Domino’s Pizza operates more than 14,000 restaurants in 85 countries and delivers more than 1.5 million pizzas every day. Here are some completely random facts about this massive pizza chain.
Fast Facts About How Things Got Started
In 1960, Tom Monaghan and his brother James bought an existing pizza shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, called DomiNick’s for $500 down, and they borrowed $900 to make the purchase. Tom got a 15-minute lesson in pizza making from the previous owner Dominick DiVarti before starting out.
After eight months of the business, James Monaghan wanted out because he didn’t want to leave his job as a full-time mailman. Tom bought out his share of the business by giving him the Volkswagen Beetle that was being used for pizza deliveries.
In 1965, Tom Monaghan opened two additional stores in the same county, making a total of three, but Dominick DiVarti would not let him use the name DomiNick’s. An employee returned from a pizza delivery with the idea for the name to be Domino’s. Tom liked the name and that they could use a domino as a logo. He put three dots on the domino to represent the three stores he owned, and with each new store, a dot would be added. Domino’s opened its first franchise in 1967, and by 1978, the company had 200 stores.
In 1975, the Amstar Corporation, which made Domino Sugar, sued Domino’s for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition because of the use of the Domino’s name. A federal court found in favor of Domino’s Pizza in 1980.
In 1998, Tom Monaghan sold his 93 percent ownership stake in Domino’s Pizza to Bain Capital for around $1 billion. He retired after 38 years owning the company.
Now on to More Completely Random Facts About Domino’s Pizza
In 2018, Domino’s launched the “Paving for Pizza” campaign that helped cities repair their potholes using the tagline, “Bad roads shouldn’t happen to good pizza.” A site was launched where a person could nominate potholes in their town to be repaired.
Cities that were picked were provided with a grant for the repairs and other items if they chose to use them, which included stencils for marking the potholes, signs for the road, stickers and magnets for the paving equipment, and a Domino’s gift card for the crew. There were 137,000 nominations, which came from all 50 states. Twenty cities ended up receiving grants to fix their potholes. The campaign was so successful that Domino’s launched a second phase. Source
Domino’s Pizza created the 30-minute guarantee in 1984, which said that if the pizza didn’t reach the customer in 30 minutes, it was free. But a $79 million court judgment against Domino’s in December 1993 put an end to the practice.
A jury in St. Louis ordered Domino’s to pay $750,000 in actual damages and $78 million in punitive damages because a Domino’s delivery driver struck and killed a woman in 1989. Monaghan immediately ended the guarantee after the verdict. Domino’s had previously settled an Illinois case for $2.8 million in May 1993, where a woman had been killed in a collision with a Domino’s delivery driver. Source
Domino’s has a reward program for store managers called “The Rolex Challenge” where the manager can receive a Domino’s-branded Rolex Air-King watch if their store hits $30,000 per week in sales for four consecutive weeks. The program started in 1977, and the Domino’s logo appeared on the dial of the Rolex watch. By the early 2000s, the Domino’s logo was placed on the bracelet. The sales goals have also increased to get the watch as the years have gone by. Source
The busiest day on record for Domino’s Pizza took place on June 17, 1994, during the O.J. Simpson chase in the white Ford Bronco that was watched by 95 million viewers, though the company wouldn’t release the sales figures. Domino’s has eclipsed that amount since it has doubled the number of stores from that time. In the United Kingdom, a record was set for that country on December 21, 2019, when Domino’s sold 12 pizzas a second, moving more than half a million pizzas on that day. Source, Source
Tom Monaghan met his wife when he delivered her a pizza to a dorm at Central Michigan University, where a woman named Margie was working at the receptionist desk. They went on a date, and on their second date, Tom gave Margie a heart-shaped pizza for Valentine’s Day. They got married a year later. The pizza delivery was the first Tom completed at Domino’s. Source
Tom Monaghan bought the Detroit Tigers in 1983, and the team won the World Series in his first year as owner. He sold the team in 1992 to one of his pizza rivals, Little Caesars owner Mike Ilitch. Ilitch was also the owner of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Source
Domino’s announced in April 2021 that vehicles made by Nuro, a maker of autonomous cars, would begin delivery of pizzas without a driver in the vicinity of one Domino’s store in Houston, Texas. Customers would make a request online for their pizza to be delivered by the Nuro R2, and when the vehicle arrived, they could access the doors to get their pizza by using a PIN. Source
In January 1989, a 22-year-old man in Georgia held two Domino’s employees hostage at gunpoint for five hours before they escaped, and he surrendered to police after ordering and eating a pizza. The man was convinced that Domino’s ad campaign at the time which was “Avoid the Noid,” was aimed at him and mocking him because his name was Kenneth Lamar Noid.
