Hail to the Pizza Leader

Read time: 2 minutes

Ten amazing things Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle, ’85, taught students Tuesday night (Oct. 27, 2015) at the Alumni Center about the pizza company and succeeding professionally.

1) Domino’s, which started in Ypsilanti, was originally called Dominick’s and the first idea for the box design, which was quickly abandoned, was to add a dot for every new store opened

2) From 1960 to 1980, Domino’s opened 200 stores, located mostly on campuses and military bases. Between 1980 and 2015, it grew to 12,100 stores in 81 countries. It is now the fastest growing food company in the U.S., beating out Starbucks and Chipotle.

3) Currently, Domino’s is opening three stores a week in India, has 400 stores in Turkey, but only this month did the first store open in Italy. With sales moving toward $10 billion a year, and a global pizza market worth $125 billion annually, it is poised for far more growth.

4) Fifty percent of sales now come through tech platforms: orders originating from laptops and mobile phones. Doyle believes Domino’s is currently the only company where you can tweet or text an order, the latter accomplished with a pizza emoji.

5) Consumers can also place orders through their Samsung Smart TV, Ford Sync car entertainment system, or via a smartwatch app. One half of Domino’s 700 employees based in Ann Arbor headquarters now work in technology.

6) Earlier this month, Domino’s rolled out its first specially designed pizza delivery car, which has a built-in warming oven for eight pizzas, an interior that can fit 80 pizzas and side items, but only a driver’s seat.

7) Doyle’s first piece of advice to students: “Don’t follow your passion. Be passionate about your job.” Only about 10 percent of people know what they want to do professionally when they are in college, he says. Instead, build your skills in various jobs, learn what you like, and you will succeed.

8) “Work smart,” says Doyle. Set yourself apart with full effort, but also be efficient. “Listen,” he also advises. The best sales people don’t talk but listen 80 percent of the time. That way, they learn what problems the client needs solved.

9) “Be honest,” Doyle says. Years ago, Domino’s ran an advertising campaign admitting that consumers were unhappy with the quality of their pizza. Within a week — before the second part of the campaign had even launched explaining how they were improving their pizza — sales went up by double digits.

10) “Find something that is broken…then fix it,” Doyle says, adding that his success came from volunteering to work in the most troubled parts of various companies. In those roles, he made a difference and stood out.

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