How to reinvent franchising with tech and transparency

The story of Dodo Pizza — a digital-first pizza delivery franchise
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A letter to the team

A letter to the team

26 November 2019

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

Dodo Pizza CEO

Fyodor Ovchinnikov

Hi everyone! Thoughts on the way from Syktyvkar to Moscow—the #founder_channel is back on air.

Our company is growing and changing. Obviously, new conditions demand a new approach and adjustments to the part the CEO plays. Our team has become so big I don’t even have time to talk to everyone like it used to be. Of course, you can always catch me in the office by the coffee machine or in the cloakroom and ask me your question, but that doesn’t solve the problem of communication on a systemic level. That’s precisely why in this channel I am going to write more about what is going on in our company—about strategy, crucial decisions, our approaches, and culture. Also, from time to time we’re going to conduct general meetings where you’ll be able to ask me anything.

Today, I want to tell you once again the reason why we’ve decided to go “beyond pizza” and what business we’re going to be doing.

We’ve done a whole lot in eight years to become the largest pizza chain in Russia. We’ve developed our own digital platform, made a groundbreaking QA system, a supply chain, training system, our own design team, one of the best photo studios on the food photography market, an awesome training center for franchisees and pizza shop employees, and many other things. We’ve inspired more than two hundred entrepreneurs to go into business, and together we’ve created more than fifteen thousand jobs in Russia alone. We’ve proved that you can do business transparently, creating value for all its participants—our customers, employees, partners, and the managing company.

In the time that we’ve been growing, we’ve accumulated experience and unique expertise in bridging the gap between IT and retail in a single product. And if we’ve got the chance to create value and improve people’s lives in other areas, we must do so. We can do more than pizza.

I’ve always been a dreamer. Once upon a time, or just nine years ago, ideas of a global pizza chain built around an IT core seemed like actual insanity, because I was writing my posts from the basement of a half-finished pizza shop in the middle of nowhere. But big things get made from the combination of two things—absolute faith in the fact that all of your dreams are achievable, and being ready to create value little by little, every day.

The “digital franchising platform” strategy is a long-term choice. A long-term vision. We are going to assemble this large jigsaw puzzle carefully, step by step, developing franchising concepts on the food market, uniting IT and retail, in partnership with entrepreneurs who fuel these businesses with human energy. We won’t hurry, because on our market it’s never late to make a quality product, but we’ll always know that our business has no bounds, and our world is limitless, and every new product, every new achievement or mistake is an experience in our big journey.

I’ve never wanted to just make a bunch of money and “retire.” An opportunity to contribute something valuable doing what you love is the best reward in itself. I enjoy the very process of creation and working with good people. We’ve been lucky, we’ve built a company that’s got a unique culture and have remained free. We can do many things the way we see fit.

We don’t have rich investors that shape our company’s culture and strategy. We make money. And we have to retain that ability, which means we have to be efficient, act boldly, but carefully and gradually. On November 28, in the company leaders’ council we will present new concepts to launch. If the council accepts our ideas, December 1 we will announce the official start for the projects.

This is only the beginning.

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