Domino’s Pizza hits 1000 store milestone in Japan

Dominos Japan 1000 store
The milestone store opened in Tokyo. (Source: Supplied)

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (DPE) has reached a mega 1000 stores in Japan. This milestone makes the Japanese market the largest by store footprint for DPE. It is also the third largest Domino’s market outside of the US, after India and the UK.

Domino’s entered the Japanese market in 1985 and DPE bought a majority stake in 2013. Four years later the Aussie-based business acquired the remaining 25 per cent.

DPE group CEO and managing director Don Meij reflected on the majority investment a decade ago.

“We knew Japan was an opportunity like no other, but pizza purchasing behaviour  was quite different to our other market.”

Pizza was viewed as a premium, occasion product rather than an everyday purchase.

DPE grew the Domino’s Japan business through franchising

“At the time, Domino’s only operated in 17 of Japan’s 47 prefectures and only 43 of its 259 stores were franchised. We could see we had extremely experienced operators, but without the means to grow,” Meij said.

Today local franchisees own and operate more than half (626) of the stores. APAC CEO Josh Kilimnik said “We’re seeing more store managers wanting to franchise and more franchisees wanting to become multi-unit franchisees.”

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the milestone event. The opening of the 100th store at Koto Furuishiba in Tokyo was attended by Meij and Kilimnik, along with the CEO of Domino’s Pizza Japan Martin Steenks and Domino’s Pizza Japan founder Ernest M Higa.

“Reaching 1,000 stores is a very significant milestone, not only for Japan, but for Domino’s globally,” Meij said. 

“The team in Japan are continually inspiring us all with what’s possible – whether it’s  raising the bar in operational excellence or creating some of the most exciting menu  innovations on the planet. They have become true world leaders.” 

Domino’s goal to lead pizza market in Japan

Kilimnik, who served as Domino’s Japan CEO and president between 2018 and 2022, commented on the key drivers of the business.

He pointed to a revitalised menu with premium pizzas alongside a value offer, the implementation of a dynamic online ordering system, and investment in people. 

Domino’s Japan CEO Martin Steenks said the goal is to be the number one pizza company across all of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Currently it has the biggest store count in 30 prefectures.

Steenks said.“We are very confident we will be celebrating 2,000 stores in Japan within the next decade.”