NOVEMBER 28, 2016
This is a great turnaround story with a lot of insight in how to look at your business differently to turn it around
The scale of the changes at Domino’s are remarkable. Doyle became CEO in 2010, after some troubled years, when the company’s growth was slow and its stock price was stuck, a lame $8.76 per share. Today, Domino’s is the second-largest pizza chain in the world, with more than 12,500 locations in more than 80 countries, and a share price approaching $160. It has moved from being the butt of late-night jokes to becoming a favorite of the stock pickers on CNBC…
… How have Doyle and his colleagues unleashed so much change in such a short period of time? First, by reminding themselves of the business they’re in. Domino’s is not just in the pizza-making business, the CEO emphasizes, but in the pizza-delivery business, which means it has to be in the technology business. “We are as much a tech company as we are a pizza company,”.... All that technology has changed how customers order (using the Domino’s app, or directly via twitter, or even by texting an emoji); how they monitor the status of their order; and how Domino’s manages its operations.
Second, Doyle explains, Domino’s had to reinvigorate the brand. Even if delivery was the essential part of its business, the pizza mattered too—and the pizza was bad. Soon after he took over, the company launched an ad campaign that has become legendary for its boldness, sharing comments from focus groups about what people thought of the product: “worst pizza I ever had”; “the sauce tastes like ketchup”; “the crust tastes like cardboard.” Doyle appeared in the ads, accepted the withering criticism, and promised to “work days, nights, and weekends” to get better
He and his colleagues worked to spice up the company’s image as well as its products. Once the pizza got better, Doyle announced plans to open a Domino’s in Italy—a move that was nothing if not daring. (Starbucks still doesn’t have coffee shops in Italy, although there is talk of opening them in 2017.) He also worked with crowd-sourced auto designers to create a Domino’s delivery car, the DXP, a colorful, cool-looking, modified Chevrolet Spark (an article called it a “cheese lover’s Batmobile”) with just one seat, and a warming oven with room for 80 pizzas
“Transportation is a core part of the business,” Doyle explained, so it makes sense for Domino’s to create a “purpose-built pizza-delivery vehicle.” (The company is also experimenting with robotic delivery, and delivery by drones.) There is substance to all of these initiatives, but it’s pretty obvious they’re also designed to modernize the company’s image, to create a sense of style and a sense of humor to accompany the mushrooms and pepper.