Dominos does a dirty job-How they clean up their mess.

Social Media has become huge today, over a million people visit Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube on a daily basis. When something big hits the internet-it spreads like wild-fire, even if it’s not good news. If someone hears or sees something and they want other people to know about it they can now post it, tweet it or upload it. As soon as one person puts it online they make it available to their hundreds of friends who show it to their hundreds of friends. Unfourtantly this didn’t work in Domino’s Pizzas favor when two of their Conover, NC employees did something disgusting to a delivery order and for some reason decided to record their foul act. The video was posted to YouTube and within 48 hours was viewed by millions and the subject of many bloggers posts.

The famous Domino’s Pizza reputation was hurt pretty bad when the video hit the web, luckily the two didn’t get away with their awful prank  the two people were fired and are facing felony charges. The two employees recorded themselves putting cheese up their nose and putting the dough on their buttocks. (This was removed from YouTube shortly after being posted.) This didn’t mean that it was over, there will millions of people who saw the video and were talking about this. (After seeing that I wouldn’t be ordering Domino’s anytime soon, and I am sure many people would agree.) This was not good for the company, so da na na it was PR to the rescue! The public relations staff at Dominos went hard to work to try to clean up the mess made by their employees. The first thing the company did was apologize. They also closed down the Conover location, sanitized it thoroughly and threw out any food that wasn’t closed and sealed properly.

The PR staff at Dominos did a number of things to try to fix the problem so their customers wouldn’t lose faith in their pizza. They used this bad reputation and hard time to completely turn their company around and improve their product. They called it the “Pizza Turnaround.” They took all the bad criticism and used it to improve their product. They changed and made their product better from all the negative feedback. They created a Twitter account to communicate with their customers. Then they made a Facebook, to make “friends” and talk about specials and coupons they offer. Also, “customer care link” about the incident was placed at the bottom of their corporate website to answer any consumer concerns. These are all good strategies to interact with customers because this way they can receive feedback and other people can see what everyone is saying and thinks. Lastly, they now use e-mail to communicate with all their employees.

Social Media still continues to grow today with more and more people becoming users to the website, it is also becoming a huge part of PR. Domino’s PR used social media in a positive way, although a few of their employees used it negativly.They really turned it around thats why I believe Domino’s PR did a great job turning that negative energy around. They are also working hard to make sure they have the trust of their company which is an important part of running a business. You can see the improvement in the company and their product. They really showed us that we matter and that they will do anything to keep us happy.

-Rhonda Farah

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27 thoughts on “Dominos does a dirty job-How they clean up their mess.

    • Gina,
      It was not the only reason. After the prank they continued to recieve negativity, not just because of the prank but because customers were not happy with the product. So it was just part of the reason why they decided to turn the company around.

      _rhonda farah

  1. The prank itself was unjust because once the media received coverage of it, instantly consumers have changed their attitude toward eating there in general. Honestly what would these company’s do w/out PR agent’s?? It almost seems as though we are the ones stuck with the mess that the company’s employees set out to make. In this case, it may have been easier to apologize because as a company, nothing was done wrong. It was the unlawful employees that set a bad rep on Domino’s brand. The PR agents obviously did a good job in revamping the incident because the company is still in existent. Usually if the PR agent can’t pull through, that’s it! The company would be shut down completely. Dominos pizza is not even in the top 5 ranking of successfull pizza company’s in the U.S., so they really could not afford to have an incident occur and surface the media. Luckily their PR agents were there to turn the negative social media into a positive. This could be a wake-up call for the company to work harder to increase business. Getting involved with the media is a smart idea because that is where many of their consumers rely upon. I feel as though the prank still has a huge affect on their sales even after the “Pizza turnaround”!! Seems like it would be. Is this true?
    -Martise

    • Martise,
      I felt the same, the prank really did change peoples attitudes (mine included) but believe it or not their sales went up after the launch of their “improved pizza.” So PR agents and Dominos really improved their company as a whole overall!
      -Rhonda

  2. Rhonda,

    Ewww! What a disgusting prank! I think this is why PR practitioners receive bad flack occasionally, because of scenarios like this story. “If it bleeds it leads” is a perfect example of people thriving on the negative, but that’s when it comes to reporting.

    As for the PR world, PR people are always there to clean up the fall of a company or person. They are truly noticed when something bad happens compared to something good. Its not that they are only present when something bad happens, it’s because people are more interested in the bad than the good therefore they’re more recognized for cleaning up messes.

    Clearly, social media is a huge and convenient way to communicate with the public. Whether it’s to help promote the company, to invite people to events, or in this case to reach out to their audiences and help change their image. I do appreciate the fact that domino’s decided to reach out and get all the feedback possible to better the company.

