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As we move into 2015, we see much to be excited about in the areas of technology and restaurant innovation. The past few years have seen a number of changes and technical advancements in the restaurant industry – but what is coming over the next few years will be much more disruptive… much more amazing… and much more challenging in terms of overall effects on restaurant companies. The Restaurant 3.0 World is here – and it’s bringing all manner of amazing change and tremendous opportunity.

So… what’s Dom got to do with it?

Everything.

Dom is the name of the “[clink id="2" target="_blank" title="About Siri" rel="nofollow"]Siri[/clink]-like” Dominos Voice-Enabled Mobile Ordering App that is the latest enhancement to Dominos mobile ordering platform. And it’s the talk of the town right now. Dom is a playful, game-lite app that enhances Dominos mobile ordering platform by providing consumers with voice ordering via Android or IPhone. Dom will take orders, suggest additions to a customer’s meal choice, and even help find coupons for the best pizza deals. It will even give interesting answers and snappy comebacks to non-pizza requests.

“Mobile customers are not only going to love the ease of this landmark ordering experience, but they now have the opportunity to have some fun with Dom himself, who has a few more things to say than before,” said Dominos CEO, Patrick Doyle.

The Dom app was created for Dominos by [clink id="3" target="_blank" title="Nuance Communications Inc." rel="nofollow"]Nuance Communications, Inc.[/clink], who, according to the [clink id="4" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]joint press release[/clink], is “a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world.”

Before Dom came around, Dominos was already a technological leader, and their ordering apps have been downloaded more than 10 million times according to a [clink id="5" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]company press release[/clink]. The Dom app has been downloaded more than 5 million times since it was made available in June of 2014. And though it was released on that date, it was not truly “launched” until October of 2014 when the company began a well-funded advertising campaign from [clink id="6" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Crispin, Porter & Bogusky[/clink]. Over the past several months, the app has been enhanced and improved according to Dominos and to Dom itself… and if you ask Dom… he’ll tell you: “I’m many updates wiser than when I first started.”

As amazing as Dom is, I can’t help but wonder what happens when every restaurant has a voice ordering app – or at least every fast food and fast casual restaurant? ([clink id="7" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Nielsen[/clink] has some [clink id="8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]interesting observations[/clink] in this area for those who are interested.)

Anyway… I digress.

To restate the question… with millions of apps already available – and millions more on developers’ drawing boards, when do we reach the point of App saturation?

What I like to refer to as “App-athy”…

I think that leaders in the restaurant industry have to address this and other related questions – especially if they are considering spending millions and millions of dollars to develop an app – and then dropping millions upon millions more advertising and supporting that app.

Even Dominos – with a cool (and very expensive) app, huge media spend, and an early mover advantage – has only achieved between somewhere 5 million and 6 million downloads. That’s like getting all the folks in Colorado and missing the rest of the country.

But what if there was an “app” that could service every person in America with a phone? What if they could get that app easily and quickly at the time they are placing an order with their favorite restaurant? What if that app cost far less to institute across a restaurant brand than the incredible cost that a Dom-like app would be?

Well… that app exists. Right now.

And I’ll talk about it some more in my next installment.

To your success in the Restaurant 3.0 World!

Steve

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