- Domino’s Pizza, Inc is an American multinational pizza restaurant that is currently the largest pizza chain.
- It focused on getting better and revamped its brand, Taking the backlash as an opportunity to get better and never looking back.
- Domino’s came a long way from 2009 facing a rough phase to 2021 becoming the world’s largest pizza chain by following various marketing techniques and working on getting better.
- Domino’s didn’t stop after making a good reputation again but kept on working continuously to get better.
Domino's journey from worst pizza to the world's largest pizza chain!
Domino’s Pizza, Inc is an American multinational pizza restaurant that is currently the largest pizza chain founded in 1960 with its headquarter in Michigan. Domino’s opened its first international store in 1983 in Canada, followed by Washington, United Kingdom, Tokyo, and then slowly expanding it worldwide. Domino’s opened its 1000th store in India in 2016, Outside the United States, India has the largest number of Domino’s outlets in the world.
What happened and how did it all start?
Let’s find out how Domino’s managed to become the world’s largest pizza chain: In 2009, Domino’s was going through a rough phase. It was facing a backlash and was losing customers and struggling to maintain its reputation whatever was left. Its share price was at its lowest which is $3 per share. At that time Domino’s was all about bad pizza! The worst part was that to honor their 30 minutes delivery commitment they were using frozen, stale, and canned vegetables, that’s not a good recipe for a food business, right? That was not all Domino’s also faced social media backlash in 2009 when two of their employees posted a video about disgusting things they do before delivering the sandwiches, demonstrating it in the video. This video went viral and spread like a wildfire within hours the damage was done and all you could see was the embarrassing and disgusting video of Domino’s all over the internet, even if one search Domino’s they would only see the news about the video on Google at that time. Does it seem like a brand that can continue in the market after such a backlash is the largest pizza chain is further away from what it looks, but anything is possible with great marketing and revamping its old ways?
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Revamping the old ways:
So, what do think Domino’s did? They released a press statement defending themselves and explaining their commitment to food safety and hygiene. Do you think it worked? Well, certainly not because of the backlash and bad talks were on social media, if the reputation is getting damaged on social media, then the act should also be taken on social media and not on other platforms, as the people who are criticizing should know that they are trying to revamp and do better but the worst part was that at that time Domino’s wasn’t even had a social media page. The market share was rapidly declining as customers hated their pizza even after the promise to revamp and do better because the message was not delivered properly. That’s when J. Patrick Doyle joined in as the CEO, who certainly helped in the way of making Domino’s the largest pizza chain, he stayed domino’s CEO from 2010-2018. And that’s when the real change happened, they ran a “we’re sorry” campaign and that changed the game altogether for Domino’s. Under this campaign, they released a video where Doyle said “You can use negative comments to get you down or use it to excite & energize the process of making better pizzas, we chose the latter.” The whole idea was to work on bad parts and get better. Instead of making an excuse and shoving off the criticism they embraced their shortcomings and worked on them. That bold marketing move clearly explains how important it is to be transparent and undoubtedly it helped in the path of becoming the largest pizza chain today.
He also launched a rather counterintuitive ad campaign to address the pizza quality problem. The advertisement shared comments from reviewers about their product and they were bad! Some of the comments were – “worst pizza I ever have”, “the sauce tastes like ketchup”, and “the crust tastes like cardboard.” However, Doyle himself appeared in the ads, apologized, and promised to work day and night to improve their pizza. Their campaign improved people’s perception of the brand.
The second round of Revolution for Domino's:
The second round of revolution started at Domino’s when J. Patrick Doyle reminded everyone that Domino’s wasn’t just in the pizza-making business, but in the pizza-delivery business too. That meant they had to focus on tech and transportation. So, Doyle modernized the delivery vans by installing warming ovens and had a pizza tracking app developed using which customers could be a part of the entire delivery process, which made the process more transparent.
Doyle leveraged social media to spread the message that their brand was rebuilding in a big way. And all of this helped Domino’s turn things around. President and CEO J. Patrick Doyle turned the chain around so quickly and efficiently by heeding the customer’s criticism and working to make their pizza better. He not only changed the quality of their product but also included digital innovation and improved its delivery services. Domino’s now employed more people in IT than any other department in the company, because of its focus on IT half of their sales come from the digital platform.
Domino’s also keeps track of their customer’s preference and choices, when a customer calls to order they are greeted by their name making them feel like they are valued and are important. The person taking the order can also see the past orders and help them choose similar ones and give their suggestions accordingly, making the customer feel special and a smooth ordering experience.
Domino’s is using a single POS to power its business. POS is the point-of-sale system. The POS system added touch screen ordering, automatic driver routes, inventory ordering, pizza tracking, order queuing, custom online pizza ordering, and building. Unlike other businesses, Domino’s doesn’t outsource their tech part but the system that they use is in-built by their team. And that’s the same POS being used by all of their franchise making it simpler and easier to collect, store and retain all the information needed. All this makes Doyle’s statement right about being into the pizza delivery business and not just the pizza business.