    Personally, I’ve never liked Domino’s Pizza and this makes me dislike them even more! However, they’re a great company and do participate in many wonderful charities.
    As for the pizza… yuck. Anyways, that’s beside the point.

    I do have one question; how did this video go viral? Were they trying to loose their jobs or was an outside friend recording and decided to leak the video? That’s all I could think about when I was reading. It’s truly amazing how dumb people can be.

    ~Taylor Maguire

    • Taylor,
      So true about PR only being recoginzed when something bad happens! Thats too bad, but then again the people they help probably really appricate them!! As for the video going viral, they were just two idiots that were bored on a slow night.I guess thats how they went about entertaining themselves… Why they chose to do that of all things is beyond me. They claim it was a harmless prank and that they did not actually give that food to customers, but are both in big trouble!
      -Rhonda

  3. Wow. I feel like I’m new to the internet, because I’d never heard of that before, and the timestamp on that coverage is 2009!

    In light of that hot mess of a prank, I’m pretty impressed with how far Dominoes has come from such a blow to their image. Do you happen to know how any better their stock/profit is since the begin of the social media integration and new quality campaign?

  4. Rhonda,

    I remember hearing about the incident when it first occurred, I am glad I never saw the video though. I would definitely agree with you that the PR representatives as well as the company has done a great job at turning a truly negative thing into something they can improve upon.

    I like how, in the beginning of their campaign to improve their product they encouraged people to send them photographs of things customers felt was not up to par, talk about pressure for every store because of two people thinking they were funny. Now, I noticed, they have focused on the positive products that have been being delivered to homes, with in particular, I believe her name is Jess, commending her on a great job she has done.

    It seems to me, that a company who takes that much pride in their product, as they clearly have shown, should be around for some time. The manner in which they have publicly turned their product around was also an excellent strategy because they need people to see they are doing something, like how people saw the prank.

    Dayna

  5. This makes me laugh because I was always sick of seeing those commercials about how Domino’s is improving and making themselves responible for problems with their pizza but to hear there is a reason for all the commericals makes it understandable. Domino’s has really pulled out all the stops to change their image like Dayna said they even have the people who make your pizza’s name for you so if something is wrong with it they know who messed it up. For me that is genius because it makes every employee responsible for there actions. All from one extreme negative came so many great positives for the company, I hope they gave there PR people raises!

    Ashley Counterman

    • It just really goes to show that they are working really hard to make sure people are getting quality food and service! Their PR agents worked wonders, they really turned their company around!

  6. Rhonda,
    I must admit, when I heard, I was one of those consumers who said I would never eat there again, even though the Dominoes was in a totally different state! In my mind, that Dominoes represented the many Dominoes that we have. If there were disgusting employees there that were hired, then there are definitely some working in Ypsilanti 🙂 . I can admit my fault, as all shouldn’t take the blame for one, so I hesitantly started going back. But it’s a risk eating at any food organization where others are handling your food and involved with the preparation and delivery and you are not able to visually faciliate (that’s why I opt to eat in lol).

    With that said, my latter comment about how I began to eat there again was not because of some moral epiphany. It was more so because of the efforts that the P.R. firm had made to “clean up” the mess. And it was done in icrements. Very tastefully, there was first an apology, followed by a string of events that worked in favor of Dominoes to regain (and in my opinion, improve) the consumer trust in their specific brand. It reminded me that not everything bad has to remain so. To me, the after effect of what happened made them more social media concious, and a lot of good ideas sprung from the unfortunate incident. Whose to say that some of the actions produced in light of the incident would have came into existence otherwise?

  7. I remember seeing and reading about this particular incident on the news. In fact, Dominoes immediately gave a public apology and soon revamped their credibility not only by ensuring that the employees be held responsible, but by also presenting new deals. Since, then Dominoes has had the $5.00 pizza, the comment on the box, and now order reviews online that are publicized everywhere. PR really played a huge part by getting the public and consumers involved in the revamping.

  8. Rhonda,
    I think you picked a very interesting and relevant topic. I always wondered what the drama with Domino’s was all about. It’s so unfortunate that a few reckless employees can tarnish a very popular company.
    Although, I do sympathize with the President. I couldn’t help but notice how scripted his speech.. I mean apologize sounded. It just goes to show how PR professionals can really make a difference. The whole situation was turned around. Now the company seems more conscience of your image. It is also kind of funny how consumers began to comment not only on the prank but the pizza as well. It took a foul prank for them to improve their product. Though these incidents can’t be reversed they did prove to be helpful. Clearly Domino’s had no other option but to apologize and improve. I’m just glad they didn’t give up. It’s going to take a while but from their proactive efforts I can see that they may be back on top one day.

