(Continued from page 3)

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino’s Pizza already had looked into a more fast-casual-like restaurant design, having debuted its first “pizza theater” prototype in August 2012. But the brand revealed earlier this month that it would remodel all of its nearly 5,000 domestic units to the design by the end of 2017.

Officials have said repeatedly that, while the prototype does have more seating, the “pizza theater” design is not about increasing dine-in sales but rather letting the “theater” aspect reinforce the chain’s branding efforts around a pizza higher in quality than its previous incarnation.

Remodeled units will have better sight lines into more modern-looking dining rooms, which in turn will have more visibility of the make line where pizza dough is stretched and fresh toppings are added.

Chief executive Patrick Doyle conceded to securities analysts attending Domino’s Investor Day event that fast-casual pizza brands are pitching themselves as offering better-quality food, modern restaurant designs, convenience and relative value.

“The most important definition of fast casual … to my mind, is giving consumers what they want today, versus what you built your business around 25 years ago,” he said. “There was one thing that wasn’t completed yet for Domino’s, which is that you’ve got to have a better-looking restaurant.”

Industry consultant Gordon agreed that it would be helpful to Domino’s to migrate away from how it was founded and grown under Tom Monaghan, “which is get a cheap storefront and deliver a ton of pizza.”

“The United States is so diverse that you need to have both kinds of restaurant — a delivery store and one more inviting to diners,” Gordon said. “It’s a way to change existing perceptions and to generate other incremental dayparts. Domino’s did a nice job rolling out sandwiches, but pizza is still skewed heavily toward the evening, and it’s very hard to make it on just one daypart.”