Domino’s now using cameras to assess whether your pizza is good [Updated]

Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Update, July 15, 2019: Apparently the DOM Pizza Checker has been a fast success. Pizza Marketplace reports product customers’ quality scores for Domino’s pizzas rose 15% since the tool was introduced in Australia and New Zealand. With those measurable results, the company says U.S. locations are watching the technology closely to decide whether or not to implement it stateside.

Original story, May 28, 2019: Whatever you might think of Domino’s as a purveyor of pizza, you have to give it to the company for going to great lengths to improve its reputation for being a low-tier chain. From road maintenance around the country to giving customers points for pictures of any pizza at all, from tattoo-based promotions to its Pizza Tracker, the company has scrapped and clawed its way back into the light through no shortage of effort.

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Now, like so many other carry-out chains, Domino’s is turning to modern technology to help it not just recover, but to thrive. In Australia and New Zealand, the company is debuting its new DOM Pizza Checker artificial-intelligence technology, which will allow franchises to digitally verify topping distribution, temperature, and other key aspects of a good pizza within seconds, by way of a camera mounted over the prep station.

A response to common customer complaints about pizzas not appearing as advertised upon delivery, the DOM Pizza Checker will also eventually be able to interface with customers before their food leaves the store. Domino’s Australia CEO Nick Knight notes that customers will be able to quality-check their own pizza from home as well, through DOM: “Later this year we will be releasing even more features, including the ability to provide customers with a real-time image of their pizza on the cut bench. As part of this process, they will also be notified if their pizza has failed our strong quality testing, resulting in a remake.”

As somebody who once worked in the kitchen of a similarly speed-minded but far more local pizza chain, I’d like to editorialize for just a second and say that when a pizza’s not looking great, the chefs usually know, and are probably having the same anxiety you are about all those toppings sliding off to one side and having to start the whole thing over and oh god, now the boss is mad about the wasted ingredients and yelling about trade tariffs again. It’s a stressful aspect of mass-production cooking, and Big Pizza Brother over here probably won’t make it any less so.

For now, the DOM Pizza Checker will be a single-continent endeavor. But if it works, we’d hardly be shocked if it finds its way stateside before long at all.

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