Domino’s Pizza is one of two major pizza chains from the state of Michigan that have an apostrophe in their name. If you’ve seen our Little Caesar’s video(s), you’ll know that Domino’s is the second largest pizza chain in the United States, surpassing Little Caesar’s during the era of the “Pizza Wars” during the 1980’s to early 1990’s. Domino’s has undergone some seismic changes in the past few years from overhauling their menu to literally basically tearing down and rebuilding a lot of their restaurants, to even creating a mobile pizza mobile that has an oven inside of it to keep their pizzas as warm, gooey and delicious as possible. So, let’s delve into the world of pizza yet again to find the top untold truths of Domino’s Pizza.
10. They Held a Contest to Find the World’s Fastest Pizza Maker
In May of this year, Domino’s held a contest in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to find the world’s fastest pizza maker. The contest was held in front of over 9,000 people and was offering $3,000 in prize money (which is, surprisingly low but when you want to be known as a restaurant that offers pizza for a low-price, offering millions of dollars is sort of off-brand (although I’m sure the people who entered the contest wouldn’t mind that discrepancy)), a trophy and the title of the World’s Fastest Pizza Maker which was presented by Domino’s President and CEO Patrick Doyle (who also only makes $3,000 a month to stay on brand with that value message… Just kidding, dude’s loaded). The winner ended up being a man named Werner Lomker who actually owns a Domino’s franchise in Canada. Lomker finished three pizzas in 57 seconds (an average of 19-seconds per pizza) and of winning the $3,000 (or $5,000 Canadian), Lomker said of winning that it was “amazing” and that he felt “fortunate to bring an honor like this home to Canada for the first time”. Outside of the victory or America in the war of 1812, this has to be up there for all Canadians, who will add a beaver eating a pizza to their money.
9. If you ate a different pizza a day…
If you were to eat one different combination of ingredients and/or toppings that Domino’s a day, from a pepperoni to a cheese, or a half-cheese and half-pepperoni, so on and so forth, Domino’s has calculated that you’d have eaten a different pizza every day for over 34 million days. That means that you’d have to live for over 93,000 years, which’d mean that perhaps pizza is the fountain of youth! Domino’s prides itself on its ingredients, especially as of late and because of that there are a ton of different ingredients you can use to customize any pizza you’d like. Beyond that, the menu itself has mostly been changed from what it was before the year 2008, as about 70 percent of their menu since 2008 is new. Let’s just hope they stop adding ingredients as expecting us to push it to 100,000 years is borderline unreasonable… Deliciously unreasonable (which is the best type of unreasonable).
8. Domino’s is Actually Larger than Pizza Hut Globally
If you haven’t noticed, we love discussing pizza around here at BabbleTop and because of that, we, like a lot of our subscribers, are aware that Pizza Hut is the largest retail pizza-chain in the United States. However, and surprisingly, Domino’s is actually the largest pizza-chain in the world based on gross sales, as it overtook Pizza Hut in February of this year when they released their fourth-quarter earnings from the… Fourth quarter of 2017. Pizza Hut still has more locations than Domino’s, but the blame for the lagging sales at Pizza Hut falls on Yum! Brands, another institution loyal BabbleToppers should be aware of from our Taco Bell and KFC videos (as Yum! owns all three and is a subsidiary of PepsiCo). The reason for Domino’s newfound dominance? An emphasis on how people actually order pizza these days which is via their cellphones, thus Domino’s didn’t stop their overhaul by just fixing up the physical locations they had but in also how they sell their pizza online and via their app. CEO Patrick Doyle claimed after break-dancing for six hours straight on a pile of money (that was also more than $3,000) when he heard the Q4 numbers, that over 60 percent of their orders come from the digital realm, a number that’s sure to increase which should help Domino’s cement their new title as the largest pizza chain in the world.
