For those of you who read last issue’s Market Street, I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that the hummus incident has been resolved. It’s unclear whether the price change was a direct result of my bitter condemnation, but I’ll happily take the credit.
You probably haven’t heard of Sean Geddes, but you may well be familiar with his work. Mr. Geddes was the mastermind behind the Domino’s Pizza trucks that visited St Andrews last year. He is the largest Domino’s franchisee in Scotland, having built up an empire of over a dozen units from 2001, when he started with only one store in Dundee. Formerly an event logistics manager for TNT, Sean Geddes’ innovation and enterprise earned him the much coveted title of Mr Pizzanality at the Domino’s annual franchise awards in 2011. While continuing to expand in Scotland, he is now helping to lead Domino’s drive into Germany by opening up a unit in Aachen, a university town close to the Netherlands and Belgium.
Domino’s recent success, with year-to-date like-for-like sales up by 5.6%, can be attributed in no small measure to entrepreneurial franchisees like Mr Geddes.
Domino’s stores tend to thrive in towns with a high proportion of students. They do especially well when the weather is bad, as the thought of curling up with a movie and a pizza delivered to you (with no delivery charge) becomes much more appealing than walking into town and braving the cold and rain. It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise then, that if there were a Domino’s store in St Andrews it might actually do rather well.
First, the store would create jobs, many of which would potentially be part-time positions that could be filled by students.
I reject the assertion, made by some, that a Domino’s store would kill local pizza businesses in St Andrews. There is nowhere in St Andrews that offers pizza as its main focus; Pizza Express, Zizzi and Bella Italia do all offer takeaway pizza, but it cannot be delivered. Empire and Dervish offer a different product at a different price. Additionally, Domino’s wouldn’t allow the possibility of sitting in, making it unlikely that they will steal the lucrative post-2am business. The famous Two for Tuesdays deal (just one example of Domino’s regular deals and promotions) is sure to be a hit with students.
This week, Gabriel Ross shares his controversial opinion of the latest food chain to hit St Andrews, Nando’s. What he cannot ignore, however, is that the restaurant is almost always full, and it hasn’t (in my opinion) detracted in any significant way from the charm of our little town. Many view St Andrews as the last bastion of independent businesses, but this is the same view that is behind such popular ideas as the town centre HMO restriction and the opposition to the Kenly wind farm. Chains often benefit from having inbuilt consumer recognition, pre-existing customer loyalty and an infrastructure that other businesses could only dream of.
The ability to order food on your laptop, tablet or phone, have it delivered straight to your door for free, and complain to a full dedicated customer service team should something go wrong, has been missing from St Andrews for too long. There is no good reason why this should be the case, which is why I am personally looking forward to the new St Andrews branch of Domino’s, if the rumours are to be believed.