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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended January 2, 2022

or

 

[ ] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission File Number 001-32242

 

Domino’s Pizza, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

DELAWARE
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

 

38-2511577
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

30 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
Ann Arbor, Michigan
(Address of principal executive offices)

 

48105
(Zip Code)

 

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (734) 930-3030

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Domino’s Pizza, Inc. Common Stock, $0.01 par value

DPZ

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act: Yes [X] No [ ]

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act: Yes [ ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days: Yes [X] No [ ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files): Yes [X] No [ ]

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer [X] Accelerated filer [ ]

Non-accelerated filer [ ] Smaller reporting company [ ]

Emerging growth company [ ]

 

If emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. [ ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act): Yes [ ] No [X]

 

 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. as of June 20, 2021 computed by reference to the closing price of Domino’s Pizza, Inc.’s common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on such date was $16,864,015,144.

 

As of February 22, 2022, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. had 36,036,184 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding.

 

Documents incorporated by reference:

Portions of the definitive proxy statement to be furnished to shareholders of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. in connection with the annual meeting of shareholders to be held on April 26, 2022 are incorporated by reference into Part III.

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 Part I

Page No.

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business.

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors.

14

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments.

29

Item 2.

Properties.

29

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings.

29

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures.

29

Item 4A.

Executive Officers of the Registrant.

29

 

 

 

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

30

Item 6.

[Reserved].

31

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

32

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

49

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

50

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.

81

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures.

81

Item 9B.

Other Information.

81

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections.

81

 

 

 

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.

82

Item 11.

Executive Compensation.

83

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.

83

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.

83

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services.

83

 

 

 

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.

84

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary.

96

 

 

SIGNATURES

97

 

Throughout this document, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) is referred to as the “Company,” “Domino’s,” “Domino’s Pizza” or in the first-person notations of “we,” “us” and “our.”

 

In this document, we rely on and refer to information regarding the U.S. quick service restaurant, or QSR, sector and the U.S. QSR pizza category from CREST® ongoing foodservice market research (years ending November) prepared by The NPD Group, as well as market research reports, analyst reports and other publicly-available information. Although we believe this information to be reliable, we have not independently verified it. U.S. sales information relating to the U.S. QSR sector and the U.S. QSR pizza category represent reported consumer spending obtained by The NPD Group’s CREST® ongoing foodservice market research from consumer surveys. This information relates to both our Company-owned and franchised stores.

 

2


 

Part I

Item 1. Business.

 

Overview

 

Domino’s is the largest pizza company in the world with more than 18,800 locations in over 90 markets around the world as of January 2, 2022, and operates two distinct service models within its stores with a significant business in both delivery and carryout. Founded in 1960, our roots are in convenient pizza delivery, while a significant amount of our retail sales also come from carryout customers. We are a highly recognized global brand, and we focus on value while serving neighborhoods locally through our large worldwide network of franchise owners and U.S. Company-owned stores. We are primarily a franchisor, with approximately 98% of Domino’s stores currently owned and operated by our independent franchisees. Franchising enables an individual to be his or her own employer and maintain control over all employment-related matters and pricing decisions, while also benefiting from the strength of the Domino’s global brand and operating system with limited capital investment by us.

 

The Domino’s business model is straightforward: Domino’s stores handcraft and serve quality food at a competitive price, with easy ordering access and efficient service, enhanced by our technological innovations. Our hand-tossed dough is made fresh and distributed to stores around the world by us and our franchisees.

 

 

Domino’s generates revenues and earnings by charging royalties and fees to our franchisees. Royalties are ongoing percent-of-sales fees for use of the Domino’s® brand marks. We also generate revenues and earnings by selling food, equipment and supplies to franchisees through our supply chain operations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, and by operating a number of Company-owned stores in the United States. Franchisees profit by selling pizza and other complementary items to their local customers. In our international markets, we generally grant geographical rights to the Domino’s Pizza® brand to master franchisees. These master franchisees are charged with developing their geographical area, and they may profit by sub-franchising and selling food and equipment to those sub-franchisees, as well as by running pizza stores. We believe that everyone in the system can benefit, including the end consumer, who can purchase Domino’s menu items for themselves and their family conveniently and economically.

 

The Domino’s business model can yield strong returns for our franchise owners and our Company-owned stores. It can also yield significant cash flows to us, through a consistent franchise royalty payment and supply chain revenue stream, with moderate capital expenditures. We have historically returned cash to shareholders through dividend payments and share repurchases. We believe we have a proven business model for success, which includes leading with technology, service and product innovation and leveraging our global scale, which has historically driven strong returns for our shareholders.

 

Our History

 

We pioneered the pizza delivery business and have been delivering quality, affordable food to our customers since 1960. We became “Domino’s Pizza” in 1965 and opened our first franchised store in 1967. Over the last 60 years, we have built Domino’s into one of the most widely-recognized consumer brands in the world. We believe our commitment to value, convenience, quality and new products continues to keep consumers engaged with the brand.

 

During 2021, the uncertain environment created by the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic persisted. However, we continued to increase global retail sales, while our supply chain operations experienced higher volumes as a result of the increase in retail sales. In the U.S. we launched our newest side item, Domino’s Oven-Baked Dips in three unique flavors including Cheesy Marinara, Five Cheese and Baked Apple to pair with our Domino’s Bread Twists. Additionally, emphasis on technological innovation helped us achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2021 from digital channels. In the U.S., we have developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Twitter and more. In 2019, we announced a partnership with Nuro to further our exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In 2021 we began a test of pizza delivery with Nuro vehicles in Houston, Texas. In 2020, we also launched a new way to order contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino’s Carside Delivery®, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order, with a two-minute guarantee launched in 2021. This new service method emphasizes our commitment to serving hot and delicious pizza in a convenient, contactless manner.

 

3


 

Since 1998, the Company has been structured with a leveraged balance sheet and has completed a number of recapitalization transactions. The Company’s most recent recapitalization transaction completed in April 2021, (the “2021 Recapitalization”), primarily consisted of the issuance of $1.85 billion of fixed rate notes and a new $200.0 million variable funding note facility. As of January 2, 2022, the Company had $5.07 billion in total debt, which included debt from its 2021 Recapitalization and its previous recapitalization transactions in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015 (the “2019 Recapitalization,” “2018 Recapitalization,” “2017 Recapitalization” and the “2015 Recapitalization,” respectively, and together with the 2021 Recapitalization, the “2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015 Recapitalizations”).

 

Our Industry

 

The U.S. QSR pizza category is large and fragmented. From 2016 through 2021, the U.S. QSR pizza category has grown from $35.9 billion to $40.6 billion. It is the second-largest category within the $304.8 billion U.S. QSR sector. The U.S. QSR pizza category is primarily comprised of delivery, dine-in and carryout, with carryout and delivery comprising the two largest segments.

 

In the U.S., we compete in the delivery and carryout segments of the pizza industry, and we are the dollar market share leader for delivery and a growing leader in carryout. Delivery segment dollars of $19.8 billion in 2021 (up from $13.1 billion in 2016) account for approximately 49% of total U.S. QSR pizza. The four industry leaders, including Domino’s, account for over 59% of U.S. pizza delivery, based on reported consumer spending, with the remaining dollars going to regional chains and independent establishments. From 2016 to 2021, the carryout segment grew from $16.3 billion to $17.5 billion. The four industry leaders, including Domino’s, account for approximately 48% of the U.S. carryout segment. (Source: The NPD Group/CREST®, year ending November 2021).

 

In contrast to the U.S., international pizza delivery is relatively underdeveloped, with only Domino’s and two other competitors having a significant global presence. We believe that demand for pizza delivery and pizza carryout is large and growing throughout the world, driven by international consumers’ increasing emphasis on convenience, and our proven success of more than 35 years of conducting business abroad.

 

Our Competition

 

The global pizza delivery and carryout segments, as well as the broader QSR sector, are highly competitive. In the U.S., we compete against regional and local companies as well as national chains Pizza Hut®, Papa John’s® and Little Caesars Pizza®. Internationally, we compete primarily with Pizza Hut®, Papa John’s® and country-specific national and local pizzerias. We generally compete on the basis of product quality, location, image, service, technology, convenience and price. Our business and those of our competitors can be affected by changes in consumer tastes, economic and health conditions, demographic trends, marketing, advertising, pricing and consumers’ disposable income. We also compete with other food, food delivery and order and delivery aggregation companies, which have continued to grow in size and scale in recent years. We compete not only for customers, but also for management and hourly employees, including store team members, drivers and qualified franchisees, as well as suitable real estate sites.

 

Our Customers

 

Our business is not dependent upon a single retail customer or small group of customers, including franchisees. No customer accounted for more than 10% of total consolidated revenues in 2021, 2020 or 2019. As of January 2, 2022, our largest franchisee based on store count, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (DMP: ASX), operated 3,229 stores in ten international markets, and accounted for 17% of our total store count. Revenues from this master franchisee accounted for 1.7% of our consolidated revenues in 2021. Our international franchise segment only requires a modest amount of general and administrative expenses to support its markets and does not have a cost of sales component. Therefore, the vast majority of these royalty revenues result in profits to us.

 

Our Menu

 

We offer a menu designed to present an attractive, quality offering to customers, while keeping it simple enough to minimize order errors and expedite order-taking and food preparation. Our basic menu features pizza products with varying sizes and crust types. Our typical store also offers oven-baked sandwiches, pasta, boneless chicken and chicken wings, bread and dips side items, desserts and soft drink products. International markets vary toppings by country and culture, such as the Cheese and Corn pizza in India, or the Octopus Bomb Shrimp in Korea, featuring shrimp, octopus, vegetables, feta cream and horseradish sauce.

 

4


 

Store Image and Operations

 

We have been focused on pizza delivery for over 60 years, and we also emphasize carryout as a significant component of our business. The majority of our U.S. and international stores are constructed in the carryout-friendly Pizza Theater design. Many of these stores offer casual seating and enable customers to watch the preparation of their orders, but do not offer a full-service dine-in experience. As a result, our stores generally do not require expensive restaurant facilities and staffing.

 

Our Business Segments

 

We operate, and report, three business segments: U.S. stores, international franchise and supply chain.

 

U.S. Stores

 

During 2021, our U.S. stores segment accounted for $1.50 billion, or 34%, of our consolidated revenues. Our U.S. stores segment consists primarily of our franchise operations, which consisted of 6,185 franchised stores located in the United States as of January 2, 2022. We also operated a network of 375 U.S. Company-owned stores as of January 2, 2022.

 

Directly operating Domino’s stores contributes significantly to our ability to act as a credible franchisor. We also use our Company-owned stores as test sites for technological innovation and promotions as well as operational improvements. We also use them for training new store managers and operations team members, as well as developing prospective franchisees. While we are primarily a franchised business, we continuously evaluate our mix of U.S. Company-owned and franchise stores. As of January 2, 2022, franchised stores represented approximately 94% of our total store count within our U.S. stores segment.

 

U.S. Franchise Profile

 

As of January 2, 2022, our network of 6,185 U.S. franchise stores was owned and operated by 735 independent U.S. franchisees. Our franchise formula enables franchisees to benefit from our brand recognition with a relatively low initial capital investment. As of January 2, 2022, the average U.S. franchisee owned and operated approximately eight stores and had been in our franchise system for over 18 years. Additionally, 22 of our U.S. franchisees operated more than 50 stores (including our largest U.S. franchisee who operated 177 stores) and 216 of our U.S. franchisees each operated one store, each as of that date.

 

We apply rigorous standards to prospective U.S. franchisees. We generally require them to manage a store for at least one year and graduate from our franchise management school program before being granted the right to franchise. This enables us to observe the operational and financial performance of a potential franchisee prior to entering into a long-term agreement. Substantially all of our independent U.S. franchise owners started their careers with us as delivery drivers or in other in-store positions, which we believe offers advantages in terms of familiarity with our business and store operations. In addition, we generally restrict the ability of U.S. franchisees to be involved in other businesses, which we believe helps focus our franchisees’ attention on operating their stores. We believe these characteristics and standards are largely unique within the franchise industry and have resulted in qualified and focused franchisees operating Domino’s stores. We maintain a productive relationship with our independent franchise owners through regional franchise teams, distributing materials that help franchise stores comply with our standards and using franchise advisory groups that facilitate communications between us and our franchisees. We consider our relationship with our U.S. franchisees to be good.

 

U.S. Franchise Agreements

 

We enter into franchise agreements with U.S. franchisees under which the franchisee is generally granted the right to operate a store in a particular location for a term of ten years, with an ability to renew for an additional term of ten years. We had a franchise agreement renewal rate of approximately 99% in 2021. Under the current standard franchise agreement, we assign an exclusive area of primary responsibility to each franchised store. Each franchisee is generally required to pay a 5.5% royalty fee on sales, as well as certain technology fees. In certain instances, we will collect lower rates based on certain incentives.

 

5


 

Our stores in the United States currently contribute 6% of their sales to fund national marketing and advertising campaigns (subject, in certain instances, to lower rates based on certain incentives and waivers). These funds are administered by Domino’s National Advertising Fund Inc. (“DNAF”), our consolidated not-for-profit advertising subsidiary. The funds are primarily used to purchase media for advertising, and also to support market research, field communications, public relations, commercial production, talent payments and other activities to promote the Domino’s brand. In addition to the national and market-level advertising contributions, U.S. stores generally spend additional funds on local store marketing activities.

 

We have the contractual right, subject to state law, to terminate a franchise agreement for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, a franchisee’s failure to adhere to the Company’s franchise agreement, failure to make required payments, or failure to adhere to specified Company policies and standards.

 

International Franchise

 

During 2021, our international franchise segment accounted for $298.0 million, or 7%, of our consolidated revenues. This segment is comprised of a network of franchised stores in more than 90 international markets. As of January 2, 2022, we had 12,288 international franchise stores. The principal sources of revenues from those operations are royalty payments generated by retail sales from franchised stores, as well as certain technology fees.

