How Domino’s Changed Business


Domino, pronounced “dominoes,” are flat thumb-sized blocks of clay or wood, each bearing from one to six pips (or dots). They’re often used in games of skill and chance. Each domino can be placed edge to edge against another, either identical or with different pips, to form a line or an angular pattern. There are many variations of these games, some played by two players, others with teams.

Dominos can be used to make beautiful art: a line of them may form an elaborate shape, like a tree or a person; a grid of them can be set up to display pictures when they fall; and even 3-D structures can be made using the bricks. Dominos are also a great way to build problem-solving skills, since it takes some planning and patience to line them up and then knock them over.

We all know how satisfying it is to watch a long line of dominoes fall, one after the other, till it finally reaches the end. It’s a metaphor for how much we can accomplish with persistence and consistency, especially when we stick with it long enough to see the results of our efforts.

In business, it’s important to recognize when you need to shake things up, and when it makes sense to continue along the same path. The latter is what happened with Domino’s. The company was growing, but they were falling behind other pizza chains in terms of customer satisfaction and financial performance. By 2004 the company had more than $943 million in debt and was slipping away from its core pizza business.

That’s when Domino’s called in new leaders. The new CEO, Jeff Doyle, decided to tackle the company’s biggest problem head on: low customer satisfaction. He launched a program that would change the way the company did business. He put the emphasis on training, and he worked to address the main complaint customers had.

He also worked to change the company culture. This meant introducing more flexibility and trust, and it also meant getting rid of the hierarchy that had been in place for decades. He wanted to create an environment where employees were treated fairly and where managers were encouraged to be creative.

For example, the old company policy against tipping was no longer in place. And the company started offering a rewards program that gave employees a bonus if they hit certain goals.

It’s hard to say how successful these changes were, but they did have an impact. The company has improved its reputation and is thriving now. But it’s a lesson for any organization that’s struggling: if you don’t listen to your customers, you risk losing them. And that can be a huge domino effect.