Noid was found not guilty of his crimes by reason of insanity and was sent to Georgia’s Mental Health Institute. But in 1995, Noid still thought Domino’s was using the ad campaign to target him, and he committed suicide in his Florida apartment. Domino’s immediately stopped the campaign after the incident. Source
John Carmack, once the lead programmer at id Software who made popular games such as Doom and Quake, would order a medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s almost every day from 1995 to 2010, and it was delivered by the same person for those 15 years. Carmack was such a regular that they charged him the 1995 price all those years. Source
In 2008, Domino’s stock price was trading at $3.85 a share, and Domino’s brought in a new CEO named Patrick Doyle to turn things around. The first thing the company did was admit through a marketing campaign that customers’ complaints about the taste of the pizza were accurate and that it wasn’t very good. Domino’s then overhauled their pizza recipe completely. They also did away with franchisees who weren’t performing and focused on digital technology to make ordering and delivery more efficient. The result became a decade of growth and a stock that now trades in the mid-$400s per share. Source, Source
A Domino’s Pizza franchisee named Jeff Goddard invented the Spoodle, which is a combination of a spoon and ladle that evenly delivers and controls the amount of sauce being spread over the pizza. The Spoodle allowed him to win the “World’s Fastest Pizza Maker” competition in 1985, and the utensil is now widely used throughout the restaurant industry. Source, Source
Domino’s Pizza is served in over 85 countries, and many of these countries have a variety of different toppings on their pizzas, depending on the region. Some examples include squid in Japan, black bean sauce in Guatemala, lamb and pickled ginger in India, fresh cream in France, and grilled lamb in the Netherlands. According to a survey done by Domino’s, the most popular topic in the United States and Canada is pepperoni. Source
In 2011, Domino’s ran ads on a giant billboard at the intersection of 44th Street and Broadway in New York City’s Times Square that displayed real and unfiltered, real-time comments by customers about the company’s pizza. Any customer that ordered using Domino’s Pizza Tracker and left a comment would have their chance for it to be shown on the billboard. The ad ran for two hours and 54 minutes per day and showed 700 comments per day or about four reviews per minute. Source
In 2009, a blogger published a deal for a free one-topping pizza for carryout from Domino’s using the coupon code “BAILOUT.” The problem was, the code was discovered by trial and error by one of the readers of the blog, and it worked, but the code had never been to be promoted and had been created only for internal use. By the time Domino’s turned it off, the company had already given away 11,000 pizzas. Source
In 2018, Domino’s Pizza in Russia started a promotion at the end of August where the company would offer 100 years of free pizza to people who got the company’s logo tattooed on their body and shared an image of the tattoo on social media. The problem was that too many people participated.
The promotion was supposed to last two months, but Domino’s ended it after only five days. Domino’s instead offered the lifetime deal to the first 350 people who had shared a tattoo on a social media platform. Source
Two managers of a Domino’s Pizza in Lake City, Florida, set fire to a nearby Papa John’s restaurant in 2011. They apparently did it to increase sales at their Domino’s store since the Papa John’s had been having brisk sales since opening three months before the blaze. Source
In Salem, Oregon, a man ordered from his local Domino’s almost every night for more than ten years. He wouldn’t always order a pizza and sometimes would order other things on the menu, but the staff of the Domino’s got used to seeing his name on the online ordering site several times a week.
But May 2016, the staff noticed that his name hadn’t popped up for nearly two weeks. The store’s general manager looked up the last time he had ordered, and it had been 11 days. She knew the man worked from home and had delivered food to his home over the past years. She sent a driver to his house, who noticed that the television and lights were on, but no one would answer the door. The driver then tried to call the man’s home but got no response.
The staff was worried about the man and called 911. When deputies from the Marion County Sheriff’s office arrived, they heard a man calling for help inside the home. They entered the house and found the man in need of urgent medical attention. He was taken to a local hospital and was in stable condition after the rescue. Source
In July 2014, a Frontier Airlines flight going from Washington to Denver had to divert to Wyoming because of extreme weather in Denver. The plane and its passengers were stuck on the tarmac of an airport in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for more than two hours. With food on the plane all but gone, the pilot decided to order 30 pizzas from a Domino’s in Cheyenne and paid for them himself. They were delivered in less than 30 minutes to the airplane.
The Domino’s delivery driver handed the pizzas off to personnel at the airport, who inspected them and then took them to the plane in an official airport vehicle. The passengers finally arrived in Denver early the following day. Source