7. They Were Responsible for the “30-Minutes or Less” Idea
People who chronicle things like the so-called “Pizza Wars” of the 80’s and 90’s point to one moment as the first “shots fired” moment and most agree that that came from none other than Domino’s Pizza, who back in 1973 started to offer a deal that if the pizza didn’t arrive within 30-minutes of the time it was placed, the customer would receive a free pizza, something that evolved to be just $3 off their order in 1983. The “30-minutes or less guarantee” that many (older) millennials remember fondly from their childhood changed Domino’s fortunes and became the industry standard before long. Many of us remember The Noid talking about that guarantee but it was actually abandoned, much like the Noid, in the early 90’s. There’s actually an article about this on Snopes.com that discusses the urban myth that Domino’s dropped their guarantee after a delivery driver who was desperate to make it under 30-minutes, accidentally hit and killed a small child. That story isn’t true but it’s also not super far off the rationale behind the reason that Domino’s ended the guarantee. In 1993 after multiple lawsuits involving their delivery drivers who got into accidents while speeding to a delivery, which did cause some deaths, Domino’s ended their guarantee and executed The Noid via lethal injection. His last meal? Pizza Hut.
6. Speaking of the Noid…
Outside of perhaps the Energizer Bunny, there is no more identifiable (and objectively terrifying) company mascot from the 1980’s and 1990’s than Domino’s Pizza’s “The Noid”. If you weren’t alive back then it’s sort of hard to explain what the Noid was or why he was chosen to represent a pizza chain. The Noid was, a human? We think? That rocked a skin-tight red suit with bunny ears with a black N inscribed in a white circle. The rationale behind his creation was that he was the “manifestation of all the challenges inherent in getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less”, so he represents an existential idea? Yeah, no wonder he didn’t last long. Obviously, after the controversy that surrounded the accidents and deaths linked to the 30-minute guarantee, Noid became emblematic of the problem. Talk about unexpected consequences. Speaking of that, there was a man named ‘Kenneth Lamar Noid’ who was mentally ill and thought that the commercials were made to “mock him”. He ended up holding two employees of an Atlanta Domino’s hostage for over 5 hours in January of 1989, forcing them to make him a special pizza and a salad, demanding $100,000, getaway transportation and a copy of the book The Widow’s Son. He eventually released his hostages and was arrested, with Atlanta’s Police Chief Reed Miller telling reporters of the arrest “He’s Paranoid”. Meta.
5. The Logo
If you’re a true Babbletopper you’ll have seen a few of our videos by now about fast food restaurants. There’s typically one constant that binds all fast food joints and it’s that they clearly have spent a lot of time, energy and money not only coming up with a logo (or hiring multiple ad agencies to do the same) but also market testing that logo to ensure they’re getting the best representation of what the company does or is about and that people will respond positively to the logo (it’s colors, shape, etc.) both on a conscious and sub-conscious level. Beyond that, though, a lot of these logos like to hide little things in plain sight, with Little Caesar’s Toga Man’s toga having little “L”s and “C”s at the bottom (to represent the words “Low Calorie”… We’re kidding, it stands for “Little Caesar’s”, obviously). Domino’s’ logo is no different as the iconic logo has a red domino in front of a blue background. That domino always has three dots on it, with one side of the domino having one and the other side having two. Those numbers aren’t a coincidence as they actually represent the number of stores they had at the time they created the logo. The plan was to add a dot every time they opened a new store but there’s really no domino that has tens of thousands of dots on it… Yet.
4. It Used to be called DomiNick’s
Domino’s was founded by two brothers, James and Tom Monaghan back in 1960. Unlike a lot of fast food founders that we’ve covered or just in general, the brothers Monaghan didn’t start their business from scratch by starting a hamburger, hot dog or orange juice stand (as was the case for McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Orange Julius, respectively) or even by inventing a new type of food accidentally by smashing a meatball with their spatula out of frustration and putting it between a piece of bread like the founder of White Castle (Who is objectively a hero that should be respected on the same level as people like Albert Einstein). The Monaghan’s actually purchased their first pizza joint back in 1960, the restaurant was in Ypsilanti, Michigan and was named DomiNick’s. To essentially re-brand the store while simultaneously respecting the past and promising and implying a new and different future, the brothers renamed that location “Domino’s” in 1965, the same year they started franchising their particular brand of pizza. The real question then becomes, who was “Nick” and was he a dominant personality or some sort of dominatrix? Actually, the previous owner was named Dominick. So. Mystery solved. The Monaghan’s paid Dominick (whose last name was DiVarti) $500 up front and then $900 more to seal the deal. Considering Domino’s is a billion-dollar business, I think that gamble paid off.
