June 1, 2011 |

2011 June: Commentary

By Jeremy White

Congratulations to Domino’s Pizza, our 2011 Chain of the Year. You’ll likely recall that the company also received the honor in 2010 (as well as 2003). The repeat performance marks the second time a pizza chain has earned the accolade back-to-back (Papa Murphy’s was our selection in 2008 and 2009).

A certain percentage of our readers are sure to voice a degree of dismay over this issue — they view Domino’s (and every other major player in the category) as an evil empire that sets out to crush independent operations. But the fact of the matter is that the typical Domino’s franchisee owns just four units — these people are community minded small business owners who are more like you than you may realize. Nonetheless, I’m digressing from the main point. Our Chain of the Year award is designed to recognize the accomplishments of the top performing pizza chain, just as our Independent of the Year (coming in August) honors the efforts of a stellar indy operation.

There’s a lot independent operators could learn from Domino’s. The company’s systems, procedures and new “transparent” marketing could be emulated on a smaller scale. In fact, they should be. If you are looking to grow your operation, you simply can’t do it on the fly. At a time when its competition is largely happy with flat or minimally increased sales, Domino’s has enjoyed tremendous sales growth. For a company of its size, real, measured, near double-digit growth is not easy to achieve. Yet the company managed to do just that thanks to an innovative marketing campaign and an aggressive approach to scrutinizing its menu options (80 percent of the Domino’s menu has turned over in the past couple of years).

To read about how Domino’s managed to continue the spectacular rise that began in 2010, turn to page 60. And, be on the lookout for our August issue, when we’ll report on the 2011 Independent of the Year.

SLICE OF HOPE: Hopefully you read about the Slice of Hope charity event I’m organizing in the last issue of Pizza Today. My goal is to raise critical funds for breast cancer research, and I need your help to pull it off. If you can donate 10, 20 or 30 percent of your sales from Friday, October 7, the pizza industry will be able to collectively make a substantial donation to the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation (which is dedicated to giving 100 percent of the Slice of Hope proceeds to four of America’s most promising breast cancer research labs). To learn more about this innovative industry event, see the ad on page 21.

We have Slice of Hope window stickers available now, and we’ll send one to any pizzeria that pledges to make a donation to the charity. Additionally, we also have Slice of Hope t-shirts available for $10 each. We have them in both black and gray, sizes medium through XXL. The profits from the sale of these t-shirts will go to the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation. Buy one for yourself. Buy one for your spouse. Buy one for your employees. Buy a bunch of them to sell to your customers. It supports a worthy cause, and they’re just plain rockin’ shirts! To purchase the shirts and sign up to support Slice of Hope by pledging to make a donation, visit PizzaToday.com and click on the Slice of Hope icon. It’s that simple, and your involvement could potentially save lives and help researchers end this hideous disease.


Jeremy White, editor-in-chief