 

Our international franchisees employ our basic standard operating model and adapt it to satisfy the local eating habits and consumer preferences of various regions outside the U.S. Currently, the vast majority of our international stores operate under master franchise agreements.

 

We believe Domino’s appeals to potential international franchisees because of our recognized brand name and technological leadership, the moderate capital expenditures required to open and operate the stores and the system’s desirable store-level profitability. Stores in seven of our ten largest international markets in terms of store count are operated by master franchise companies that are publicly traded on stock exchanges as noted in the below table. The following table shows our store count as of January 2, 2022 in our ten largest international markets, which accounted for approximately 62% of our international stores as of that date.

 

Market

 

Number of stores

 

India (JUBLFOOD: NS)

 

 

1,495

 

United Kingdom (DOM: L)

 

 

1,169

 

Japan (DMP: ASX)

 

 

882

 

Mexico (ALSEA: MX)

 

 

802

 

Australia (DMP: ASX)

 

 

724

 

Turkey (DPEU: L)

 

 

605

 

Canada

 

 

568

 

South Korea

 

 

475

 

China

 

 

472

 

France (DMP: ASX)

 

 

457

 

 

International Franchisee Profile

 

The vast majority of our markets outside of the U.S. are operated by master franchisees with franchise and distribution rights for entire regions or countries. In a few select markets, we franchise directly to individual store operators. Prospective master franchisees are required to possess local market knowledge to establish and develop Domino’s stores, with the ability to identify and access targeted real estate sites, as well as expertise in local laws, customs, culture and consumer behavior. We also seek candidates that have access to sufficient capital to meet growth and development plans. We consider our relationship with our international franchisees to be good.

 

International Master Franchise and Other Agreements

 

Our international master franchise agreements generally grant the franchisee exclusive rights to develop and sub-franchise stores, and the right to operate supply chain centers in particular geographic areas. Agreements are generally for a term of ten years, with options to renew for additional terms. The agreements typically contain growth clauses requiring franchisees to open a minimum number of stores within a specified period. The master franchisee is generally required to pay an initial, one-time franchise fee as well as an additional franchise fee upon the opening of each new store. The master franchisee is also required to pay a continuing royalty fee as a percentage of sales, which varies among international markets and may also differ based on certain incentives and concessions, and averaged approximately 3.0% in 2021. We also have agreements with certain of our international master franchisees with respect to certain technology fees.

 

 

6


 

Supply Chain

 

During 2021, our supply chain segment accounted for $2.56 billion, or 59%, of our consolidated revenues. We operate 21 regional dough manufacturing and supply chain centers in the U.S., two thin crust manufacturing facilities, one vegetable processing center and one center providing equipment and supplies to our U.S. and certain international stores. We also operate five dough manufacturing and supply chain centers in Canada. We plan to continue investing in additional supply chain centers and capacity initiatives in the future, including one additional regional dough manufacturing and supply chain center that is expected to open in fiscal 2022. Our supply chain segment leases a fleet of more than 900 tractors and trailers. Our centers produce fresh dough and purchase, receive, store and deliver quality food and other complementary items to substantially all of our U.S. stores and most of our Canadian franchised stores. We regularly supply over 7,100 stores with various food and supplies.

 

We believe our franchisees voluntarily choose to obtain food, supplies and equipment from us because we offer the most efficient, convenient and cost-effective alternative, while also offering both quality and consistency. Our supply chain segment offers profit-sharing arrangements to U.S. and Canadian franchisees who purchase all of their food for their stores from our centers. These profit-sharing arrangements generally offer participating franchisees and Company-owned stores with 50% (or a higher percentage in the case of Company-owned stores and certain franchisees who operate a larger number of stores) of the pre-tax profit from our supply chain center operations. We believe these arrangements strengthen our ties to and provide aligned benefits with franchisees.

 

Third-Party Suppliers

 

A significant amount of our annual food spend is with suppliers with whom we maintain long-standing partnerships. Our supply partners are required to meet strict quality standards to ensure food safety. We review and evaluate these partners’ quality assurance programs through (among other actions) on-site visits, third-party audits and product evaluations designed to ensure compliance with our standards. We believe the length and quality of our relationships with third-party suppliers provides us with priority service and quality products at competitive prices.

 

Cheese is our largest food cost. The price we charge to our U.S. franchisees for cheese is formula-based, with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange cheddar block price as the primary component, plus a supply chain markup. As cheese prices fluctuate, our revenues and margin percentages in our supply chain segment also fluctuate; however, actual supply chain dollar margins remain unchanged. We currently purchase our U.S. pizza cheese from a single supplier. Under our September 2017 agreement, our U.S. supplier agreed to provide the Company with an uninterrupted supply of cheese and the Company agreed to a seven-year pricing schedule to purchase all of its U.S. pizza cheese from this supplier. While we expect to meet the terms of this agreement, if we do not, we will be required to repay certain negotiated cost savings as provided in the agreement. The majority of our meat toppings in the U.S. come from a single supplier under a contract that expires in June 2022. We have the right to terminate these arrangements for quality failures and for certain uncured breaches.

 

We have entered into a multi-year agreement with Coca-Cola® for the U.S. This contract, renegotiated in June 2019, provides for Coca-Cola to continue to be our exclusive beverage supplier and expires on December 31, 2023 or at such time as a minimum number of cases of Coca-Cola products are purchased by Domino’s, whichever occurs later.

 

We believe alternative third-party suppliers are available for all of these referenced products. While we may incur additional costs if we are required to replace any of our supply partners, we do not believe such additional costs would have a material adverse effect on our business. We continually evaluate each supply category to determine the optimal sourcing strategy.

 

We have not experienced any significant shortages of supplies or delays in receiving our inventories or products. Prices charged to us by our supply partners are subject to fluctuation, and we have historically been able to pass increased costs and savings on to stores. We periodically enter into supplier contracts to manage the risk from changes in commodity prices. We do not engage in speculative transactions, nor do we hold or issue financial instruments for trading purposes.

 

7


 

Our Strengths

 

Strong Brand Equity

 

We are the largest pizza company in the world and we believe our Domino’s brand is one of the most widely-recognized consumer brands in the world. We are the recognized world leader in pizza delivery and have a significant business in carryout. We believe consumers associate our brand with the timely delivery of quality, affordable food and technological innovation.

 

Over the past five years, our U.S. franchise and Company-owned stores have invested an estimated $2.4 billion in national, co-operative and local advertising. Our international franchisees also invest significant amounts in advertising efforts in their markets. We continue to reinforce our brand with extensive advertising through various media channels.

 

We are the number one pizza delivery company in the U.S. with approximately 31% share of pizza delivery based on consumer spending data for the year ending November 2021. For the same period, we are also a growing leader in carryout with approximately 16% share of carryout pizza consumer spending (Source: The NPD Group/CREST®, year ending November 2021). With 6,560 stores located in the U.S., our store delivery areas cover a majority of U.S. households. Our share position and scale allow us to leverage our purchasing power, supply chain strength and marketing investments. We believe our scale and market coverage allow us to effectively serve our customers’ demands for convenience and timely delivery. Outside the U.S., we have significant market share positions in many of the markets in which we compete.

 

Strong and Proven Business Model

 

Our business model generates U.S. and international franchise royalties and fees, supply chain revenue and retail sales at Company-owned stores. We have developed this model over our many years of operation, and it is anchored by strong store-level economics, which provide an entrepreneurial incentive for our franchisees and historically has generated demand for new stores. Over the past ten years, average U.S. store profitability in the Domino’s system has increased meaningfully, resulting in higher profitability for our franchise owners. Our franchise system, in turn, has produced strong and consistent earnings for us through royalty payments and through supply chain revenues.

 

We developed a cost-efficient store model, characterized by a delivery- and carryout-oriented store design, with moderate capital requirements and a menu of quality, value-oriented and affordable items. At the store level, we believe the simplicity and efficiency of our operations give us significant advantages over our competitors, who, in many cases, also focus on dine-in or have broader menu offerings. At the supply chain level, we believe we provide quality, good value and consistency for our franchise customers while also driving profits for us, which we share with our franchisees under the profit-sharing arrangements described above.

 

Our menu simplifies and streamlines production and delivery processes and maximizes economies of scale on purchases of our principal food items. In addition, our stores, including those in our Pizza Theater image, are generally smaller and less expensive to build, furnish and maintain as compared to many other restaurant concepts, and they create a positive experience for our carryout customers. The combination of this efficient store model and strong sales volume has resulted in strong store-level economics and, we believe, makes Domino’s an attractive business opportunity for existing and prospective franchisees around the world. We and our franchisees are continuing to focus on growing our global store count. In recent years, we have focused specifically on increasing our presence in our existing markets to provide better service to our customers, including shrinking our delivery areas to provide better delivery service and adding locations that are closer to our carryout customers. We call this approach our fortressing strategy.

 

We believe our store financial returns have led to a strong, well-diversified franchise system. This established franchise system has produced strong cash flows and earnings for us, enabling us to invest in the Domino’s brand, stores, technology and supply chain centers, pay dividends, repurchase and retire shares of our common stock and service our debt obligations.

 

8


 

Technological Innovation

 

Technological innovation is vital to our brand and our long-term success, and digital ordering is critical to competing in the global pizza and broader QSR industries. Emphasis on technological innovation helped us achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2021 from digital channels. In the U.S., we have developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Twitter and more. In 2019, we announced a partnership with Nuro to further our exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In 2020, we added GPS to our Domino’s Tracker, which allows customers to monitor the progress of their food, from the preparation stages to the time it is in the oven to the time it arrives at their doors. In mid-2020, we launched a new way to order contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino’s Carside Delivery, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order.

 

Our Piece of the Pie Rewards® loyalty program is meant to reward customers with a program that is simple to understand and easy to use. Upon signing up for the program, customers become rewards members and can earn points for their orders. When rewards members reach a certain amount of points, they can redeem their points for free pizza. Rewards members may also receive exclusive members-only discounts and bonus offers. We may also occasionally provide additional opportunities for participating customers to benefit under the Piece of the Pie Rewards program.

 

This improved functionality has been developed to work seamlessly with our Domino’s PULSE point-of-sale system. Our Domino’s PULSE system is designed to drive operating efficiencies for our franchisees and our corporate management and assist franchisees in independently managing their business. As of January 2, 2022, Domino’s PULSE is being used in every Company-owned and franchised store in the U.S. and in approximately 77% of our international stores. We believe utilizing Domino’s PULSE with our integrated technology solutions throughout our system provides us with competitive advantages over other concepts. We intend to continue to enhance and grow our online ordering, digital marketing and technological capabilities.

 

Product Innovation

 

We believe our core hand-tossed pizza recipe has contributed to long-term growth in customer reorder rates, consumer traffic and increased sales. This recipe is now in use in other markets around the world. Our more than 60 years of innovation have resulted in numerous new product developments. During 2021, we launched our newest side item, Domino’s Oven-Baked Dips, in three unique flavors including Cheesy Marinara, Five Cheese and Baked Apple to pair with our Domino’s Bread Twists. Product innovation is also present in our global markets, where our master franchisees have the ability to recommend products to suit their local market tastes. Products can range from simple to indulgent, including the Cheese Fondue Fire Meat in Japan (cheese, tomato and truffle cream sauce, barbeque pork, bacon and vegetables) and the Saumoneta in France (light cream, potatoes, onions, smoked salmon and dill).

 

Internal Dough Manufacturing and Supply Chain System

 

In addition to generating significant revenues and earnings in the U.S. and Canada, we believe our vertically integrated dough manufacturing and supply chain system enhances the quality and consistency of our products, enhances our relationships with franchisees and leverages economies of scale to offer lower costs to our stores. It also allows store managers to focus on store operations and customer service by relieving them of the responsibility of mixing dough in the stores and sourcing other ingredients. Many of our international master franchisees also profit from running supply chain businesses in their respective markets.

 

 

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Human Capital

 

As of January 2, 2022, we had approximately 13,500 employees, including 9,000 employees supporting our U.S. Company-owned stores and U.S. franchise operations (our U.S. stores segment), approximately 3,000 employees supporting our U.S. and Canadian supply chain operations (our supply chain segment), approximately 100 employees supporting our international franchise operations (our international franchise segment) and approximately 1,400 corporate employees. Approximately 6,100 of our employees are part-time and approximately 7,400 are full-time equivalent. Our franchisees are independent business owners, so their employees are not our employees and therefore are not included in our employee count. None of our employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good.

Purpose and Values

 

We are a purpose-inspired and performance-driven company with exceptional people committed to feeding the power of possible, one pizza at a time. At the heart of our brand is a commitment to a set of values that define our core beliefs on how we run our business, treat our people, support our franchisees and serve our customers.

 

Do the Right Thing: We act with integrity and make disciplined decisions, even when it’s difficult or unpopular. High ethical standards and uncommon honesty are at the heart of how we work together. We are committed to safely and responsibly serving our customers, and to giving back to the communities where we live and work.

 

Put People First: We create an inclusive culture, knowing our people are core to our success. We treat each other with dignity and respect, and we value the differences each team member brings. We strive to be a company where all team members can bring their full selves to work and know that they can belong, contribute and reach their potential.

 

Create Inspired Solutions: We are a company built on entrepreneurship and innovation. We get better every day by having the humility and the courage to embrace and lead change. Together, we unlock our collective potential to be bold and think big. We have a bias for action to solve customer needs in new and relevant ways.

 

Champion our Customers: We deliver on our promises, treating each order and interaction as an opportunity to deepen relationships by delivering great products, services and experiences. We hold ourselves accountable, and if we don’t deliver on a promise, we are committed to making it right.

 

Grow and Win Together: We are not playing a finite game. We are committed to building an enduring brand that outlives any of our individual contributions. We will grow together, deliver exceptional results together, celebrate wins together, have fun together, and leave the Domino’s brand in a better place for those that come after.