  9. Although I’ve never seen the prank or even heard about it, I think the prank has nothing to do with Domino’s changing their ingredient. They changed their ingredients because their food was horrible and they were loosing millions of dollars to local pizzerias. It has always fascinated me, how can such an awful pizza make it that big; it really amazes me 🙂 Even after they changed their ingredient, their pizza is still horrible, but yet the company is still successful. Which make me believe that it is not always about the product. It’s about good management, good reputation and many other factors that are not food related in this case.

    However, I think the PR team did a great job and I think the president gave a solid message and he seemed sincere about it. I do believe that they have changed their hiring process but I’m not sure about the hygienic/ cleaning part of every store! But again, good job from the PR team, words words words…. it’s all about words. I am really glad they regained their image as I always love to see our national and local companies successful. When businesses are successful, it is good for everybody. Good job, PR professionals, keep the good work going.

  10. I, too, have never heard of this video, but it doesn’t really turn me off to Domino’s that much. Why? Because any national food chain, especially fast food, is bound to have some clowns that are less-than-sanitary. This hardly means that the entire chain isn’t to be trusted. However, I definitely like how Domino’s took action, even shutting down that location. That was a smart move on their part, because it shows that they are willing to do something seemingly “drastic” in order to protect customers. The new recipe is awesome and I love the pizza, so hearing about this video definitely won’t stop me…especially after working at more than one restaurant and knowing that less-than-100% clean is the norm. We have immune systems for a reason, right? Although this case IS a little extreme, I definitely give credit to Domino’s for apologizing and becoming more customer-centered. This is how businesses will thrive, by paying attention to how the customers live and reaching them in a way that will give helpful feedback.

    -Silvana

  11. Hi Rhonda. Good job on the blog. I have to say that I was little misled about with the title. I thought that Dominoes was doing a “bad job” in cleaning up the mess that was created by those two North Carolina employees. I would have to agree with your blog that Dominoes did a great job on cleaning up this mess. I am a person that is very in tune with the news, current events, and popular headlines but like so many of our colleagues, I have never heard of this story. That may be a great thing because that means that the mess was cleaned before it at least got down to me. But I would say that the PR department did a bad job with one thing! Posting that video of the Dominoes President and CEO with him reading an apology letter. To an untrained eye, they may not have noticed that he wasn’t looking into the camera. But to me, it was a turn off to see the President reading a letter on camera without looking into the camera once. You are the President of the company! You should be well versed on the precautions, charges, and everything that has to do with the attempted “hoax”. I felt as a Dominoes customer, we deserved something less mechanical.
    -Orlando

  12. I personally love what dominoes did with their “pizza turnaround” although i think it’s a risky thing to do, I think it definitely worked for them. I enjoyed watching the commercials and advertisements that took the bad criticism and used it in their favor. I even put my faith in dominoes; because i never really liked them, and started ordering from there.

  13. The prank pulled was highly worthy of jail time, but it’s over and done and I highly do believe Domonos has turned over a new leaf, providing very good commercials and very good pizza, even changing the name of their pizza makers into “Pizza Chefs”, now if only other pizza companys can provide the same I’m sure anyone can do the same.

  14. With a great P-R team bad publicity is better than NO publicity at all–but this is my opinion. Ive never been a frequent customer at Dominos, in my city I’ve always thought of it as an mom and pop store. When i found out it was an actual chain of stores it surprised me. Advertisment for Dominos has went to the way side. Even though what those guys did was wrong, it actually worked out for the greater good of the business. More attention from consumers, and outsiders that watched closely as the business re organized its way of marketing. I see thousands of Dominos ads now, some that display great quality pizzas, and quality customer relationships. There building a relationship with the customers that they never HAD, so its all in all great publicity for the company. Great Blog!
    -Ashley Coleman

    • I agree with everything you said except for the bad publicity is better then none, I think that is true in some cases but they could have gone without the bad publicity! But the dirty deed was done, but they handled it nicely!
      -rhonda

  15. i have always dislike Domino’s this prank was childish they had to be bored. there is a saying all publicity is good publicity well not in this case! Sometimes i wonder are pr people behind these things because of how well these things are cleaned up. something to think out. maybe they use to get attention it is a prank and pranks do take some well thought out plans for it to work.
    however, as far as that relationship with it customers yeah they need to try again1

    Dee

    • I don’t think the prank was necessarly their fault, what happened, happened and they can’t change the situation. I think they should get some props for handling the situation in a professional manner.

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