Today, Domino’s is the world’s largest pizza chain, with more than 17,000 stores worldwide and a market cap of $17.6 billion.
It’s never enough!
Domino’s didn’t stop after making a good reputation again but kept on working continuously to get better, some of their strategies to get better are:
• Domino’s AnyWare:
It was a campaign to make it easy for the customer to order from anywhere, rather than making people come to them Domino’s came up with the ordering facility that can enable ordering from the device and the platforms used by the customers. Domino’s AnyWare includes ordering with a tweet, a text, Ford Sync, Smart TVs, and smartwatches, some other mediums were Google Home, Amazon’s Echo, Facebook Messenger, and Apple or Android smartwatch, a connected car. This made ordering a pizza like selecting a pizza emoji.
• Joe Keery as a spokesperson:
Domino’s came up with the idea to stay in trend and attract customers by landing the long-haired stud from stranger things as their spokesperson.To know the latest trend followed by the domino’s, pls follow our Instagram account –
Lessons learned from Domino's
• Action on customer feedback is very important:
It is not as complicated as we often tend to see but quite simple to flourish your business, listen to your customers and act on their feedback. Domino’s knew something was wrong and they accepted the fact that they need to work on it so they decided to act. Instead of conducting a series of top-level meetings in an air-conditioned room or in-depth analysis or most importantly coming up with multiple technical proposals they chose the old yet straight and simple process, hit the street, collect the feedbacks and work on the product accordingly.
• Revamp the core product if that's where the problem is and the rest will follow:
Most of the companies go ahead with the feedback and make the necessary cosmetic change in their product which sometimes isn’t enough and knowing that Domino’s didn’t only make the cosmetic change but instead they re-engineered their whole pizza recipe from bottom to up. Domino’s worked on all parts of their product and its recipe from crust, sauce, cheese to toppings. Taking the example of the sauce, they came up with several recipes for their sauce which was then tasted by the live audience, and their feedback was collected and accordingly the changes were made and that helped in coming up with the final product, which surely shaped their final recipe. Once the core product is as per the liking of the customers half of the problem is solved now the company needs to focus on delivering their services and improving the customer experience.
• Technology is a good way to improve customer experience:
Domino’s found out the formula for a successful business i.e. good pizza + technology = successful pizza business and hence no other restaurant chain is as technology-obsessed as Domino’s. The main motto is to use technology to make it easy for customers. In India Domino’s even started delivering in the trains, which is a bold move because with the train you can’t go wrong, being on time and delivering to the right customer is a bit of a challenge when a lot of variables like coaches, seat number, birth numbers are involved.
• Be approachable and make it easy for the customers to order:
Being approachable and making ordering easy is one of the most important things with or without technology. Hassles like long ordering forms and other bottlenecks that might encourage the customer to not order or choose other alternatives must be identified and removed. In Domino’s, they display the menu on the top and don’t ask for much information while ordering to make the process quick and enjoyable.
• Create a Buzz by the brand promise might be a good idea to get the attention:
Domino’s has this brand promise “pizza within 30 minutes” which differentiate them and when you have a differentiating brand promise that creates a buzz then word of mouth also kicks in making it more effective.
• Social Media presence is very important:
Domino’s very well learned their lesson and is very active on their social media platforms. They took it to the next step and take orders from messages, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, etc. It is a great way to stay connected with the customers, social media has the power to change your customers to your fan if used well.
• Streamline company’s Standard Operating Procedures:
One of the biggest takeaways from domino’s is their SOP, when we order and it gets into the system, it shows the kitchen display automatically and shows the crust is being prepared by the crust chef and sauce by the sauce chef and so on. The whole process is smooth and streamlined without any chaos because everyone knows their job and what is expected from them and that is an example of SOP in action. Keeping the process clear also helps in the similarity of the taste and operation of the product and services no matter where you are in the world.
• Be transparent with your business:
Being transparent is a good way to gain customer involvement. Domino’s follows a very transparent and shows their whole process while ordering from approval of the delivery, baking, out for delivery and on-road, they show it all. Even their physical stores have an open cooking area and everything is visible, they have made sure to stay as transparent as possible. They also have a display where they show average weekly orders, monthly average orders, average orders in nearby Domino’s stores to keep their employee motivated.
Domino’s has revamped its products and the whole brand and has come up when nobody thought they’ll be able to, that’s because of the marketing strategies they have followed and the unique and innovative ideas they came up with. Its big moment came when they overtook pizza hut and became the largest pizza chain in the world. Domino’s adapted technology so well and have managed to get 60% of their revenue from the digital platform. In fact, in 2018 Domino’s was among one of the top 5 retailers online in the world along with giants like Apple and Amazon.