 

Compensation and Benefits

 

Exceptional people are the core of our business. We are committed to providing competitive pay and benefits to attract and retain great talent, whether in our U.S. Company-owned stores, in our supply chain centers or in our corporate offices. We enable this by benchmarking and analyzing pay and benefits both externally and internally. In recent years, we have made continued investments in frontline team member wage rates in our U.S. Company-owned stores and supply chain centers. We are committed to providing pay equity for all employees.

 

Domino’s offers a comprehensive benefits package to eligible team members. We also make available to our team members several benefits designed to promote an inclusive workplace like paid parental leaves, adoption support, discounted childcare tuition, and health plans that are available to dependents, spouses and domestic partners and include fertility and gender transition support. We also offer eligible team members a 401(k) plan, education assistance, access to financial education, a back-up childcare network and access to legal assistance.

 

 

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Beyond basic insurance programs, Domino’s offers other wellness services to help team members manage and optimize their health. These no-cost programs include smoking cessation, diabetes and hypertension management, at-home physical therapy, and emotional support through Domino’s team member assistance program for all part-time and full-time team members and their dependents. Additionally, we provide up to 40 hours per year of sick time for all part-time and full-time team members, with no waiting period for our part-time team members who begin accruing sick pay on their first day of hire, and access to an outside wellness platform featuring 4,000+ videos on topics like mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and financial well-being.

 

Talent Development and Recruiting

 

Having best-in-class talent across the globe is crucial to all aspects of Domino’s business, brand and long-term success. We are focused on attracting, developing and retaining high-performing, diverse teams and building an inclusive culture that inspires leadership, encourages innovative thinking and supports the development and advancement of all team members. Domino’s team members are empowered to drive their own success through different resources, training, and several development programs, including our G.O.L.D. (Global Operations Leadership Development) Program, our Supply Chain Services Driver Development Program and our Tech Rotation Program.

 

Our success will continue to depend on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel to operate our stores, dough manufacturing and supply chain centers and international operations. To continue to strengthen our ability to attract and retain talent, in 2021 we launched a new Applicant Tracking System and have made continued investments in frontline team member wage rates in our U.S. Company-owned stores. On an annual basis, we also review scores for our team member engagement and culture surveys to identify strengths and opportunities for our brand.

 

The opportunity and potential at Domino’s is best represented in a key statistic: substantially all of our U.S. franchisees started as delivery drivers or in other in-store positions. With the vast majority of Domino’s U.S. franchisees developed from within our own system, the opportunity to become a small business owner is a profound and unique aspect of Domino’s culture and strength as a brand. Experienced store managers and other operators can apply for Franchise Management School (“FMS”). At FMS, these operators receive training for a successful transition from store management to store ownership.

 

Inclusion and Diversity Efforts

 

“Do the Right Thing” and “Put People First” are our top two core values at Domino’s. From those two values our Inclusion and Diversity mission was launched, and we have been relentless in our commitment to building and strengthening our culture every day. Our mission is to foster a more diverse, highly engaged workforce that sees our Company as the employer of choice and is representative of the communities we serve. We want our team members to feel comfortable bringing their unique experiences and diverse backgrounds to discussions where they can share, learn and listen together enabled by conscious inclusion practices and our leadership competencies.

 

Domino’s is focused on building an inclusive culture that welcomes and supports everyone and seeks to understand and listen to team members and our neighborhood community members. Our Inclusion and Diversity efforts are built with a strategic framework that encompasses three pillars:

 

Workforce – focused on the diversity of our workforce at all levels of the organization.

 

Workplace – focused on ensuring that our Company-owned stores, offices and supply chains are inclusive.

 

Marketplace – focused on ensuring our brand reaches and is relevant to all consumers.

 

As part our workplace initiatives, we provide leadership and funding to support team members in participating in Employee Resource Groups (“ERGs”). We currently have ERGs representing the Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, as well as women in the workforce and individuals with disabilities, with more to come based on team member interest. We also make available to our team members several benefits designed to promote an inclusive workplace like paid parental leaves, adoption support, discounted childcare tuition, and health plans that are available to dependents, spouses and domestic partners and include fertility and gender transition support.

 

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Corporate Stewardship

 

Our vision for stewardship is for Domino’s to deliver the power of possible every day for the communities we serve, our people and the planet. We drafted this inaugural brand vision, with notable goals and objectives to drive change in the years and decades to come, and with pillars that ladder up to our newly established long-term goals. We have initiated a new drive to better understand our environmental and social impacts. We engaged outside experts to measure and quantify our environmental footprint, and identify opportunities to improve. With the help of these experts, we conducted a materiality assessment, connected with key stakeholders inside and outside of the company and developed a baseline report for our carbon, water and land use footprint in the U.S. We have set two new significant commitments on greenhouse gas emissions, including a commitment to set and reach Science Based Targets by 2035 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

 

Domino’s also has a long history of caring for the communities we serve. Our national philanthropic partner is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, which is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Through a variety of internal and consumer-based activities, including a national fundraising campaign called St. Jude Thanks and Giving®, the Domino’s system has contributed $95.7 million to St. Jude since our partnership began in 2004, including raising $13.6 million in 2021. In 2020, we committed to a 10-year, $100 million campaign to raise funds to build Domino’s Village at St. Jude, a planned housing complex that will accommodate up to 140 patient families during long-term stays at the hospital.

 

We also support the Domino’s Pizza Partners Foundation (the “Partners Foundation”). Founded in 1986, the mission of the Partners Foundation is “Team Members Helping Team Members.” Primarily funded by team member and franchise contributions, the Partners Foundation is a separate, not-for-profit organization that has disbursed over $9.4 million over the past five years. The Partners Foundation is committed to meeting the needs of Domino’s team members facing crisis situations, such as fire, illness, natural disasters or other personal tragedies.

Domino’s recently announced a pledge of $3.0 million to support the Black community in the U.S., including $1.0 million to create the Company’s first Black Franchisee Opportunity Fund.

 

You can find more information about our initiatives and read our 2021 Corporate Stewardship Report, which includes both Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indexed tables, at stewardship.dominos.com. The information included in this report is not incorporated by reference herein and should not be considered a part of this document.

 

Additional Disclosures

 

Working Capital

 

Information about the Company’s working capital is included in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Part II, Item 7.

 

Government Regulation

 

We, along with our franchisees, are subject to various federal, state and local laws affecting the operation of our business. Each store is subject to licensing and regulation by a number of governmental authorities, which include zoning, health, safety, sanitation, building and fire agencies in the jurisdiction in which the store is located. In connection with maintaining our stores, we may be required to expend funds to meet certain federal, state and local regulations, including regulations requiring that remodeled or altered stores be accessible to persons with disabilities. Difficulties in obtaining, or the failure to obtain, required licenses or approvals could delay or prevent the opening of a new store in a particular area or cause an existing store to cease operations. Our supply chain facilities are also licensed and subject to similar regulations by federal, state and local health and fire codes.

 

We are also subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act and various other federal and state laws governing such matters as minimum wage requirements, overtime and other working conditions and citizenship requirements. A significant number of both our and our franchisees’ food service personnel are paid at rates related to the applicable minimum wage, and past increases in the minimum wage have increased labor costs, as would future increases.

 

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We are subject to the rules and regulations of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and various state laws regulating the offer and sale of franchises. The FTC and various state laws require that we furnish a franchise disclosure document containing certain information to prospective franchisees, and a number of states require registration of the franchise disclosure document with state authorities. We are operating under exemptions from registration in several states based on the net worth of our subsidiary, Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC, and experience. We believe our franchise disclosure document, together with any applicable state versions or supplements, and franchising procedures comply in all material respects with both the FTC guidelines and all applicable state laws regulating franchising in those states in which we have offered franchises.

 

Internationally, our franchise stores are subject to national and local laws and regulations that are often similar to those affecting our U.S. stores, including laws and regulations concerning franchises, labor, health, sanitation and safety. Our international stores are also often subject to tariffs and regulations on imported commodities and equipment, and laws regulating foreign investment. We believe our international disclosure statements, franchise offering documents and franchising procedures comply in all material respects with the laws of the foreign countries in which we have offered franchises.

 

Privacy and Data Protection

 

We are subject to a number of privacy and data protection laws and regulations both in the U.S. and globally. The legislative and regulatory landscape for privacy and data protection continues to evolve, and there has been an increase in attention given to privacy and data protection issues with the potential to directly affect our business. This includes recently-enacted laws and regulations in the U.S. and internationally requiring notification to individuals and government authorities of security breaches involving certain categories of personal information. Any changes in privacy or data protection laws or regulations could also impact our marketing techniques and could change our marketing strategies. We have a privacy policy posted on our website at www.dominos.com. The security of our financial data, customer information and other personal information is a priority for us.

 

Trademarks

 

We have many registered trademarks and believe that the Domino’s mark and Domino’s Pizza names and logos, in particular, have significant value and are important to our business. Our policy is to pursue registration of our trademarks and to vigorously oppose the infringement of any of our trademarks. We license the use of our registered marks to franchisees through franchise agreements.

 

Environmental Matters

 

We are not aware of any federal, state or local environmental laws or regulations that we would expect to materially affect our earnings or competitive position or result in material capital expenditures. However, we cannot predict the effect of possible future environmental legislation or regulations. During 2021, there were no material environmental compliance-related capital expenditures, and no such material expenditures are anticipated in 2022.

 

Available Information

 

The Company makes available, free of charge, through its internet website ir.dominos.com, its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a), 15(d), or 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing such material with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Materials filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available at www.sec.gov. Retail orders from Domino’s stores can be made through its internet website www.dominos.com. The reference to these website addresses anywhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (the “Form 10-K”) does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on the websites and information appearing on those websites, including ir.dominos.com, stewardship.dominos.com and www.dominos.com, should not be considered a part of this document.

 

 

 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

 

For a business as large and globally diverse as the Company, a wide range of factors could materially affect future developments and performance. In addition to the factors affecting specific business operations identified in connection with the description of these operations and the financial results of these operations elsewhere in this report and our other filings with the SEC, we believe the most significant risk factors affecting our business include the following:

 

Business, Operational and Industry Risks

 

The quick service restaurant ("QSR") pizza category and the food service and food delivery markets in general are highly competitive and such competition could adversely affect our operating results.

 

In the U.S., we compete primarily against regional and local companies as well as national chains Pizza Hut®, Papa John’s® and Little Caesars Pizza®. Internationally, we compete primarily with Pizza Hut®, Papa John’s® and country-specific national and local companies. We may experience increased competition from existing or new companies in the delivery and carryout pizza categories, in addition to competition from order and delivery aggregators both in the pizza category and more broadly, that may create increasing pressures to grow our business in order to maintain our market share. Competition for both customers and drivers from these order and delivery aggregators and other food delivery services has substantially increased as order and delivery aggregators have continued to grow in size and scale. Additionally, we face competition from the supermarket industry and meal kit and food delivery providers, with the improvement of prepared food and meal kit offerings, expansion in meal delivery platforms and services and the trend towards convergence in grocery, deli, retail and restaurant services.

 

We also compete on a broader scale with quick service and other international, national, regional and local restaurants. The overall food service market, food delivery market and the QSR market are intensely competitive with respect to food quality, price, service, image, convenience and concept, and are often affected by changes in:

 

consumer tastes;
international, national, regional or local economic conditions;
marketing, advertising and pricing, including both price increases and discounting;
disposable purchasing power and demographic trends; and
currency fluctuations related to international operations.

 

We compete within the food service market and the QSR market not only for customers, but also for management and hourly employees, including store team members, drivers and qualified franchisees, as well as suitable real estate sites. We and our franchisees have recently faced an increasingly competitive labor market due to sustained labor shortages and increased turnover resulting in part from the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused us and our franchisees to in certain cases reduce store hours and delay store openings, and has prevented us from running promotions, which has impacted our sales, service levels and customer experience and could ultimately impact our growth and competitive position. Our success is also dependent in large part upon our ability to maintain and enhance the goodwill and reputation of our brand, our customers’ connection to our brand, and a positive relationship with our franchisees and the communities in which we and our franchisees operate.

 

Our supply chain segment is also subject to competition from outside suppliers. While substantially all U.S. franchisees purchased food, equipment and supplies from us in 2021, U.S. franchisees are not required to purchase food, equipment or supplies from us and they may choose to purchase from outside suppliers. If other suppliers who meet our qualification standards were to offer lower prices or better service to our franchisees for their ingredients and supplies and, as a result, our franchisees chose not to purchase from our U.S. supply chain centers, our financial condition, business and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

If we are unable to maintain our competitive position, we could experience downward pressure on prices, lower demand for our products, reduced margins, loss of management or hourly employees, reduced service levels, disruption in our supply chain, the inability to take advantage of new business opportunities and the loss of market share, all of which would have an adverse effect on our operating results and could cause our stock price to decline.

 

 

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Worldwide economic activity has been and is expected to continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the scale and scope of which is ultimately unknown, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact worldwide economic activity and create uncertainty. A public health pandemic such as COVID-19 poses the risk that we and/or our employees, franchisees, supply chain centers, suppliers, customers and other partners may be, or may continue to be, prevented from conducting business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to shutdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing requirements, and other restrictions that have been or may be suggested or mandated by governmental authorities, or due to the impact of the disease itself on a business’ workforces. In addition, COVID-19 may impact the willingness of customers to purchase food prepared outside of the home. The COVID-19 pandemic may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described throughout this report, including but not limited to those relating to our growth strategy, our supply chain and increased food and labor costs, availability of labor, disruption in operations, loss of key employees, our indebtedness, general economic conditions and our international operations. In response to governmental requirements, we and our franchisees have implemented a number of measures, including, among others, temporarily closing certain of our stores, modifying certain stores’ hours and closing locations to in-store dining, though some of these measures have since been rolled back. We continue to monitor additional developments. We have also made additional operating changes in response to changes in consumer behavior and preferences resulting from COVID-19, including offering contactless delivery and carryout options to our customers. While it is not possible at this time to estimate the full impact that COVID-19 could have on our business going forward, the continued spread of the virus and the measures taken in response have disrupted our operations and could disrupt our supply chain, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures have also impacted global economic conditions, which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial condition. The Company’s sales and operating results may be affected by uncertain or changing economic and market conditions arising in connection with and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including inflation, changes to consumer demand, availability of labor, political instability or other changes. Potential federal, state, or local COVID-19 vaccine and/or testing mandates could also materially impact our results if we or our franchised stores face a reduction in available labor and/or incur additional compliance costs as a result of any imposed mandate. While the Company has seen an increase in sales in certain markets, including within the U.S., during the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased sales related to heightened reliance on delivery and carry-out businesses, future sales are not possible to estimate and it is unclear whether and to what extent sales will return to more normalized levels if and when consumer behavior and general economic and business activity return to pre-pandemic levels. The significance of the operational and financial impact to the Company will depend on how long and widespread the disruptions caused by COVID-19, and the corresponding response to contain the virus and treat those affected by it, prove to be.