3. They Deliver A LOT of Pizza Because They Were the First to Do So in the USA
Unlike some of their competition like Little Caesar’s and/or Papa Murphy’s, Domino’s is all about delivering pizza. They actually are credited as the first restaurant to deliver pizza, something they started the same year they took over DomiNick’s in 1960. Food delivery wasn’t a foreign concept to American’s and the idea of delivering pizza back in it’s native Italy wasn’t either, as certain chefs used to deliver pizza to the royal family of Italy as far back as the late 1800’s. Domino’s thus could be considered the delivery king, especially as they were also the first to do the “30-Minutes or Less” promotion (that turned into the 30-Minutes or… You get $3-dollars off, and then into a ton of wrongful death lawsuits after drivers crashed their cars attempting to make it somewhere in that timeframe (Because $3 was worth like… $5 back in the 80’s)). Domino’s hasn’t stopped innovating the delivery business, as they recently rolled out a fleet of ovens on wheels across the United States that are actually cars that they developed to hold a driver and also an oven. Because of all that work Domino’s actually delivers over TWO MILLION pizzas every single day. No wonder they’re the new global pizza industry champion, as if those pizzas are on average $10, means they’re bringing in $20 million dollars a day globally from their thousands of restaurants.
2. The DXP
Not one to rest on their laurels as the delivery king, Domino’s is always looking for new ways to improve their delivery service (and service in general). That thinking led them to roll out a fleet of what have been called “Batmobiles for Pizza”, the Domino’s DXP mobile oven. DXP stands for Delivery ExPert and is actually a heavily modified Chevrolet Spark. Speaking of sparks, there’s an oven in the back of the DXP that has space for up to 80 pizzas as well as room for sides and a bunch of two-liter bottles. There’s only one seat in the DXP, for the driver, and like the Batmobile, the DXP can shine a light on the ground that projects the Domino’s Pizza logo (although that’s really a light on top of Gotham Police Department’s roof… Spider-Man has a light that projects his logo, though… So, it’s more like that dune buggy Spider-Man had back in the 70’s because who wants to swing between buildings when you can drive on them?). The DXP was actually the result of a competition to find the best way to transport pizza in an oven and while the original idea was for the DXP’s to be self-driving (by using Google’s self-driving platform), that concept is still a few years away and could end up just using drones to deliver pizzas to your home by flying high enough to avoid buildings and power lines but low enough to avoid having to deal with the FAA. An oven that is flying 50 miles per hour and is controlled by a search engines A.I. to deliver pizza to heavily populated areas, what could go wrong? It should actually be fine, as long as you don’t live near an airport (or Pizza Hut).
1. Bang, Zoom… Straight to the Moon!
Earth’s moon is approximately 238,000 miles from Earth. Apollo 8 (which was the second manned spaceflight mission and became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, on a trip to the moon in which they circled it and then returned home) took 69 hours and 8 minutes to reach the moon (which breaks down to about three days). Apollo 11, which was the “One small step for man” one, took even longer, reaching the moon in 75 hours and 56 minutes before “landing” on it and sticking it to the Soviet Union. What does any of this have to do with pizza? Well, it turns out that Apollo 11 actually also had an oven in the back of its ship and that the astronauts survived by eating Domino’s pizza! Okay, we made that up! Actually, we bring it up because on a weekly basis Domino’s delivery drivers drive enough miles (or kilometers) to collectively reach the moon 41 times! That means that the delivery drivers are covering over 9.3 million miles a week and that’s only in the United States (so we can drop the “kilometers” part). Globally they could probably reach the edge of the solar system so the next time NASA looks to reach a moon or planet, they should probably make sure they’ve downloaded Domino’s app!