there were expectations that more than half of all food will be ordered online and delivered, combined with the demand for online shopping deliveries. Domino’s view was there would was that there was not be enough delivery drivers on the planet to meet this demand.
The company said it would continue to invest in technology, “including the use of autonomous vehicles alongside our team members, which are likely to be part of Domino’s delivery fleet in the next decade”.
Further to its push to change the company, Domino’s has appointed a chief ESG officer and a policy ambition of net zero emissions by 2050, produced a modern slavery document and lifted the quality of its food.
He said Domino’s would live up to the responsibility to the younger generation by providing them a role that made a difference in their community.
“This core value of Domino’s is mutually beneficial as our industry faces the likelihood of labour shortages across the next decade, it is the employer with the best trained, most engaged and efficient team that can offer value to customers. We intend to be that employer,” Cowin said.
He said society owed a great debt to the younger generation for carrying out many of the functions in the retail sector during the pandemic.
“Our young people have adapted to home schooling, they’re frequently not been allowed to catch up with friends and loved ones, including grandparents, they’ve not been allowed to travel and in times of fear and uncertainty they have been asked to roll up their sleeves to protect others,” he said.
“At the same time they’ve turned up to their part time jobs, they’ve put on masks, they’ve stood behind plastic barriers and they’ve worked hard and they’ve served communities with a smile.”
Cowin said that two years ago he told shareholders the company values included doing the right thing.
“Let me be clear, our ESG approach (Domino’s for Good) is not about improving our image, but instead about improving our company,” he said.
“We want to offer food without regret, so customers feel good about the safety and quality of our meals and the supply chain that make it possible.”
In its trading update, Domino’s said its Japan market had not emerged well from the state of emergency imposed at the height of the Covid outbreak. Network sales had lifted since the end of the state of emergency but were negative on a one-year basis and management were unable to provide a forecast for 2022.
However, overall sales were up 8 per cent and on a same-store basis 4.3 per cent.
“There’s no question the next six to 12 months will be challenging. That should not be surprising _ the past 18 months have been just as challenging,” Cowin said.
Cowin claimed that growth had outpaced “not only most companies in Australia, but some of the world’s best known technology companies listed on Wall Street” with total shareholder returns since it listed at 8200 per cent.
Alongside its already announced expansion plans for the next decade, Domino’s has also vowed to go green with the appointment of its first chief of ESG and an ESG vision.
“In the next 12 months we will set time-bound and science based targets with an interim goal and an ambition to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2050,” Cowin told the company’s annual general meeting.