 

If we fail to successfully implement our growth strategy, which includes opening new U.S. and international stores, our ability to increase our revenues and operating profits could be adversely affected.

 

A significant component of our growth strategy includes the opening of new U.S. (both Company-owned as well as franchised stores) and international franchised stores. We and our franchisees face many challenges in opening new stores, including, among others:

 

construction, permitting or development delays relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
employment and training of qualified personnel, including availability of store team members;
selection and availability of suitable new store sites and the ability to renew leases in quality locations;
availability and negotiation of leases and financing with acceptable terms;
securing required U.S. or foreign governmental permits, licenses and approvals; and
general economic and business conditions, including increases in food costs and labor costs which could impact profitability.

 

The opening of additional franchise stores also depends, in part, upon the availability of prospective franchisees who meet our criteria and the ability of these franchisees to attract and retain qualified personnel. Our failure to add a significant number of new stores would adversely affect our ability to increase revenues and operating income. Additionally, our growth strategy and the success of new stores depend in large part on the availability of suitable store sites. If we and our franchisees are not able to secure leases in desired locations on favorable terms, or to renew such leases, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

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We and our franchisees are currently planning to expand our U.S. and international operations in many of the markets where we currently operate and in select new markets. This may require considerable management time as well as start-up expenses for market development before any significant revenues and earnings are generated. Operations in new foreign markets may achieve low margins or may be unprofitable, and expansion in existing markets may be affected by local economic and market conditions. In addition, we expect to continue our strategy of building additional stores in markets and regions where we have existing stores, a strategy we refer to as “fortressing,” which may negatively impact sales at existing stores. Therefore, as we continue to expand, we or our franchisees may not experience the operating margins we expect, our results of operations may be negatively impacted, and our stock price may decline. Additionally, we have an equity investment in DPC Dash Ltd (“DPC Dash”), as further discussed elsewhere in this report. Through its subsidiaries, DPC Dash serves as the Company’s master franchisee in China that owns and operates Domino’s Pizza stores in that market. These types of investments are inherently risky. If DPC Dash does not succeed or is unable to successfully execute its growth strategy, we may be forced to record impairment charges and could lose some or all of our investment.

 

We may also pursue strategic acquisitions as part of our business. If we are able to identify acquisition candidates, such acquisitions may be financed, to the extent permitted under our debt agreements, with substantial debt or with potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities and may not be successful.

 

Labor shortages and increases in food, labor and other costs could adversely affect our profitability and operating results.

 

We have recently experienced increased labor shortages at many of our stores and supply chain centers and our franchisees have experienced similar labor shortages at their stores. While there historically has been some level of ordinary course turnover of employees, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting actions and impacts have exacerbated labor shortages and increased turnover. Labor shortages and increased turnover rates within our team members and the employees of our franchisees have led to and could in the future lead to increased costs, such as increased overtime to meet demand and increased wage rates to attract and retain team members and could negatively affect our and our franchisees’ ability to efficiently operate our respective businesses and result in a negative impact on service and customer experience. Given the inflation rates in fiscal 2021, there has been and may continue to be increases in food costs and labor costs which have and could further impact our profitability and that of our franchisees and which could impact the opening of new U.S. and international franchised stores and adversely affect our operating results. Factors such as inflation, increased food costs, increased labor and employee health and benefit costs, increased rent costs and increased energy costs may adversely affect our operating costs and profitability and those of our franchisees and could result in menu price increases. Most of the factors affecting costs are beyond our control and, in many cases, we may not be able to pass along these increased costs to our customers or franchisees and to the extent we were to raise menu prices to offset these costs, could result in decreased consumer demand, sales and profitability. Most ingredients used in our pizza, particularly cheese, are subject to significant price fluctuations as a result of seasonality, weather, demand and other factors. For example, we have experienced increased volatility in prices for some ingredients during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may continue even if the pandemic recedes. Cheese is a significant cost to us, representing approximately 25% of the market basket purchased by our Company-owned stores.

 

Additionally, while we strive to engage in a competitive bidding process for our ingredients, because certain of these ingredients, including meat products, may only be available from a limited number of vendors, we may not always be able to do so effectively. Furthermore, if we need to seek new suppliers, we may be subject to pricing or other terms less favorable to us than those reflected in our current supply arrangements. Labor costs are largely a function of the minimum wage for a majority of our store personnel and certain supply chain center personnel and, generally, are also a function of the availability of labor. In addition to the increases in labor costs described above, several jurisdictions in which we operate have recently approved minimum wage increases. Federal, state and local proposals that increase minimum wage requirements or mandate other employee matters could, to the extent implemented, materially increase our labor and other costs. As more jurisdictions implement minimum wage increases, we expect our labor costs will continue to increase. The advent of legislation aimed at predictive scheduling could impact labor for our stores and our franchisees’ stores. Additionally, while we do not currently have any unionized employees, certain employees of other companies in our industry have recently become unionized. If a significant portion of our employees were to become unionized, our labor costs could increase and our business could be negatively affected by other union requirements that increase our costs, disrupt our business, reduce our flexibility and impact our employee culture. Further, our responses to any union organizing efforts could negatively impact how our brand is perceived. Labor costs and food costs, including cheese, generally represent approximately 50% to 60% of the sales at a typical Company-owned store.

 

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Shortages, interruptions or disruptions in the supply or delivery of fresh food products and store equipment could adversely affect our operating results.

 

We and our franchisees are dependent on frequent deliveries of food products that meet our specifications as well as adequate supply of store equipment. We have single suppliers or a limited number of suppliers for certain of our ingredients, including pizza cheese and meat toppings. While we believe there are adequate reserve quantities and potential alternative suppliers, shortages, interruptions, or disruptions in the supply of food products and store equipment caused by increased demand, capacity constraints, problems in production or distribution, product recalls, financial or other difficulties of suppliers, inclement weather or other conditions could adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of ingredients and equipment. We have in the past experienced disruptions within our supply chain resulting from, among other things, capacity, volume, systems, staffing, operational and COVID-19-related challenges and may experience such supply chain disruptions again in the future, which could materially and adversely affect our business and operational results. Additionally, the effects of climate change could increase the frequency and duration of weather impacts on our operations and could adversely affect our operating results.

 

The food service market is affected by consumer preferences and perceptions. Changes in these preferences and perceptions may reduce the demand for our products, which would reduce sales and harm our business.

 

Food service businesses are affected by changes in consumer tastes, international, national, regional and local economic conditions, marketing, advertising, pricing, including both price increases and discounting, and demographic trends. For instance, if prevailing health or dietary preferences cause consumers to avoid pizza and other products we offer in favor of foods that are perceived as healthier, our business and operating results would be harmed. Moreover, because we are primarily dependent on a single product, if consumer demand for pizza should decrease, our business would suffer more than if we had a more diversified menu, as many other food service businesses do. The preferences of customers also may change as a result of advances in technology or alternative delivery methods or channels. If we are not able to respond to these changes, or our competitors respond to these changes more effectively, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

 

Reports of product contamination, food-borne illness or food tampering may reduce sales and harm our business.

 

Reports, whether true or not, of product contamination, food-borne illnesses (such as E. coli, avian flu, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, hepatitis A, trichinosis or salmonella) and injuries caused by food tampering have in the past severely injured the reputations of participants in the QSR market and could in the future as well. These events could occur both at the store and supply chain center levels. If such an event was to occur, we may not be able to respond to it quickly and effectively. The potential for acts of terrorism affecting our global food supply also exists and, if such an event occurs, could have a negative impact on us and could severely hurt sales and profits. In addition, our reputation is an important asset; as a result, anything that damages our reputation could immediately and severely affect our sales and profits. Media reports of product contamination, illnesses and injuries, whether accurate or not, could force some stores to close or otherwise reduce sales at such stores. Moreover, as further described below, social media has dramatically increased the rate at which negative publicity, including as it relates to food-borne illness, can be disseminated before there is any meaningful opportunity to respond to or address an issue. Even reports of food-borne illnesses or food tampering occurring solely at the restaurants of competitors could, by resulting in negative publicity about the restaurant industry in general, adversely affect us on a local, regional, national or international basis. Our international operations expose us to further risk as our master franchisees are responsible for obtaining their own supply of food and equipment, subject to their compliance with our quality standards. A decrease in sales due to these health concerns or negative publicity or as a result of the closure of any Domino’s stores could adversely affect our results of operations.

 

We do not have long-term contracts with certain of our suppliers, and as a result they could seek to significantly increase prices or fail to deliver.

 

We do not have long-term contracts or arrangements with certain of our suppliers. Although in the past we have not experienced significant problems with our suppliers, our suppliers may implement significant price increases or may not meet our requirements, including those that may result from increases in volume, in a timely fashion or at all. The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on the ability of our supply chain centers to deliver necessary products to our stores and those of our franchisees and on our results of operations.

 

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Any prolonged disruption in the operations of any of our dough manufacturing and supply chain centers could harm our business.

 

We operate 21 regional dough manufacturing and supply chain centers in the U.S., two thin crust manufacturing facilities, one vegetable processing center and one center providing equipment and supplies to our U.S. and certain international stores. We also operate five dough manufacturing and supply chain centers in Canada. We plan to continue investing in additional supply chain capacity in the future given the capacity limitations we are currently facing resulting from the growth of our business. Our U.S. dough manufacturing and supply chain centers service all of our Company-owned and substantially all of our U.S. franchise stores. As a result, any prolonged disruption in the operations of any of these facilities, whether due to technical, systems, operational or labor difficulties, destruction or damage to the facility, real estate issues, limited capacity or other reasons, could adversely affect our business and operating results.

 

Our inability or failure to recognize, respond to and effectively manage the accelerated impact of social media could adversely impact our business.

 

The use of social media platforms, including blogs, social media websites, chat platforms, and other forms of internet-based communications that allow individuals access to a broad audience of consumers and other persons, including to our customers and the general public, and other consumer-oriented technologies has increased the speed and accessibility of information dissemination and given users the ability to more effectively organize collective actions such as boycotts and other brand-damaging behaviors. Negative publicity related to our food products or stores or negative publicity related to actions by our executives, team members or franchisees and their team members or others perceived to be associated with us or our franchisees could harm our business, brand, reputation, marketing partners, financial condition, and results of operations, regardless of the accuracy of such negative publicity. Failure to use or respond to social media campaigns effectively could lead to a decline in brand value and revenue. In addition, a failure of us, our employees, our franchisees or third parties acting at our direction to abide by applicable laws and regulations in the use of social media may adversely impact our brand, reputation, marketing partners, financial condition, and results of operations or subject us or our franchisees to fines or other penalties.

 

Our success depends in part upon effective advertising, and lower advertising funds may reduce our ability to adequately market the Domino’s Pizza brand.

 

We have been routinely named a Leading National Advertiser by Advertising Age and our success depends in part on continued effective advertising. Each Domino’s store located in the U.S. is obligated to contribute 6% of its sales (subject, in certain instances, to lower rates based on certain incentives and waivers) to DNAF, which uses such fees for national advertising in addition to contributions for local market-level advertising. We currently anticipate that this 6% contribution rate will remain in place for the foreseeable future. While additional funds for advertising in the past have been provided by us, our franchisees and other third parties, none of these additional funds are legally required. The lack of continued financial support for advertising activities could significantly curtail our marketing efforts, which may in turn materially and adversely affect our business and our operating results.

 

Loss of key employees or our inability to attract and retain new qualified employees could hurt our business and inhibit our ability to operate and grow successfully.

 

Our success in the highly competitive pizza delivery and carryout business will continue to depend to a significant extent on our leadership team and other key management personnel. Although we have entered into employment agreements with Richard E. Allison Jr. and Russell J. Weiner, each of these executives may terminate his agreement on ninety days’ notice. Our other executive officers may terminate their employment pursuant to their employment agreements at any time. As a result, we may not be able to retain our executive officers and key personnel or attract additional qualified management.

 

While we do not have long-term employment agreements with our executive officers, for all of our executive officers we have non-compete and non-solicitation agreements that extend for 24 months following the termination of such executive officer’s employment. Our success will also continue to depend on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel to operate our stores, dough manufacturing and supply chain centers and international operations. The loss of these employees or our inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel, including store-level team members, or our inability to adequately respond to changes in the labor market, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results. Changes we make to our current and future work environments may not meet the needs or expectations of our employees and may be perceived as less favorable compared to other companies' policies, which could negatively impact our ability to hire and retain qualified personnel.

 

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Our international operations subject us to additional risk. Such risks and costs may differ in each country in which we and our franchisees do business and may cause our profitability to decline due to increased costs.

