This time, the TV-loving Schnatter took aim at Domino's Pizza (DPZ - Get Report) technology, which has played a key role in the pizza chain clobbering Papa's John's in terms of sales growth over the last year. Said Schnatter to a group of students during an event at the University of Louisville College of Business on Friday, "I think their [Domino's] PR work is brilliant, frankly -- the things they're doing with technology, they don't particularly work, but people seem to like it."
Judging by the numbers, Domino's technology sure seems to work pretty well.
The company reported domestic same-store sales surged 10.7% year over year in the fourth quarter. For the year, Domino's cooked up a 12% same-store sales gain in the U.S. Meantime, Papa John's saw its system-wide sales in North America rise a paltry 1.9% in the fourth quarter. The result badly lagged Domino's, and marked a slowdown from the 4.2% growth rate (also much slower than Domino's) delivered for the entire year.
Shares of Domino's have gained about 40% in the past year compared to a 6.1% drop for Papa John's.
Domino's impressive year of sales in 2015 come as the company has made a big push digitally in an effort to make it easier for folks to order pizza. For example, the company debuted a capability that allows people to order pizza via Twitter last year, and more recently introduced an app that will place an order with one touch.
In September, the company launched its first rewards program -- for every order of $10 or more, a user snags 10 points. After amassing 60 points, customers can get a free, medium two-topping pizza.
"We have spent a lot of time trying to grow digital penetration in the U.S.," Domino's president and CEO Patrick Doyle told TheStreet in a Feb. 25 interview. "Now that it is the majorly of our business, we are turning our attention a bit more to how can we drive more sales from the customers that are already there digitally -- the first example of that is the loyalty program, which is digital only."
About 50% of Domino's business is derived from digital orders.
To its credit, Papa John's was the first national chain to launch online ordering -- back in 2001 -- and has long had a well-regarded rewards program. About 50% of its sales are placed digitally.
Schnatter managed to get in a parting shot, too.
"The car will dry that pizza out," said Schnatter about Domino's new DXP concept delivery car, which is currently being featured in its TV marketing.