Domino's taps 'Cheers' star Norm in spoof of classic comedy's open

Domino’s wants to let drivers order pizza from behind the wheel; lawmakers want to eliminate long receipts

Fox Business Briefs: Domino’s is launching an app, expected to come pre-loaded on many new vehicles starting later this year, that will allow drivers to order their pizzas from behind the wheel; California lawmakers are reportedly weighing a bill to ban long receipts.

Domino’s is taking a page from other major quick-service restaurants' playbooks that are trying to capitalize on the rising popularity of online ordering.

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The company debuted a commercial Monday poking fun at Norm Peterson, the widely known character from the hit American sitcom "Cheers", in an effort to promote its new mobile app feature allowing customers who order and pay online to skip the line and grab their order.

The “Pie Pass” program, where customers will be greeted by name on the store's digital signage, is seen as an incentive to get consumers to download and sign up for the company’s app.

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DPZDOMINOS PIZZA INC291.60+5.57+1.95%

“We know that carryout customers value speed and simplicity, and that is exactly what they’ll receive with Pie Pass,” said Dennis Maloney, Domino’s senior vice president and chief innovation officer.

The move comes amid a time when consumers are increasingly looking to order online instead of dining out due to the increasing impact of technology and its ability to raise expectations for speed and convenience.

DOMINO'S ROLLS OUT GPS DELIVERY NATIONWIDE

The $26.8 billion online ordering market is the fastest-growing source of restaurant sales in the United States, according to David Portalatin, a food industry adviser for the NPD group. Digital orders, while still accounting for just 5 percent of all restaurant orders, are growing some 20 percent each year. Restaurant visits, meanwhile, remain mostly flat.

The pizza chain behemoth's commercial tugs at diehard "Cheers" fans by integrating original footage of Norm from the TV show combined with a recent recording of his voice. The commercial is centered around the iconic George Wendt, best known for playing Norm Peterson on the American sitcom that spanned 11 seasons from the early 80s to May of 1993 with nearly 300 episodes under its belt.

The spot begins outside, giving those a shot of a Domino’s store built to resemble the iconic “Cheers” bar and even includes a hint of the show’s theme song.

Enter George Wendt as his character Norm Peterson. As Wendt makes his way down the steps, he announces, "I am here to pick up a pizza."

Domino's employee clad in the company's uniform responds, "Name please?"

"Norm," Wendt responds. The move left him perplexed for his character in the show is known for being greeted by the bar's employees upon entering.

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In an effort to bring back some nostalgia, the company integrated original footage of Norm from the TV show combined with his voice in real-time.

Customers who order and pay online or via the app will be eligible to use the new program. Before entering the store, customers can check in on the Domino’s Tracker or order confirmation page. Once inside, there will be an in-store digital menu board with the customers by name.

Well, everyone except Norm that is.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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