 

We conduct a significant and growing portion of our business outside the U.S. Our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected if global markets in which our franchise stores compete are affected by changes in political, economic or other factors. These factors, many over which neither we nor our master franchisees have control, may include both internal and external factors including:

 

recessionary or expansive trends in international markets and global markets and economic downturns;
changing labor conditions and difficulties in staffing and managing our foreign operations;
increases in the taxes we pay and other changes in applicable tax laws both in the U.S. and globally;
tariffs and trade barriers;
legal and regulatory changes, and the burdens and costs of our compliance with a variety of foreign laws; changes in inflation rates or exchange rates and the imposition of restrictions on currency conversion or the transfer of funds;
ongoing and new relationships between our master franchisees and order and delivery aggregators our master franchisees may partner with internationally and the success of those aggregators and relationships;
difficulty in collecting our royalties and longer payment cycles;
expropriation of private enterprises;
the inherent risk of doing business in China resulting from our equity investment in DPC Dash;
increases in anti-American sentiment and the identification of Domino’s as an American brand; and
political and economic instability and uncertainty around the world, including uncertainty arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Our earnings and business growth strategy depend on the success of our franchisees, and we may be harmed by actions taken by our franchisees, or employees of our franchisees, that are outside of our control.

 

A significant portion of our earnings comes from royalties and fees generated by our franchise stores. Franchisees are independent operators, and their employees are not our employees. We provide tools that franchisees can consider using in training their employees, but the quality of franchise store operations and our brand and branded products may be diminished by numerous factors beyond our control. Consequently, franchisees may not operate stores in a manner consistent with our standards and requirements or they or their employees may take other actions that adversely affect the value of our brand. In such event, our business and reputation may suffer, and as a result our revenues and stock price could decline. Our success also depends in part on continuing positive relationships with our franchisees (and positive relationships between our international master franchisees and their corresponding sub-franchisees) and if those relationships were to deteriorate, our revenues and stock price could decline. While we try to ensure that franchisees maintain the quality of the Domino’s brand and branded products and comply with their franchise agreements, franchisees may take actions that adversely affect the value of our intellectual property or reputation or that are inconsistent with their contractual obligations. Although our franchise arrangements permit the applicable franchisor to terminate a franchise agreement under certain circumstances, including the failure by franchisees to uphold quality standards, there can be no assurance that such remedy will be available or sufficient to prevent harm to our brand and protect our intellectual property.

 

As of January 2, 2022, we had 735 U.S. franchisees operating 6,185 U.S. stores. As of that same date, 22 of these franchisees each owned and operated more than 50 U.S. stores, including our largest U.S. franchisee who owned and operated 177 stores and the average U.S. franchisee owned and operated approximately eight stores. Our international master franchisees are generally responsible for the development of significantly more stores than our U.S. franchisees. As a result, our international operations are more closely tied to the success of a smaller number of franchisees than our U.S. operations. As of January 2, 2022, our largest international master franchisee operated 3,229 stores in 10 markets, which accounted for approximately 26% of our total international store count. Our U.S. and international franchisees may not operate their franchises successfully. If one or more of our key franchisees were to become insolvent or otherwise were unable or unwilling to pay us our royalties or other amounts owed, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

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We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which could harm the value of our brand and branded products and adversely affect our business.

 

We depend in large part on our brand and branded products and believe that they are very important to our business. We rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and similar intellectual property rights to protect our brand and branded products. The success of our business depends on our continued ability to use our existing trademarks in order to capitalize on our name recognition, increase brand awareness and further develop our branded products in both U.S. and international markets. We have registered certain trademarks and have other trademark applications pending in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions. Not all of the trademarks that we currently use have been registered in all of the countries in which we do business, and they may never be registered in all of these countries. Some countries’ laws do not protect unregistered trademarks at all, or make them more difficult to enforce, and third parties may have filed for “Domino’s” or similar marks in countries where Domino’s has not registered its brand. Accordingly, we may not be able to adequately protect our trademarks everywhere in the world and our use of these trademarks may result in liability for trademark infringement, trademark dilution or unfair competition. All of the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property globally may not be adequate. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S. We may, from time to time, be required to institute or defend litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, or to protect our trade secrets. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could negatively affect our sales, profitability and prospects regardless of whether we are able to successfully enforce our rights.

 

The occurrence of cyber incidents, or a deficiency in cybersecurity, could negatively impact our business by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of confidential information, or damage to our employee and business relationships, any of which could subject us to loss and harm our brand.

 

A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information resources. More specifically, a cyber incident is an intentional attack or an unintentional event that can include gaining unauthorized access to systems to disrupt operations, corrupt data or steal confidential information about customers, franchisees, suppliers or employees. Many retailers and other companies have recently experienced serious cyber incidents and breaches of their information technology systems. As our reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our systems, both internal and those we have outsourced and we may further be negatively impacted to the extent outdated or legacy systems cease to function appropriately. We have in the past been and in the future may also be subject to negative impacts to our business caused by cyber incidents relating to our third-party service providers or the service providers of those third parties or our franchisees.

 

The three primary risks that could directly result from the occurrence of a cyber incident include operational interruption, damage to our relationships with customers, franchisees and employees and private data exposure, including payment card or other financial data. In addition to maintaining insurance coverage to address cyber incidents, we have also implemented processes, procedures and controls to help mitigate these risks. However, our cyber insurance coverage may not fully cover all of the costs associated with a cyber incident and these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the risk of a cyber incident, do not guarantee that our reputation and financial results will not be materially and adversely affected by such an incident.

 

Our and our franchisees’ operations depend upon our ability and the ability of franchisees, third-party service providers and the service providers of those third parties (as well as franchisees’ third-party service providers and the service providers of those third parties), to protect computer equipment and systems against damage from theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure and other catastrophic or unanticipated events, as well as internal and external security incidents, viruses, denial-of-service attacks, phishing attacks, ransomware attacks and other intentional or unintentional disruptions. A significant portion of our retail sales depends on the continuing operation of our information technology and communications systems, including Domino’s PULSE™, our online and mobile ordering platforms and our credit card processing systems. The failure of these systems to operate effectively, stemming from maintenance problems, upgrading or transitioning to new platforms, a compromise in our security or other unanticipated problems has at times in the past and in the future could result in interruptions to or delays in our and our franchisees’ operations. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our system’s disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. The occurrence of a natural disaster, intentional sabotage or other unanticipated problems could result in lengthy interruptions in service.

 

 

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In addition, the implementation of technology changes and upgrades to maintain and upgrade our systems, errors or vulnerabilities in our systems, or damage to or failure of our systems, including because of systems becoming obsolete, could result in interruptions in our services and non-compliance with certain laws or regulations, which could reduce our sales, revenues and profits and damage our business and brand. Furthermore, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain of our employees have been required to work from home for an extended period of time. The significant increase in remote working, particularly for an extended period of time, could exacerbate certain risks to our business, including an increased risk of cyber incidents and improper dissemination of personal or confidential information. Because we and our franchisees accept electronic forms of payment from customers including credit cards, our business requires the collection and retention of customer data, including sensitive financial data and other personally identifiable information in various information systems that we and our franchisees maintain and in those maintained by third parties with whom we and our franchisees contract to provide payment processing. A weakness in such third party’s systems or software products (or in the systems or software products in the service providers of those third parties) may provide a mechanism for a cyber threat. In recent years, a significant number of companies have experienced security data breaches in which customer information was stolen through vendor access channels. While we select our third-party suppliers carefully, cyber-attacks and security data breaches at a payment processing contractor could compromise confidential information or adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers. These problems could negatively affect our results of operations, and remediation could result in significant, unplanned capital investments.

 

We also maintain important internal Company data, such as personally identifiable information about our employees and franchisees and information relating to our operations. In addition, more than half of all global retail sales in 2021 were derived from digital channels, primarily through our online ordering website and mobile applications, where customers enter personally identifiable information that we retain. Our use and retention of personally identifiable information is regulated by foreign, federal and state laws and regulations, as well as by certain third-party agreements. For example, the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidated the U.S. – E.U. Privacy Shield framework, which was a commonly relied upon mechanism for exchanging personal data from the European Union to the U.S., in the July 16, 2020 “Schrems II” decision (Case C-311/18 Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems) and the State of California has adopted the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, an amendment to the California Consumer Privacy Act, both of which may require companies to change their handling of personal data. In addition, the State of New York promulgated the New York SHIELD Act which imposed obligations on businesses to implement physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal data by the March 21, 2020 effective date. As privacy and information security laws and regulations change, we may incur additional costs to ensure that we remain in compliance with those laws and regulations, and our current and future planned uses of personal and other data may be adversely affected by future adopted privacy and information security laws, regulations and rulings. If our security and information systems are compromised or if we, our employees or franchisees fail to comply with these laws, regulations or contract terms, or to successfully implement processes related to requirements, laws and regulations governing cyber incidents could require us to notify customers, employees or other groups, and could result in adverse publicity, loss of sales and cash flows, increased fees payable to third parties and fines, penalties or remediation and other costs that could adversely affect our reputation, business and results of operations. Any other material disruption or other adverse event affecting one or more of our digital ordering platforms, including, for instance, power loss, technological or systems failures, user error or cyber-attacks, could similarly result in adverse publicity, loss of sales and cash flows and other costs, which could in turn materially and adversely affect our reputation, business and results of operations.

 

We cannot predict the impact that new or improved technologies in general, alternative methods of delivery, including autonomous vehicle delivery, or changes in consumer or employee behavior facilitated by these technologies and alternative methods of delivery will have on our business.

 

Advances in technologies in general or alternative methods of delivery, including advances in digital ordering technology and autonomous vehicle delivery, or certain changes in consumer behavior driven by these or other technologies and methods of delivery could have a negative effect on our business and market position. Moreover, technology and consumer offerings continue to develop, and we expect that new or enhanced technologies and consumer offerings will be available in the future. We may pursue certain of those technologies and consumer offerings if we believe they offer a sustainable customer proposition and can be successfully integrated into our business model. However, we cannot predict consumer acceptance of these delivery channels or their impact on our business. In addition, our competitors, some of whom have greater resources (financial or otherwise) than we do, may be able to benefit from changes in technologies or consumer acceptance of alternative methods of delivery, which could harm our competitive position.

 

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There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully respond to changing consumer preferences, including with respect to new technologies and alternative methods of delivery, or to effectively adjust our product mix, service offerings, and marketing and merchandising initiatives for products and services that address, and anticipate advances in, technology and market trends. Alternative methods of delivery may also impact the potential labor pool from which we recruit our delivery experts and could reduce the available supply of labor. If we are not able to successfully respond to these challenges, our business, market share, financial condition, and operating results could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We are subject to a variety of additional risks associated with our franchisees.

 

Our franchise system subjects us to a number of additional risks, any one of which may impact our ability to collect royalty payments and fees from our franchisees, may harm the goodwill associated with our brand, and/or may materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations. Such risks may also apply to us as owners of stores. These risks include, but are not limited to:

 

those relating to the application of local, state, federal and foreign bankruptcy laws and other applicable laws governing creditors’ rights generally and the impact such laws could have on our ability to collect payments and fees under applicable franchise agreements;
those relating to franchisees that are operating entities, which generally are not limited-purpose entities, including business, credit, financial and other risks in addition to risks related to unions;
those relating to franchisee changes in control and succession in general and the ability to find acceptable successors who would be able to perform a former franchisee’s obligations under applicable franchise agreements or successfully operate impacted stores in the event of a change of control or other succession event;
those relating to franchisee insurance, including the inadequacy of, or inability to obtain, insurance coverage, losses in excess of policy limits or payments not being made on a timely basis, extraordinary hazards not being subject to coverage (or only being subject to coverage at prohibitively high rates) or third parties seeking to recover losses from us to the extent those losses experienced by such third parties are either not covered by the franchisee’s insurance or exceed the policy limits of the franchisee’s insurance;
those relating to instances of termination of or default under a franchisee’s franchise agreement or the non-renewal thereof at the end of such agreement’s expiration date and the corresponding impact on the franchisee’s or our operations;
those relating to product liability exposure or noncompliance with health and safety regulations and the impact such events could have on a franchisee’s ability to make payments under applicable franchise agreements, on us if an aggrieved party seeks to recover their losses from us and on our brand’s reputation;
the imposition of injunctive relief, fines, damage awards or capital expenditures under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, or other laws or regulations that could adversely affect the ability of a franchisee to make payments under applicable franchise agreements;
litigation involving franchisees, including litigation involving us or litigation involving a third-party directed at a franchisee, which could decrease the ability of a defendant-franchisee to make its royalty payments and divert our resources regardless of whether the allegations in such litigation are valid or whether we are liable; and
those relating to the reliance of a franchised store business on its franchisees and the nature of franchisees in general, including the retention of franchisees (especially including our top-performing franchisees) in the future or our ability to attract, retain, and motivate sufficient numbers of franchisees of the same caliber in the future as well as our ability to maintain a positive and constructive relationship with our franchisees.

 

Our current insurance coverage may not be adequate, insurance premiums for such coverage may increase and we may not be able to obtain insurance at acceptable rates, or at all.

 

For certain periods prior to December 1998 and for periods after December 2001, we maintain insurance coverage for workers’ compensation, general liability and owned and non-owned automobile liabilities. We are generally responsible for up to $2.0 million per occurrence under these retention programs for workers’ compensation and general liability, depending on policy year and line of coverage. We are generally responsible for up to between $500,000 and $5.5 million per occurrence under these retention programs for owned and non-owned automobile liabilities, depending on policy year and line of coverage.

 

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Total insurance limits under these retention programs vary depending upon the period covered and range up to $110.0 million per occurrence for general liability and owned and non-owned automobile liabilities and up to the applicable statutory limits for workers’ compensation. These insurance policies may not be adequate to protect us from liabilities that we incur in our business. In addition, in the future our insurance premiums may increase, and we may not be able to obtain similar levels of insurance on reasonable terms, or at all. Any such inadequacy of, or inability to obtain insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Environmental, social and governance matters may impact our business and reputation.

