Store Wars: Domino’s and Pizza Hut

Each week we look at retailers competing in the same sector. This week it’s a dough-based dust up as two pizza takeaways come under the spotlight

Each week we look at two shops competing in the same sector, and review what they are offering customers: from how helpful the staff are to the best bargains on offer.

Our review will be based on a visit to stores on the same high street, or online, so it will be just a snapshot of how the retailer is performing.

To get a better idea of which retailers are delivering and which are falling short, we would like you to tell us about your experiences of the same shops.

Some weeks, both stores we visit may do a good job; other weeks there will be one that stands out as being much better or worse. Your reviews will help us discover if this is a trend.

This week, we compare the take-away operations on offer from Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut.

Domino’s Pizza

Background Domino’s Pizza began life in 1960 when Tom Monaghan bought a local takeaway in Michigan. After finding success in his home state, Monaghan expanded the chain across the US and then around the world. The firm’s first UK franchise opened in Luton in 1985 and it now has nearly 700 stores in the UK.

The visit 8.30pm, 20 August, Hartlepool.

What it sells Pizza, side orders, drinks and desserts.

First impressions A well presented shop with bright, welcoming signage on the front of the building. Inside it was spotless and a member of staff came to the counter to assist me soon after I entered. The range of pizzas and other food on offer was well presented on signs at the front of the shop, and a small seating area was available by the window for use when waiting for orders.

What were the staff like? Adept. They fielded phone calls, took care of online orders and served customers.

Best bargain Any size pizza for £8.99 when collected.

What does it charge? Medium double pepperoni pizza (eight slices), £13.99; seven chicken strips, £4.50; 1.25 litre bottle of Coca-Cola, £1.89; small margherita pizza (six slices), £6.99.

Where can I pay? Everything operates from one large counter at the front of the shop, although customers can pay in advance using Domino’s website and phone apps.

Is loyalty rewarded? No.

Lasting impressions The selection of food on offer was impressive, from regular pizzas and sides to a recently launched gourmet range, which included pizzas made using ingredients such as baby spinach and feta cheese. It was also offering a number of Mexican-themed pizzas for a limited time.

Overall rating 8/10.

Pizza Hut

Background Pizza Hut was founded by brothers Dan and Frank Carney in 1958 in the state of Kansas. The first British restaurant opened in Islington, London, in 1973, with the first delivery store opening 15 years later. It now has 700 locations in the UK, with half of this figure compromising restaurants which offer a collection service and the remainder offering takeaway only.

The visit 8pm, 20 August, Hartlepool.

What it sells Pizza, side orders, drinks and desserts.

First impressions Small but perfectly formed, this takeaway Pizza Hut is in the same building as a fully fledged restaurant. It was clean and tidy on this visit, with a comfy seating area for customers to wait for their order.

What were the staff like? Courteous. My order was slightly delayed and a member of staff kindly offered a drink while I waited.

Best bargain A meal deal offering two large pizzas, a classic side and a 2 litre bottle of soft drink for £19.95.

What does it charge? Large double pepperoni pizza (eight slices), £14.55; Five chicken strips, £3.95; 2 litre Pepsi, £2.29; regular margherita pizza (six slices), £6.75.

Where can I pay? Orders are placed and collected at the single large window. Customers can pay in advance online or in-store when collecting their order.

Is loyalty rewarded? No.

Lasting impressions While this branch offered a smaller choice of pizzas than some dedicated Pizza Hut takeaway outlets, the option for customers to create their own pizza means all but the most exotic pizza eaters are catered for. Despite the smaller range the number of desserts on offer was particularly impressive, with profiteroles, chocolate fudge cake and banoffee cookie dough all on the menu.

Overall rating 8/10.

Adam’s verdict Two evenly matched chains, which clearly take much inspiration from each other. Domino’s and Pizza Hut run identical “buy one, get one free” offers each Tuesday, and their menus contain a broadly similar range of offers to entice customers ordering several items.

Prices were about the same level, although the sizing systems were oddly different, a large pizza from Pizza Hut being equivalent to a medium from Domino’s.

This branch of Pizza Hut had a far smaller range of sides on offer than its rival, with just six items on the menu compared to 14 at Domino’s, but offered a far more adventurous selection of desserts. A dead heat.

Last week

In the battle of the bakers, Greggs edged out Percy Ingle winning 42% of the 727 votes to Ingle’s 25%. But readers were less than positive about its products.

today12 wrote:

“I went to a Greggs in Chelmsford once to buy some brown rolls, only to be told that they don’t sell brown bread.”

ofghent added:

“I buy stuff from there from time to time, but for convenience and price rather than because they are more desirable than other options.”

But dinky1971 was more effusive with their praise:

“Greggs’ chargrilled chicken rolls with honey and mustard mayo have my heart, as do their chicken and mango sandwiches. Tres exotique in the Midlands!”

There were noticeably few comments about Percy Ingle, although AndrewHa’s criticism makes for interesting reading:

“Percy Ingle is awful. The one by me had pretty much the worst staff I’ve ever encountered. They were consistently lazy, slow and rude. They were put out that I had the temerity to go into the shop where they worked and ask if I could buy a sandwich. Also got the change wrong on a number of occasions. I stopped going there after giving it a chance as it’s the closest place to my work.”

Let us know which of today’s retailers you favour, or if you aren’t a fan of either or think another offers better choice or prices. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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