Home-delivered pizza was pioneered in Australia by Silvio’s Dial-a-Pizza in the Brisbane suburb of Red Hill in 1978. The business, founded by Silvio Bevacqua and his brothers, grew to a chain of more than 70 stores in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Brisbane seems to have been the birthplace of home-delivered pizza, as the Pizza Oven Family Restaurants, also located there, was offering home delivery before the arrival of Domino’s in 1983. Domino’s, perhaps unsurprisingly, opened its first Australian store, complete with home delivery, in Brisbane. Silvio’s obtained a master franchise and eventually converted all its stores to Domino’s.
Dial-a-Dino’s had no eat-in restaurants and based its business model on home-delivered pizza. The bright yellow Daihatsu cars with the red telephone receiver on the roof were easily identifiable as was the Dino character with the big nose who graced the boxes.
In 1989, Pizza Hut’s owner, PepsiCo Australia, merged the company with the Dial-a-Dino’s network of home delivery units. The merger saw the end of the Dial-a-Dino’s brand and established Pizza Hut as the national leader in the pizza business.
Another pizza chain, Pizza Haven, was also established in Adelaide in 1984. The chain was founded by the Christou brothers, Evan, Louis, Bill and Gabriel. Perhaps inspired by their competition, they also felt compelled to identify their cars with some kind of mascot. For no apparent reason, they chose a blue bird’s head, described as the “Pizza Parrot” but looking more like a rooster. Pizza Haven’s first store was at Glenelg.
Pizza Haven was around for longer than Dial-a-Dino’s, but was bought by Eagle Boys in July 2008. Eagle Boys, which was founded in Albury, NSW, in 1987 and grew to have more than 340 stores nationwide, was subsequently bought by Pizza Hut in 2016.
The two giant pizza chains, Domino’s and Pizza Hut continue to dominate the Australian market, but new franchises have arisen including Crust Gourmet Pizza (141 locations as of 2020) and La Porchetta which began franchising from its Victorian base in 1990 and as of 2020 had 32 locations in Victoia and three in Queensland.