 

Increasingly, in addition to the importance of their financial performance, companies are being judged by their performance on a variety of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters, which are considered to contribute to the long-term sustainability of companies’ performance. A variety of organizations measure the performance of companies on such ESG topics, and the results of these assessments are widely publicized. In addition, major institutional investors have publicly emphasized the importance of such ESG matters to their investment decisions. Further, in December 2021, we announced our goal to set and reach Science Based Targets by 2035 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Execution of these strategies and achievement of these goals are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control and may prove to be more costly than we anticipate. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to execute our strategies and achieve our goals within the currently projected costs and the expected timeframes; unforeseen design, operational and technological difficulties; the outcome of research efforts and future technology developments; the success of our collaboration with franchisees and other third parties; and the actions of competitors and competitive pressures. There is no assurance that we will be able to successfully execute our strategies and achieve our goals. Failure to achieve our goals could damage our reputation and customer, investor and other stakeholder relationships. Such conditions could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as on our stock price. There also has been increased political focus, including by U.S. and foreign governmental authorities, on environmental sustainability matters, such as climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gases and water consumption. Legislative, regulatory or other efforts to combat climate change or other ESG concerns could also result in new or more stringent forms of oversight and expanding mandatory and voluntary reporting, diligence and disclosure, which could increase costs, bring additional focus and further impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. Any failure or perceived failure by us to manage ESG issues successfully could have a material adverse effect on our reputation and on our business, results of operations, financial condition or stock price, including the sustainability of our business over time.

 

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

 

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our business and limit our ability to plan for or respond to changes in our business.

 

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness. As of January 2, 2022, our consolidated total indebtedness was approximately $5.07 billion. We may also incur additional debt, which would not be prohibited under the terms of our current securitized debt agreements. Our substantial indebtedness could have important consequences for our business and our shareholders. For example, it could:

 

make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt agreements;
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow for other purposes; and
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate, thereby placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our peers that may have less debt.

Further, our variable funding notes bear interest at fluctuating interest rates that in certain circumstances is based on the London interbank offered rate (“LIBOR”), and there is currently uncertainty around whether LIBOR will continue to exist going forward. Following completion of a consultation regarding cessation of LIBOR settings in January 2021 and receipt, from a majority of the panel banks, of notices of future departure with respect to each LIBOR setting, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited, the administrator for LIBOR, confirmed its intention to cease the publication of the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately after December 31, 2021, and the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on June 30, 2023.

 

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The Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) also stated that, while most available tenors for U.S. dollar LIBOR will be available for legacy contracts after December 31, 2021, such tenors may not be used in new contracts. The FCA will consult regarding the use of new powers to be granted by the EU and UK governments which would permit the FCA to require panel banks to continue to publish certain LIBOR settings on a “synthetic” basis until the end of 2022, including the use of such powers for one-month, three-month and six-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings. However, the FCA also stated that any continued publication of “synthetic” LIBOR would not be representative and would only be for use in legacy contracts. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had previously released a statement that (i) encouraged banks to cease entering into new contracts that use U.S. dollar LIBOR as a reference rate as soon as practicable and in any event by December 31, 2021, (ii) indicated that new contracts entered into before December 31, 2021 should either utilize a reference rate other than U.S. dollar LIBOR or have robust fallback language that includes a clearly defined alternative reference rate after the discontinuation of U.S. dollar LIBOR and (iii) explained that extending the publication of certain U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors until June 30, 2023 would allow most legacy U.S. dollar LIBOR contracts to mature before LIBOR begins experiencing disruptions. In the United States, the U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing LIBOR with a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities called the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”).

 

Our 2021 Variable Funding Notes loan documents contemplate a transition from LIBOR to SOFR in the event that LIBOR ceases to exist. Because the composition and characteristics of SOFR are not the same as those of LIBOR, in such event, there can be no assurance that SOFR will perform the same way LIBOR would have at any given time or for any applicable period and how markets will respond to SOFR or other alternative reference rates as the transition away from the LIBOR occurs as anticipated. As a result, our interest expense could increase, in which event we may have difficulties making interest payments and funding our other fixed costs, and our available cash flow for general corporate requirements may be adversely affected.

 

In addition, the financial and other covenants we agreed to with our lenders may limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness, make investments, pay dividends and engage in other transactions, and the leverage may cause potential lenders to be less willing to loan funds to us in the future. Our failure to comply with these covenants could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, could result in the acceleration of repayment of all of our indebtedness.

 

Downgrades in our credit ratings could impact our ability to access capital and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our debt is rated by credit rating agencies. These agencies may downgrade their credit ratings for us based on the performance of our business, our capital strategies or their overall view of our industry. There can be no assurance that any rating assigned to our currently outstanding indebtedness will remain in effect for any given period of time or that any such ratings will not be lowered, suspended or withdrawn entirely by a rating agency if, in that agency’s judgment, circumstances so warrant. A downgrade of our credit ratings could, among other things, increase our cost of borrowing, limit our ability to access capital, result in more restrictive covenants in agreements governing the terms of any future indebtedness that we may incur, including restrictions on our ability to pay dividends or repurchase shares, or require us to provide collateral for future borrowings, and thereby adversely impact our business and results of operations.

 

We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our significant debt service obligations, which would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our ability to make principal and interest payments on and to refinance our indebtedness will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. This, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operations, in the amounts projected or at all, or if future borrowings are not available to us under our variable funding notes in amounts sufficient to fund our other liquidity needs, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected. If we cannot generate sufficient cash flow from operations to make scheduled principal amortization and interest payments on our debt obligations in the future, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity, sell assets, delay capital expenditures or seek additional equity. If we are unable to refinance any of our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all or to affect any other action relating to our indebtedness on satisfactory terms or at all, our business may be harmed.

 

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The terms of our securitized debt financing of certain of our wholly-owned subsidiaries have restrictive terms and our failure to comply with any of these terms could put us in default, which would have an adverse effect on our business and prospects.

 

Unless and until we repay all outstanding borrowings under our securitized debt, we will remain subject to the restrictive terms of these borrowings. The securitized debt, under which certain of our wholly-owned subsidiaries issued and guaranteed fixed rate notes and variable funding senior revolving notes, contain a number of covenants, with the most significant financial covenant being a debt service coverage calculation. These covenants limit the ability of certain of our subsidiaries to, among other things:

 

sell assets;
alter the business we conduct and engage in mergers, acquisitions and other business combinations;
declare dividends or redeem or repurchase capital stock;
incur, assume or permit to exist additional indebtedness or guarantees;
make loans and investments;
incur liens; and
enter into transactions with affiliates.

 

The securitized debt also requires us to maintain specified financial ratios at the end of each fiscal quarter. These restrictions could affect our ability to pay dividends or repurchase shares of our common stock. Our ability to meet these financial ratios can be affected by events beyond our control, and we may not satisfy such a test. A breach of this covenant could result in a rapid amortization event or default under the securitized debt. If amounts owed under the securitized debt are accelerated because of a default under the securitized debt and we are unable to pay such amounts, the investors may have the right to assume control of substantially all of the securitized assets.

 

During the term following issuance, the outstanding senior notes will accrue interest in accordance with the terms of the debt agreements. Additionally, our senior notes have original scheduled principal payments of $51.5 million in each of 2022, 2023 and 2024, $1.17 billion in 2025, $39.3 million in 2026, $1.31 billion in 2027, $811.5 million in 2028, $625.9 million in 2029, $10.0 million in 2030 and $905.0 million in 2031. In accordance with our debt agreements, the payment of principal on the outstanding senior notes may be suspended if the leverage ratio for the Company is less than or equal to 5.0x total debt, as defined, to adjusted EBITDA, as defined in the indenture governing our securitized debt, and no catch-up provisions are applicable.

 

If we are unable to refinance or repay amounts under the securitized debt prior to the expiration of the term, our cash flow would be directed to the repayment of the securitized debt and, other than a weekly management fee sufficient to cover minimal selling, general and administrative expenses, would not be available for operating our business. No assurance can be given that any refinancing or additional financing will be possible when needed or that we will be able to negotiate acceptable terms. In addition, our access to capital is affected by prevailing conditions in the financial and capital markets and other factors beyond our control. There can be no assurance that market conditions will be favorable at the times that we require new or additional financing.

 

The indenture governing the securitized debt will restrict the cash flow from the entities subject to the securitization to any of our other entities and upon the occurrence of certain events, cash flow would be further restricted. In the event that a rapid amortization event occurs under the indenture (including, without limitation, upon an event of default under the indenture or the failure to repay the securitized debt at the end of its term), the funds available to us would be reduced or eliminated, which would in turn reduce our ability to operate or grow our business.

 

Regulatory, Legal and Compliance Risks

 

We face risks of litigation, investigations, enforcement actions and negative publicity from customers, franchisees, suppliers, employees, regulators and others in the ordinary course of business, which could divert our financial and management resources. Litigation, investigations, enforcement actions or publicity may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Claims of illness or injury relating to food quality or food handling are common in the food service industry, and vehicular accidents and injuries occur in the food delivery business. We are currently subject to these types of claims and have been subject to these types of claims in the past. Claims within our industry of improper supplier actions also occasionally arise that, if made against one of our suppliers, could potentially damage our brand image.

 

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In addition, class action lawsuits have been filed, and may continue to be filed, against various QSR alleging, among other things, that QSRs have failed to disclose the health risks associated with high-fat foods and that QSR marketing practices have encouraged obesity. State attorney general offices or other regulators have initiated and may in the future initiate investigations or enforcement actions against us. In addition to decreasing our sales and profitability and diverting our management resources, adverse publicity resulting from such allegations may materially and adversely affect us and our brand, regardless of whether such allegations are valid or whether we are liable, and could result in a substantial settlement, fine, penalty or judgment against us.

 

Further, we may be subject to employee, franchisee and other claims in the future based on, among other things, discrimination, harassment, working and safety conditions, wrongful termination and wage, expense reimbursement, rest break and meal break issues, including claims relating to overtime compensation. We have been and continue to be subject to these types of claims. If one or more of these claims were to be successful or if there is a significant increase in the number of these claims or if we receive significant negative publicity, our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.

We and our franchisees are subject to extensive laws and government regulation and requirements issued by other groups and our failure to comply with existing or increased laws and regulations could adversely affect our business and operating results.

 

We are subject to numerous federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations, as well as requirements issued by other groups, including those relating to:

 

the preparation, sale and labeling of food;
building and zoning requirements and environmental protection;
labor and employment, including minimum wage, overtime, insurance, discrimination and other labor requirements as well as working and safety conditions;
franchise arrangements;
taxation;
antitrust;
payment card industry standards and requirements; and
information privacy and consumer protection.

 

We are subject to an FTC rule and to various state and foreign laws that govern the offer and sale of franchises. These laws regulate various aspects of the franchise relationship, including terminations and the refusal to renew franchises. The failure to comply with these laws and regulations in any jurisdiction or to obtain required government approvals could result in a ban or temporary suspension on future franchise sales, fines or other penalties or require us to make offers of rescission or restitution, any of which could adversely affect our business.

 

We and our franchisees face various regulatory and legislative efforts to enforce employment laws, such as efforts to categorize franchisors as the co-employers or joint employers of their franchisees’ employees or to aggregate individual franchised businesses and classify them as large employers for minimum wage or other employment-related purposes. In August 2015, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") adopted a new and broader standard for determining when two or more otherwise unrelated employers may be found to be a joint employer of the same employees under the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB issued a final rule which became effective April 27, 2020 that reinstates the standard that was in place before August 2015.

In December 2019, the NLRB directed an administrative law judge to approve settlement agreements (rather than rejecting the settlement and allowing the claims asserting that the franchisor should be the joint employer of its franchisees’ employees to proceed) in a decision related to another franchise system; however, an appeal of that decision is pending. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced on December 10, 2021 that it will again revisit its joint employer standard. If the August 2015 standard is restored or is adopted by other government agencies and/or applied generally to franchise relationships, it could cause us to be liable or held responsible for unfair labor practices and other violations of our franchisees and subject us to other liabilities, and require us to conduct collective bargaining negotiations regarding employees of totally separate, independent employers, most notably our franchisees. In such event, our operating expenses may increase as a result of required modifications to our business practices, increased litigation, governmental investigations or proceedings, administrative enforcement actions, fines and civil liability.

 

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Additionally, depending upon the outcome and application of certain legal proceedings pending or concluded in federal court in California involving the California wage and hour laws in another franchise system, franchisors may be subject to claims that their franchisees should be treated as employees and not as independent contractors under the wage and hour laws of that state and, potentially, certain other states and localities with similar wage and hour laws. Further, the California legislature recently enacted a statute known as Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5), which went into effect on January 1, 2020. AB-5 requires “gig economy” workers to be reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors. However, depending upon the application of AB-5, franchisors in certain industries could be deemed to be covered by the statute, in which event certain franchisees could be deemed employees of the franchisors. While active efforts to narrow the reach of AB-5 continue, a bill (SB 967), which was introduced specifically to exempt the relationship between a franchisor and franchisee from the scope of AB-5, was not successful in the legislature. On November 3, 2020, the California electorate approved proposition 22, the effect of which is to exempt app-based transportation (ride shares) and delivery drivers from the application of AB-5 by treating these workers as independent contractors, rather than employees, provided certain conditions are met. The ballot measure does not affect how AB-5 applies to other businesses and workers. If misclassification claims are successful against or applied to a franchisor under AB-5 or any other similar state law, a franchisor could be liable to its franchisees (and potentially their employees) based the rights and remedies available to employees under such laws and, thereafter, have to treat its franchisees (and their employees) as the franchisor’s employees under these laws.

