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Domino's Pizza to Invade Marine Bases : Fast food: The Detroit-based chain will join Burger King at Camp Pendleton. Competition is motivating the search for offbeat locations.

January 09, 1991|GREG JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Domino's Pizza plans to open storefronts at all domestic Marine Corps bases, including Camp Pendleton in Oceanside that could become one of the Detroit-based pizza delivery company's highest-volume stores, the company said Monday.

Domino's outbid a number of competitors, including Little Caesar's and Pizza Hut, for the 10-year contract that is expected to generate at least $80 million in revenue for the company, Domino's spokesman Wally Power said Monday.

The Marine Corps contract would give Domino's its first major presence on military bases. Now, Domino's has storefronts only at an Army base in Texas and a Navy base in Virginia.

Most of the nation's fast-food chains have responded to increased competition for prime locations by seeking out non-traditional locations, including military bases, college campuses and airports. Burger King, for example, already has a restaurant at the Marine Corp base in Oceanside, and fast-food restaurants have popped up at other bases around the country.

Domino's and other fast-food delivery companies traditionally have done a "brisk business" when it comes to feeding hungry servicemen and women, Power said. But, in most cases for pizza companies, that business involved "off-base trucks making deliveries," Power said.

Domino will pay a set percentage of revenue generated by military sales to base special services funds, which help provide a number of on-base services for servicemen and women and their families. Those services face serious cash shortfalls in the wake of congressional budget-cutting that brought the elimination of federal subsidies, Power said.

Power said the Marine Corps will use payments generated by fast-food contracts to replace some of those lost federal funds. "Base commanders were seeing a bunch of pizza trucks coming through the main gate each day," Power said. "It didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that they weren't sharing in any of that."

Competing pizza shops will be hurt slightly by the Domino's arrangement, said Bill Lyon, manager of Spanky's Pizza on Hill Street in Oceanside. "During the week, it might hurt business, but on the weekends, people will go off base. . . . I was in the Navy, I know that people want to get off base. Besides, Domino's pizza is cardboard pizza."

Storefronts at Camp Pendleton and Twenty-Nine Palms in Riverside County will be owned by a franchisee, Power said.

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