As coronavirus makes pizza deliveries soar, Domino’s speeds driver payments

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With more people sheltering at home and grocery stores limiting access, Domino's is seeing a surge in demand for its pizza — and a need to pay delivery drivers their tips and wages after each shift at a time when the credit card orders outpace the cash on hand at each store.

Domino’s embarked on a massive hiring spree shortly after President Trump announced a national emergency in mid-March. According to CNBC, Domino’s expects to hire 10,000 new employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

To make sure those drivers can be paid promptly, Domino's has tasked Branch, a provider of mobile financial management for employees, to integrate with its back-office provider Servant Systems to enable same-day wages, tips and mileage payments.

Servant Systems is the developer for Domino’s PULSE Franchise Office System, which franchisees use to aggregate financial, payroll and other store information with Domino’s in-store order entry system. The PULSE Franchise Office System is used by over 3,000 Domino’s stores globally, according to Branch.

“Pizza delivery has not only been one of the few types of businesses that have been able to stay open during the pandemic, but also among the only employers making major hiring pushes right now," said Atif Siddiqi, founder and CEO of Branch. "One of the benefits many franchise groups have been offering is cash payments of tips after each shift. But as demand is increasingly coming from online and credit card orders, these locations have less cash on hand to provide tips and payments immediately to employees."

The system allows franchisees to pay wages and tips to the Branch digital wallet. Drivers can then withdraw funds at Allpoint ATMs using the Branch debit card.

“We had already been offering employees their tips in cash at the end of each night as a benefit, but they would wait till payday for the rest. Now we have a more convenient way for us to distribute and for them to receive that pay," said Rob Scheiper, partner at MAR Pizza Group (a Domino’s franchisee). "A lot of employees really appreciated having extra money on hand from same-day payment of tips offers and it's even more important now. We think this will help with our recruitment and retention efforts."

The coronavirus has infected more than 760,000 Americans, according to the Johns Hopkins University, forcing many consumers who prefer restaurant food to shift to takeout and delivery.

The Domino's hiring surge comes at a time when the trade group National Restaurant Association has predicted that the restaurant industry will lose a collective $225 billion and be forced to eliminate between 5 million and 7 million jobs between mid-March through mid-June.

Meanwhile Plano, Texas-based rival Pizza Hut is on track to hire 30,000 more team members, as it launched contactless delivery in March 2020 in response to consumer demands for more pizza and less human contact. Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John’s is also ramping up its hiring to meet with demand by adding 20,000 new workers with the ability to apply and start work on the same day, depending on store location. Papa John’s and Domino’s both offer contactless delivery.

In a separate move, Little Caesars Pizza started delivering for the first time in its 60-year history through an exclusive partnership with DoorDash in January.

Last October, Branch partnered with Mastercard and Evolve Bank & Trust to launch a debit Mastercard that would allow hourly employees to get instant access to a portion of their earned but not yet paid wages from their participating employers.

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Coronavirus Gig economy Faster payments Retailers