 

We and our franchisees are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (the “Fair Labor Standards Act”), which, along with the Family and Medical Leave Act, governs such matters as minimum wage and overtime requirements and other working conditions and various family leave mandates, as well as a variety of other laws enacted, or rules and regulations promulgated, by federal, state and local governmental authorities that govern these and other employment matters. We and our franchisees have experienced and expect further increases in payroll expenses as a result of government-mandated increases in the minimum wage, and although such increases are not currently expected to be material, there may be material increases in the future. Enactment and enforcement of various federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations on immigration and labor organizations may adversely impact the availability and costs of labor for Domino’s and franchisees’ stores in a particular area or across the United States. In addition, third-party suppliers may be affected by higher minimum wage standards, which may increase the price of goods and services they supply to us. Such increased expenses may cause our franchisees to exit the business or cause us to reduce the number of company-owned stores, or otherwise adversely affect the amount of royalty payments and license fees we receive. On January 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to update and clarify the definition of joint employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the final rule, the general test for assessing whether a party can be deemed a joint employer would be based upon whether that party (i) hires or fires the employee; (ii) supervises and controls the employee’s work schedule or conditions of employment; (iii) determines the employee’s rate and method of payment; and (iv) maintains the employee’s employment records. In the final rule, the Department of Labor describes instances in which joint employment would not be more or less likely to be found to exist under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which, according to the Department of Labor, includes the relationships that exist under the typical franchise business model. This rule may reduce a franchisor’s risk of liability that currently exists under the joint employer standard now in effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act (though ultimately, the facts specific to the franchisor-franchisee model at issue would be considered when determining liability). On September 8, 2020, a federal district court struck down a significant portion of the final rule, and an appeal of that decision is currently pending. On July 29, 2021, the current administration’s Department of Labor issued a final rule rescinding the 2020 rule. The Department of Labor may revert to the more expansive interpretation of joint employer that existed prior to the adoption of the 2020 rule and/or interpretations that could result in franchisors being held liable or responsible for Fair Labor Standards Act violations by their franchisees. The rules of the Department of Labor are separate from the joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act or, as described above, potential liability as a joint employer under the National Labor Relations Act.

 

Certain governmental authorities and private litigants have recently asserted claims against franchisors, including us, for provisions in our prior franchise agreements that restrict franchisees from soliciting or hiring the employees of other franchisees or the applicable franchisor. Claims against franchisors for such clauses include allegations that these clauses violate state and federal antitrust and unfair practices laws by restricting the free movement of employees of franchisees and/or franchisor (including the employees of company-owned stores), thereby depressing the wages of those employees.

 

27


 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended, the “Affordable Care Act”) requires employers such as us to provide health insurance for all qualifying employees or pay penalties for not providing coverage. The majority of the increases in these costs began in 2015, and while the incremental costs of this program have not been material to us to date, we cannot predict what effect these costs will have on our results of operations and financial position, or the effects of the Affordable Care Act on some of our larger franchisees. Modifications to, or repeal of, all or certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act are also possible. Changes in tax laws or tax policy more broadly, increases in the enacted tax rates, adverse outcomes in connection with tax audits in any jurisdiction or any change in the pronouncements relating to accounting for income taxes could also impact our financial condition and results of operations. We may also become subject to legislation or regulation seeking to tax and/or regulate high-fat foods, foods with high sugar and salt content, or foods otherwise deemed to be “unhealthy,” and our capital expenditures could increase due to remediation and compliance measures related to these laws or regulations.

 

Adverse government regulations and enforcement efforts or non-compliance by us or our franchisees with any of the foregoing laws and regulations could lead to various claims or governmental or judicial fines, sanctions or other enforcement measures, which could negatively impact our business.

 

Market and General Risks

 

Fluctuations in value of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies may lead to lower revenues and earnings.

 

Exchange rate fluctuations could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. International franchise royalties and fees represented approximately 6.8%, 6.1% and 6.7% of our total revenues in 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, a majority of which were denominated in foreign currencies. We also operate dough manufacturing and distribution facilities in Canada, which generate revenues denominated in Canadian dollars. Sales made by franchise stores outside the U.S. are denominated in the currency of the country in which the store is located, and this currency could become less valuable in U.S. dollars as a result of exchange rate fluctuations. Unfavorable currency fluctuations could lead to increased prices to customers outside the U.S. or lower profitability to our franchisees outside the U.S., or could result in lower revenues for us, on a U.S. dollar basis, from such customers and franchisees. A hypothetical 10% adverse change in the foreign currency rates in our international markets would have resulted in a negative impact on international royalty revenues of approximately $26.5 million in 2021.

 

Our annual and quarterly financial results are subject to significant fluctuations depending on various factors, many of which are beyond our control, and if we fail to meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors, our stock price may decline significantly or be subject to significant fluctuations.

 

Our annual and quarterly financial results, including our sales and operating results, can vary significantly from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year depending on various factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include, among other things:

 

variations in the timing and volume of our sales and our franchisees’ sales, including same store sales;
the timing of expenditures in anticipation of future sales;
changes in the cost or availability of our ingredients or labor;
planned or actual changes to our capital or debt structure;
strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as sales promotions, acquisitions or restructurings;
changes in our dividend policy or any share repurchase program;
significant litigation or legislation or other regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;
changes in competitive and economic conditions generally as well as general market conditions; and
foreign currency exposure.

 

As a result, our operational performance may decline quickly and significantly in response to changes in order patterns or rapid decreases in demand for our products. Any such decline may cause us and our franchisees to experience lower sales revenue. We anticipate that fluctuations in operating results will continue in the future, and such fluctuations may result in significant fluctuations or a significant decline in our stock price.

 

Actions of activist investors could negatively impact our business and the value of our stock price.

 

Publicly-traded companies have increasingly become subject to activist investor campaigns. Responding to actions of an activist investor may be a significant distraction for our management and staff and could require us to expend significant time and resources, including legal fees and potential proxy solicitation expenses. Any of these conditions could materially and adversely affect our financial performance.

 

28


 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

 

None.

 

Item 2. Properties.

 

We lease approximately 285,000 square feet for our World Resource Center, including our Domino’s Innovation Garage, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan under an operating lease with Domino’s Farms Office Park, L.L.C., an unrelated company. The lease, as amended, expires in 2029 and has two five-year renewal options.

 

We own five supply chain center buildings. All other U.S. and international supply chain centers are leased by us, under leases ranging between five and 21 years with one or two five-year renewal options. All buildings for U.S. Company-owned stores are leased by us, typically under ten-year leases with one or two five-year renewal options. All other franchise stores are leased or owned directly by the respective franchisees. We believe that our existing headquarters and other leased and owned facilities are adequate to meet our current requirements, but we plan to continue investing in additional capacity initiatives in the future.

 

 

We are a party to lawsuits, revenue agent reviews by taxing authorities and administrative proceedings in the ordinary course of business which include, without limitation, workers' compensation, general liability, automobile and franchisee claims. We are also subject to suits related to employment practices.

 

Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of individual litigated matters is not predictable with assurance. These matters referenced above could be decided unfavorably to us and could require us to pay damages or make other expenditures in amounts or a range of amounts that cannot be estimated with accuracy. In management’s opinion, these matters, individually and in the aggregate, should not have a significant adverse effect on the financial condition of the Company, and the established accruals adequately provide for the estimated resolution of such claims.

 

While we may occasionally be party to large claims, including class action suits, we do not believe that any existing matters, individually or in the aggregate, will materially affect our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 4A. Executive Officers of the Registrant.

 

The listing of executive officers of the Company is set forth under Part III Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance, which is incorporated herein by reference.

 

29


 

Part II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

 

As of February 22, 2022, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. had 170,000,000 authorized shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of which 36,036,184 were issued and outstanding. As of February 22, 2022, there were 1,563 registered holders of record of Domino’s Pizza, Inc.’s common stock. Domino’s Pizza, Inc.’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the ticker symbol “DPZ.”

 

Our Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $1.10 per common share on February 24, 2022 payable on March 30, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 15, 2022.

 

We currently anticipate continuing the payment of quarterly cash dividends. The actual amount of such dividends, if any, will depend upon future earnings, results of operations, capital requirements, our financial condition and certain other factors. There can be no assurance as to the amount of free cash flow that we will generate in future years and, accordingly, dividends will be considered after reviewing returns to shareholders, profitability expectations and financing needs and will be declared at the discretion of our Board of Directors.

 

As of January 2, 2022, we had a Board of Directors-approved share repurchase program for up to $1.0 billion of our common stock, of which $704.1 million remained available for future purchases of our common stock. Any future purchases of our common stock would be funded by current cash amounts, available borrowings or future excess cash flow. The following table summarizes our repurchase activity during the fourth quarter ended January 2, 2022:

 





Period

 

Total
Number
of Shares
Purchased
(1)

 

 

Average
Price Paid
per Share

 

 

Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased as
Part of
Publicly
Announced
Program
(2)

 

 

Maximum
Approximate
Dollar Value
of Shares
that May Yet
Be Purchased
Under the
Program
(in thousands)

 

Period #10 (September 13, 2021 to October 10, 2021)

 

 

195,777

 

 

$

487.96

 

 

 

194,860

 

 

$

825,219

 

Period #11 (October 11, 2021 to November 7, 2021)

 

 

162,877

 

 

 

472.37

 

 

 

161,770

 

 

 

748,822

 

Period #12 (November 8, 2021 to December 5, 2021)

 

 

53,711

 

 

 

512.64

 

 

 

53,007

 

 

 

721,660

 

Period #13 (December 6, 2021 to January 2, 2022)

 

 

33,448

 

 

 

525.04

 

 

 

33,448

 

 

 

704,098

 

Total

 

 

445,813

 

 

$

488.02

 

 

 

443,085

 

 

$

704,098

 

 

(1)
2,728 shares were purchased as part of the Company’s employee stock purchase discount plan. During the fourth quarter, the shares were purchased at an average price of $495.08.
(2)
Subsequent to the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, the Company repurchased and retired an additional 100,810 shares of common stock for $47.7 million, or an average price of $472.78 per share.

 

Authorization for the repurchase program may be modified, suspended, or discontinued at any time. The repurchase of shares in any particular period and the actual amount of such purchases remain at the discretion of the Board of Directors, and no assurance can be given that shares will be repurchased in the future.

 

 

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The following comparative stock performance line graph compares the cumulative shareholder return on the common stock of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) for the five-year period between December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2021, with cumulative total return on (i) the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (the “S&P 500”) and (ii) the peer group, the Standard & Poor’s 400 Restaurant Index (the “S&P 400 Restaurant Index”). Management believes that the companies included in the S&P 400 Restaurant Index appropriately reflect the scope of the Company’s operations and match the competitive market in which the Company operates. The cumulative total return computations set forth in the performance graph assume the investment of $100 in the Company’s common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 400 Restaurant Index on December 31, 2016.

 

img231313216_0.jpg 

 

 

Item 6. [Reserved].

 

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Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

 

Overview

 

Our fiscal year typically includes 52 weeks, comprised of three twelve-week quarters and one sixteen-week quarter. Every five or six years our fiscal year includes an extra (or 53rd) week in the fourth quarter. Fiscal 2021 and 2019 each consisted of 52 weeks and fiscal 2020 consisted of 53 weeks.

 

In this section, we discuss the results of our operations for the year ended January 2, 2022 compared to the year ended January 3, 2021. For a discussion of the year ended January 3, 2021 compared to the year ended December 29, 2019, please refer to Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 3, 2021.

 

Description of the Business

 

Domino’s is the largest pizza company in the world, with more than 18,800 locations in over 90 markets around the world as of January 2, 2022, and operates two distinct service models within its stores with a significant business in both delivery and carryout. Founded in 1960, our roots are in convenient pizza delivery, while a significant amount of our sales also come from carryout customers. Although we are a highly-recognized global brand, we focus on value while serving neighborhoods locally through our large network of franchise owners and Company-owned stores.

 

Our business model is straightforward: Domino’s stores handcraft and serve quality food at a competitive price, with easy ordering access and efficient service, enhanced by our technological innovations. Our hand-tossed dough is made fresh and distributed to stores around the world by us and our franchisees.

 

Domino’s generates revenues and earnings by charging royalties and fees to our independent franchisees. We also generate revenues and earnings by selling food, equipment and supplies to franchisees, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, and by operating a number of Company-owned stores in the U.S. Franchisees profit by selling pizza and other complementary items to their local customers. In our international markets, we generally grant geographical rights to the Domino’s Pizza brand to master franchisees. These master franchisees are charged with developing their geographical area, and they can profit by sub-franchising and selling food and equipment to those sub-franchisees, as well as by running pizza stores directly. We believe that everyone in the system can benefit, including the end consumer, who can feed their family conveniently and economically.

 

Our financial results are driven largely by retail sales at our franchise and Company-owned stores. Changes in retail sales are driven by changes in same store sales and store counts. We monitor both of these metrics very closely, as they directly impact our revenues and profits, and we strive to consistently increase both metrics. Retail sales drive royalty payments from franchisees, as well as Company-owned store and supply chain revenues. Retail sales are primarily impacted by the strength of the Domino’s Pizza brand, the results of our extensive advertising through various media channels, the impact of technological innovation and digital ordering, our ability to execute our strong and proven business model and the overall global economic environment.

 

Our business model can yield strong returns for our franchise owners and our Company-owned stores. It can also yield significant cash flow to us, through a consistent franchise royalty payment and supply chain revenue stream, with moderate capital expenditures. We have historically returned cash to shareholders through dividend payments and share repurchases since becoming a publicly-traded company in 2004. We believe we have a proven business model for success, which includes leading with technology, service and product innovation and leveraging our global scale, which has historically provided strong returns for our shareholders

 

Critical accounting estimates

 

The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The preparation of these financial statements requires our management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. On an ongoing basis, our management evaluates its estimates, including those related to long-lived assets, casualty insurance reserves and income taxes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from those estimates, and changes in estimates could materially affect our results of operations and financial condition for any particular period.

