Domino's Aims for Slice of Gourmet Market With New Artisan Pizza

Domino's (DPZ) will never be confused with a brick-oven pizzeria in Napoli, but the delivery giant hopes the launch Monday of its new Artisan Pizza "gourmet" line will make it appear a bit more upper-crust.

In striving for outside-the-box thinking among national pizza chains, Domino's officially served up its Spinach & Feta, Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio and Tuscan Salami and Roasted Veggie variations to an oven-to-doorstep-hungry nation. All three Artisan creations are available for $7.99 as the debut campaign kicks in with TV ads -- just in time to hook football fans who brave the walk from couch to porch each Sunday to answer the delivery kid's doorbell ring.

And just in case we're not buying the handcrafted Artisan vibe, each box is signed by the store manager. You know, so we can be sure exactly where it came from. "We have never launched anything that showcases our quality ingredients and craftsmanship quite like Artisan Pizza," Patrick Doyle, Domino's Pizza president and chief executive officer, said in a release.

Domino's has 9,436 delivery and carry-out stores in the United States and more than 70 international regions, racking up $6.2 billion in sales in 2010.

It is a leader, along with Yum!-backed Pizza Hut, in mass-market pizza. Now we'll see if Domino's can connect with its customers by making a supposedly higher-end pizza with a more personal touch.

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