From its new Pizza Tracker app was a link to blast real-time feedback good or bad. Unfiltered, they were then shared on a scrolling feed on a 4630-square foot digital billboard in Times Square.
So, how did that kid with the humble summer job do after burning the bridge as CEO? The advantages from discomfort and disruption produced more than a 14% jump in same-store sales in the very first quarter of 2010, the largest ever recorded by a fast-food chain. That is staggering growth for any company in any quarter when it was already doing more than a billion dollars a year in sales.
Doyle did not inherit a disaster. The company had slowly gained market share right through the recession just before this growth. To me, this is the best part of the story. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable made him the perfect candidate to completely disrupt his own company.
“You gave every marketing professor a coronary!” he was told in an interview. Doyle responded, “Marketing has changed dramatically. Go back 30 years and a company like Domino’s could control the message. We could spend hundreds of millions on television and pound it at consumers and they had no way to respond. They just had to sit and listen. Now, consumers control the brand. The way you manage that is you listen to them. Understand what is going right and wrong. Make changes with that feedback and earn trust. Our mass media follows behind this social media strategy, most companies do it the opposite way.”
As I like to say at K&C world headquarters, there is no difference between the guy who says, “We’re screwed” or the guy who says, “We’re good” because neither is going to try to improve that day.
Heading the opposite way from the crowds is a wonderful place to start. I think back over the past two decades and wonder, of the couple billion pizzas delivered since Google and Domino’s both IPO’ed in 2004, how many were ordered by investors too busy to cook while in search of the next great technology stock?
Better might be to look for businesses so beautifully boring they do not attract a crowd, but with a little disruption can serve millions more customers. Tom Monaghan was the first delivery man for Domino’s after buying Dominick’s pizza store in Ypsilanti, Michigan and then changing the name. How un-crowded a business idea? Well, from his autobiography Tom explained what happened when customers refused to pay.
I didn't call the police. I just went and demanded the money…and I didn't hesitate to swing a punch to persuade them to pay up. From time to time, we'd have pizza thefts from parked vehicles while drivers were busy with customers. I'd hide in the back of the car the next time it went to that neighborhood and wait for them to try it again. I'd carry a meat-tenderizing mallet or a pop bottle as a persuader, and that approach always solved the problem.