 

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We believe that our most critical accounting estimates are:

 

Long-lived assets

 

We record long-lived assets, including property, plant and equipment and capitalized software, at cost. For acquisitions of franchise operations, we estimate the fair values of the assets and liabilities acquired based on physical inspection of assets, historical experience and other information available to us regarding the acquisition. We depreciate and amortize long-lived assets using useful lives determined by us based on historical experience and other information available to us. Our estimates of the useful lives of our long-lived assets have not changed during the periods presented. We evaluate the potential impairment of long-lived assets at least annually or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. Our periodic evaluation is based on various analyses, including, on an annual basis, the projection of undiscounted cash flows. If we determine that the carrying amount of an asset (or asset group) may not be recoverable, we compare the net carrying value of the asset group to the undiscounted net cash flows to be generated from the use and eventual disposition of that asset group. For Company-owned stores, we perform related impairment tests on an operating market basis, which we have determined to be the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of other cash flows. If the carrying amount of a long-lived asset exceeds the amount of the expected future undiscounted cash flows of that asset, we estimate the fair value of the asset. If the carrying amount of the asset exceeds the estimated fair value of the asset, an impairment loss is recognized, and the asset is written down to its estimated fair value.

 

We have not made any significant changes in the methodology used to project the future market cash flows of Company-owned stores during the years presented. Same store sales fluctuations and the rates at which operating costs will fluctuate in the future are key factors in determining projected cash flows used to evaluate recoverability of the related assets. If our same store sales significantly decline or if operating costs increase and we are unable to recover these costs, the carrying value of our Company-owned stores, by market, may be unrecoverable and we may be required to recognize an impairment charge. There were no triggering events in 2021, 2020 or 2019, and accordingly, we did not record any impairment losses on long-lived assets in 2021, 2020 and 2019.

 

Casualty insurance reserves

 

For certain periods prior to December 1998 and for periods after December 2001, we maintain insurance coverage for workers’ compensation, general liability and owned and non-owned auto liabilities. We are generally responsible for up to $2.0 million per occurrence under these retention programs for workers’ compensation and general liability, depending on policy year and line of coverage. We are generally responsible for up to between $500,000 and $5.5 million per occurrence under these retention programs for owned and non-owned automobile liabilities, depending on policy year and line of coverage. The related insurance reserves are based on undiscounted independent actuarial estimates, which are based on historical information along with assumptions about future events. There is inherent uncertainty in the ultimate cost for known claims under our insurance coverages, and for incidents that have occurred that will be subject to a claim, but have yet to be reported to us. Analyses of historical trends and actuarial valuation methods are utilized to estimate the ultimate claim costs for claims incurred as of the balance sheet date and for claims incurred but not yet reported. When estimating these liabilities, several factors are considered, including the severity, duration and frequency of claims, legal cost associated with claims, healthcare trends and projected inflation.

 

Our methodology for determining our exposure has remained consistent throughout the years presented. Management believes that the various assumptions developed, and actuarial methods used to determine our casualty insurance reserves are reasonable and provide meaningful data that management uses to make its best estimate of our exposure to these risks. Changes in assumptions for such factors as medical costs and legal actions, as well as changes in actual experience, could cause our estimates to change in the near term which could result in an increase or decrease in the related expense in future periods. A 10% change in our casualty insurance liability at January 2, 2022 would have affected our income before provision for income taxes by approximately $5.6 million in 2021. We had accruals for casualty insurance reserves of $56.5 million and $54.6 million at January 2, 2022 and January 3, 2021, respectively.

 

 

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Income taxes

 

The U.S. Federal statutory income tax rate was 21% in each of 2021, 2020 and 2019. Our Federal income tax provision calculated based on the Federal statutory rate was $131.4 million, $116.6 million and $101.4 million in 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

We recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax basis of assets and liabilities. We measure deferred taxes using current enacted tax rates that will apply in the years in which we expect the temporary differences to be recovered or paid. Judgment is required in determining the provision for income taxes, related reserves and deferred taxes. These include establishing a valuation allowance related to the ability to realize certain deferred tax assets, if necessary. On an ongoing basis, management will assess whether it remains more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized. Our accounting for deferred taxes represents our best estimate of future events. Except with respect to certain foreign tax credits and interest deductibility in separately filed states, our deferred tax assets assume that we will generate sufficient taxable income in specific tax jurisdictions, based on our estimates and assumptions. As of January 2, 2022 and January 3, 2021, we had total foreign tax credits of $10.2 million and $6.6 million, respectively, each of which were fully offset with a corresponding valuation allowance. We also had valuation allowances related to interest deductibility in separately filed states of $1.2 million and $1.0 million as of January 2, 2022 and January 3, 2021, respectively. We believe our remaining deferred tax assets will be realized. Changes in our current estimates due to unanticipated events could have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Fiscal 2021 Highlights

 

Global retail sales, excluding foreign currency impact (which includes total retail sales at Company-owned and franchised stores worldwide) increased 8.9% as compared to 2020. U.S. retail sales increased 4.3% and international retail sales, excluding foreign currency impact, increased 13.9% as compared to 2020.
Same store sales increased 3.5% in our U.S. stores and increased 8.0% in our international stores.
Our revenues increased 5.8%.
Our income from operations increased 7.5%.
Our net income increased 3.9%.
Our diluted earnings per share increased 9.3%.
The inclusion of the 53rd week in 2020 negatively impacted our results as compared to the prior year.

 

During 2021, we experienced global retail sales growth and U.S. and international same store sales growth. We believe our commitment to value, convenience, quality and new products continues to keep consumers engaged with the brand. We launched our newest side item in the U.S., Domino’s Oven-Baked Dips in three unique flavors including Cheesy Marinara, Five Cheese and Baked Apple to pair with our Domino’s Bread Twists.

 

Same store sales in the U.S. continue to be positively affected by changes in consumer ordering behavior observed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been pressured in part in recent quarters due to labor shortages affecting store hours and staffing levels in many of our markets, as well as a waning in the level of economic stimulus activity in fiscal 2021 in the U.S. as compared to the prior year. Our strong international same store sales performance continued with 112 straight quarters of positive international same store sales. We also continued to experience sustained increases in retail sales during fiscal 2021 resulting from evolving consumer trends, as well as the reopening and resumption of normal store hours and operating procedures at certain of our international franchised stores that had been temporarily closed or affected by changes in operating procedures and store hours for portions of fiscal 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our U.S. and international same store sales results continue to be impacted by our fortressing strategy, which includes increasing store concentration in certain markets where we compete, as well as from aggressive competitive activity.

 

During 2021, we continued our global expansion with the opening of 1,204 net stores. We had 205 net stores open in the U.S. comprised of 214 store openings and 9 closures. We had 999 net stores open internationally comprised of 1,094 store openings and 95 closures.

 

We remained focused on improving the customer experience through our technology initiatives, including through our GPS delivery tracking technology, which allows customers to monitor the progress of their food, from the preparation stages to the time it is in the oven to the time it arrives at their doors. Additionally, we offer contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino’s Carside Delivery®, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order. Our emphasis on technological innovation helped the Domino’s system generate more than half of global retail sales from digital channels in 2021. Overall, we believe our global store growth, strong sales, emphasis on technology, operations and marketing initiatives have combined to strengthen our brand.

 

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Statistical Measures

 

The tables below outline certain statistical measures we utilize to analyze our performance. This historical data is not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period.

 

Global Retail Sales Growth (excluding foreign currency impact)

 

Global retail sales growth (excluding foreign currency impact) is a commonly used statistical measure in the quick-service restaurant industry that is important to understanding performance. Global retail sales growth refers to total worldwide retail sales at Company-owned and franchise stores. We believe global retail sales information is useful in analyzing revenues because franchisees pay royalties and, in the U.S., advertising fees that are based on a percentage of franchise retail sales. We review comparable industry global retail sales information to assess business trends and to track the growth of the Domino’s Pizza brand. In addition, supply chain revenues are directly impacted by changes in franchise retail sales in the U.S. and Canada. Retail sales for franchise stores are reported to us by our franchisees and are not included in our revenues. Global retail sales growth, excluding foreign currency impact, is calculated as the change of international local currency global retail sales against the comparable period of the prior year. Global retail sales growth in 2021 and 2020 reflect the impact of the 53rd week in 2020.

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

U.S. stores

 

 

+4.3%

 

 

 

+17.6%

 

 

 

+6.9%

 

International stores (excluding foreign currency impact)

 

 

+13.9%

 

 

 

+8.8%

 

 

 

+9.0%

 

Total (excluding foreign currency impact)

 

 

+8.9%

 

 

 

+13.2%

 

 

 

+8.0%

 

 

Same Store Sales Growth

 

Same store sales growth is a commonly used statistical measure in the quick-service restaurant industry that is important to understanding performance. Same store sales growth is calculated for a given period by including only sales from stores that also had sales in the comparable weeks of both years. International same store sales growth is calculated similarly to U.S. same store sales growth. Changes in international same store sales are reported on a constant dollar basis which reflects changes in international local currency sales. The 53rd week in fiscal 2020 had no impact on reported same store sales growth amounts.

 

 

 

2021

 

2020

 

2019

U.S. Company-owned stores

 

(3.6)%

 

+11.0%

 

+2.8%

U.S. franchise stores

 

+3.9%

 

+11.5%

 

+3.2%

U.S. stores

 

+3.5%

 

+11.5%

 

+3.2%

International stores (excluding foreign currency impact)

 

+8.0%

 

+4.4%

 

+1.9%

 

Store Growth Activity

 

Store counts and net store growth are commonly used statistical measures in the quick-service restaurant industry that are important to understanding performance.

 

 

 

U.S.
Company-
owned
 Stores

 

 

U.S.
Franchise
Stores

 

 

Total
U.S.
Stores

 

 

International Stores

 

 

Total

 

Store count at December 30, 2018

 

 

390

 

 

 

5,486

 

 

 

5,876

 

 

 

10,038

 

 

 

15,914

 

Openings

 

 

12

 

 

 

253

 

 

 

265

 

 

 

939

 

 

 

1,204

 

Closings

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(14

)

 

 

(15

)

 

 

(83

)

 

 

(98

)

Transfers

 

 

(59

)

 

 

59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Store count at December 29, 2019

 

 

342

 

 

 

5,784

 

 

 

6,126

 

 

 

10,894

 

 

 

17,020

 

Openings

 

 

22

 

 

 

218

 

 

 

240

 

 

 

718

 

 

 

958

 

Closings

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(10

)

 

 

(11

)

 

 

(323

)

 

 

(334

)

Store count at January 3, 2021

 

 

363

 

 

 

5,992

 

 

 

6,355

 

 

 

11,289

 

 

 

17,644

 

Openings

 

 

13

 

 

 

201

 

 

 

214

 

 

 

1,094

 

 

 

1,308

 

Closings

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(8

)

 

 

(9

)

 

 

(95

)

 

 

(104

)

Store count at January 2, 2022

 

 

375

 

 

 

6,185

 

 

 

6,560

 

 

 

12,288

 

 

 

18,848

 

 

 

35


 

Income Statement Data

(tabular amounts in millions, except percentages)

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

U.S. Company-owned stores

 

$

479.0

 

 

 

 

 

$

485.6

 

 

 

 

 

$

453.6

 

 

 

 

U.S. franchise royalties and fees

 

 

539.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

503.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

428.5

 

 

 

 

Supply chain

 

 

2,561.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,416.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,104.9

 

 

 

 

International franchise royalties and fees

 

 

298.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

249.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

241.0

 

 

 

 

U.S. franchise advertising

 

 

479.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

462.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

390.8

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

 

 

4,357.4

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

4,117.4

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

3,618.8

 

 

 

100.0

%

U.S. Company-owned stores

 

 

374.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

379.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

346.2

 

 

 

 

Supply chain

 

 

2,295.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,143.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,870.1

 

 

 

 

Total cost of sales

 

 

2,669.1

 

 

 

61.3

%

 

 

2,522.9

 

 

 

61.3

%

 

 

2,216.3

 

 

 

61.2

%

Operating margin

 

 

1,688.2

 

 

 

38.7

%

 

 

1,594.5

 

 

 

38.7

%

 

 

1,402.5

 

 

 

38.8

%

General and administrative

 

 

428.3

 

 

 

9.8

%

 

 

406.6

 

 

 

9.9

%

 

 

382.3

 

 

 

10.6

%

U.S. franchise advertising

 

 

479.5

 

 

 

11.0

%

 

 

462.2

 

 

 

11.2

%

 

 

390.8

 

 

 

10.8

%

Income from operations

 

 

780.4

 

 

 

17.9

%

 

 

725.6

 

 

 

17.6

%

 

 

629.4

 

 

 

17.4

%

Other income

 

 

36.8

 

 

 

0.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

0.0

%

 

 

 

 

 

0.0

%

Interest expense, net

 

 

(191.5

)

 

 

(4.3

)%

 

 

(170.5

)

 

 

(4.1

)%

 

 

(146.8

)

 

 

(4.1

)%

Income before provision for income taxes

 

 

625.7

 

 

 

14.4

%

 

 

555.1

 

 

 

13.5

%

 

 

482.6

 

 

 

13.3

%

Provision for income taxes

 

 

115.2

 

 

 

2.7

%

 

 

63.8

 

 

 

1.6

%

 

 

81.9

 

 

 

2.3

%

Net income

 

$

510.5

 

 

 

11.7

%

 

$

491.3

 

 

 

11.9

%

 

$

400.7

 

 

 

11.1

%

 

2021 compared to 2020

(tabular amounts in millions, except percentages)

 

Revenues

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

U.S. Company-owned stores

 

$

479.0

 

 

 

11.0

%

 

$

485.6

 

 

 

11.8

%

U.S. franchise royalties and fees

 

 

539.9

 

 

 

12.4

%

 

 

503.2

 

 

 

12.2

%

Supply Chain

 

 

2,561.0

 

 

 

58.8

%

 

 

2,416.7

 

 

 

58.7

%

International franchise royalties and fees

 

 

298.0

 

 

 

6.8

%

 

 

249.8

 

 

 

6.1

%

U.S. franchise advertising

 

 

479.5

 

 

 

11.0

%

 

 

462.2

 

 

 

11.2

%

</