OK, we're still two months — more likely three — away from having weather you'd actually want to plan an outdoor family reunion or children's birthday party at one of Whatcom County's many parks. But we already know what we want to eat.
Forget the trouble of packing everything you need to grill hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixin's or eating lukewarm fried chicken or cold soggy sandwiches. We want pizza — steaming, cheesy pizza.
Domino’s, which has been bringing pizzas to doorsteps for more than half a century, will now deliver to the great outdoors. The pizza chain said Monday its drivers can meet customers at U.S. beaches, parks and landmarks with piping hot pizza and other food on its menu.
In all, Domino’s said it will deliver to 150,000 outdoor locations including under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; by the Las Vegas welcome sign; or next to a statue of soul singer James Brown in Augusta, Georgia. The locations show up in the company’s app or website as “Domino’s Hotspots.”
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Approximately 205 Domino's Hotspots in Whatcom County went live Monday, according to William Elmer, head of operations support for Noble Food Group, which operates the four Whatcom County Domino's franchises in Bellingham, Ferndale and Custer.
"We've branded ourselves as technology company that specializes in pizza," Elmer said. "We have been improving our online ordering services, and we see this as the next evolution in that."
While many of the Hotspot locations in Whatcom County are located at area businesses, you can also get Domino's to deliver to the curb at many of your favorite outdoor locations, such as:
▪ Whatcom Falls Park upper and lower playgrounds in Bellingham.
▪ Arne Hanna Aquatic Center in Bellingham.
▪ Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
▪ Boulevard Park in Bellingham.
▪ Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham.
▪ Fairhaven Park in Bellingham.
▪ Marine Park in Bellingham.
▪ Cornwall Park in Bellingham.
▪ Hannegan Speedway north of Bellingham.
▪ Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale.
▪ Northwest Soccer Park north of Bellingham.
▪ Pioneer Park in Ferndale.
▪ Pipeline Fields in Blaine.
▪ Peace Arch State Park in Blaine.
Domino's even will deliver to the front offices of several Whatcom County schools and golf courses — though it's not yet possible to have a pizza waiting for you at the sixth hole.
Customers will need to meet their delivery drivers at the GPS locations pinned on the Hotspot map, Elmer said, and the ordering interface will allow customers to include instructions or what they're wearing to make it easier for them to connect with drivers.
In an effort to keep drivers safe, Elmer said, customers must enable the location services on their phone, register for an online account and prepay orders. There also are time restrictions on many outdoor sites, usually at dusk for many parks.
"We're going to build and refine this and continue to evaluate and add locations as we go along," Elmer said. "We want to make it as easy as possible. ... We see this as something that will keep us one step ahead of our competitors."
Delivery is a key part of Domino's business, and it has been aggressive in making it easy to order through tweets, text messages and Amazon’s voice-activated Echo. But competition has grown from other fast-food chains that are offering more delivery options.
Domino’s says it tested the service last fall in Miami, where customers ordered outside hotels and the zoo, and it was successful enough that the company decided to roll it out nationwide.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.