Twenty-seven years after opening its first international store, Domino's Pizza Inc. on Thursday will open its 5,000th store outside of the U.S. The company operates more than 9,800 stores in 72 international markets.

The company is celebrating by presenting three stores with the symbolic title of Domino's 5,000th international store. Grand opening celebrations will take place Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cologne, Germany; and Penang, Malaysia. The markets represent some of the newest and fastest-growing in the Domino's Pizza global system.

The store openings will be marked by a variety of celebrations, including a performance by Frevo dancers in Brazil, a traditional "lion dance" for good luck in Malaysia, and an appearance by Pali Grewal, the 2012 World's Fastest Pizza Maker, at the grand opening in Germany.

To mark the occasion in the U.S., Domino's international division – led by Ritch Allison, Domino's Pizza executive vice president of international – will make a donation of 5,000 euros (approximately $6,250) to the Domino's Pizza Partners Foundation, an affiliated charity created by Domino's to benefit fellow team members in times of tragedy, natural disaster or other need.

"This is a significant milestone in the history of our brand," said J. Patrick Doyle, Domino's Pizza president and CEO. "Earlier this year, we saw our international store count exceed that of the U.S., and this brings us ever closer to that magic number of 10,000 stores. I'm looking forward to celebrating the opening of our 10,000th store worldwide, which could happen sometime this fall."

With these openings, Domino's Pizza now operates 46 stores in Brazil, eight stores in Germany and 83 stores in Malaysia.

"The beauty of pizza, and its global appeal, is that it can be customized to suit local tastes," Doyle said. "The basic foundation of crust, sauce and cheese are fundamentally the same – but you can find anything from fish to fruit on your Domino's pizza, depending on where in the world you order. That kind of flexibility also creates an environment for innovation and creativity – elements that have helped our brand thrive the world over."

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