Domino's Pizza Youtube Video Lesson: Focus on Standards, and Pack Your own Lunch.

Posted by: David Kiley on April 15, 2009

Domino’s Pizza is taking its turn in any company’s worst nightmare. The video below, made by three Domino’s employees, was climbing to one million views on www.youtube.com.

The video shows workers talking about all the mischief they create in the kitchen with the ingredients for sandwiches and pizzas. In one scene, a worker is seen putting an ingredient up his nose and then on a patron’s sandwich.

The above video is a newsreport. Youtube.com previously had the uncut, original video made by the disgruntled employees, but Domino’s apparently succeeded in getting the site to take the video down. So much for free speech.

However, some people who had maade copies are putting it up faster than youtube.com can take them down. Try this onee for the uncut version.

This debacle for Domino’s comes 15 months after Taco Bell had to endure the fallout from an Internet video showing rats in the kitchen of a New York City Taco Bell, as well as an outbreak of sick diners as a result of e-coli traced to a lettuce vendor.

“The opportunities and freedom of the internet is wonderful,” the statement reads. “But it also comes with the risk of anyone with a camera and an internet link to cause a lot of damage, as in this case, where a couple of individuals suddenly overshadow the hard work performed by the 125,000 men and women working for Domino’s across the nation and in 60 countries around the world.” The statement apologizes for the former employees’ actions and thanks consumers for their continued support.

Domino’s issued a statement saying that the employees were tracked down, fired and had warrants for their arrest sworn out. Beyond that, the company doesn’t want to do much talking. This is a playbook run by Johnson & Johnson 25 years ago. After the company was victimized by a tampering with Tylenol capsules that resulted in TK, the company would refuse to give out basic details of the event for years after. If a reporter called the company asking to verify dates and facts of the event, the communications office of J&J would stonewall—the idea being that if they didn’t cooperate, maybe the reporter wouldn’t write anything.

As first reported by Ad Age, the video has taken at least a temporary toll on quality and buzz ratings of Domino’s as measured by BrandIndex. Buzz fell from 22.5 points last Friday to 13.6 yesterday. Domino’s quality ratings fell from 5 on Monday to minus 2.8 yesterday. Zeta Interactive’s measurements show Domino’s buzz ratings have been overwhelmingly positive, at about 81%. As a result of Monday night’s video release, however, the perception is now 64% negative.

One of Domino’s responses is to use Twitter to try and reverse the trend. Using the handle, “dpzinfo,” the brand is using the opportunity to promote positive coverage, thank consumers for kind words and “retweet,” or resend, tweets from other users supporting the brand.

While the ubiquity of video-cameras and social networking and video posting sites like www.youtube.com lays any company open for this kind of mischief, the Domino’s video also reinforces what many anti fast-food consumers believe about such chains; that they actually have very little control over what happens in their kitchens, which are largely manned by low-income, low-education, largely unmotivated transient workers.

Of course, the same can be said of kitchens of fancier fine dining restaurants (Ever see Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares?). But the psychology of the consumers and price/value economics dictates that consumers are of the mind that owner operators of independently owned restaurants are keeping closer tabs on their kitchen staff.

At bottom, though, the video backs up the idea of packing your own lunch.

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Reader Comments

katrina limbaugh

April 15, 2009 6:22 PM

so what is your take on the response from domino's? is it better to remain silent in this type of situation, or proactively communicate with the media and public? i appreciate that they are self-aware enough to tap into twitter, but are they using it to address customer concerns or just boost positive buzz stats?

at the end of the day, this could happen to ANY fast food chain, or, to your point, even a finer dining one. i think the response afterwards is what really matters. hoping that this works out for them, i thought their new marketing was really giving them a boost.

From Kiley: It's never a good idea to not answer the media's questions.

Bud

April 17, 2009 8:59 AM

personally I find the idiotic domino's pizza video complete BULL! first of all anyone with a single brain cell knows domino's is a tiny pizza chain & the pizzas are not made at the franchises wake up people domino's is the mcdonalds of pizza anyone who believed that stupid video is as dumb as the morons who made the stupid thing & 2nd I'm glad I only eat real food this way I never have to be concerned with imbeciles farting on or wiping themselves with something I plan on eating this video is a perfect example of how intelligent the people who buy pizza from a chain store style junk pizza franchise are absolutely PATHETIC!

susan hart

April 21, 2009 4:56 PM

As a 25-year veteran of PR and crisis management, I wish Domino's had some things sooner and differently. Of course it's easy to be the Monday morning quarterback. You're right though - you need to always respond to the media, including online sources. Timing is everything, and so is brand protection. If you don't try to protect the brand for your customers and shareholders, do it for your employees!

Daniel Waters

April 22, 2009 8:27 PM

Today, 4/22/09, I visited the Taco Bell on Wadsworth and Crestline in Littleton, Colorado and received more than I bargained for in the “Fully Loaded Taco Salad”. My mother and I went through the drive-through where she ordered for us 3 crunchy tacos, 1 bean burrito, a large Pepsi and 1 Taco Salad. I paid $11.05 for the items and we immediately parked in the Taco Bell parking lot to eat our meal.

While we were eating, we looked for the receipt, but could not find it. However, I told her that I would go back in the restaurant and ask for it. Immediately upon opening the Taco Salad, I found a medium length, brown straight hair sitting on top of the lettuce. I picked it out and threw it away, thinking that it was something that happens at restaurants on occasion, and started to eat the meal. About 2/3 of the way through the salad, I started to gag on something lodged in the back of my throat. It seemed to pass down, but there was still something stuck in my mouth. I reached in and pulled it out, very disgusted to see that it was what appeared to be a blue broom bristle; 1 ¾” long, which I photographed.

Upon discovering this foreign item in my food, I went into the restaurant and spoke to the counter person (female) about getting a copy of my receipt, also mentioning the issue with the food. She insisted that she had placed the ticket in between the napkins, so I searched the food bags again and could not find it. I then spoke to the manager Alberto(?). At the end of my conversation with him, I asked why I did not receive a receipt, and he said, “You didn’t get a receipt because we’ve run out of register paper.” The manager then refunded my money and provided me with his manager’s name and phone number: Mario Mata 303 434-5122.

During my conversation with him about the blue bristle in my food, two female workers who obviously found the situation very funny, giggled, called me an “idiot” in Spanish, and generally berated me for complaining. I do not think they realized that I am part Spanish and clearly understand the language. I am sure you are aware many people are out of work in today’s economy, and I am outraged that you hire rude and obnoxious people who obviously do not give a damn about your customers’ safety or comfort.

I am willing to go the full mile.

Daniel Waters
720 254 3259

Steven Callahan

April 23, 2009 6:01 PM

Bud,
I you are not very articulate in your response, thus I had a hard time understanding you. However, I want to say that domino's makes their pizza when it's ordered. They are not premade. Therefore, not bull. And hey, I like domino's thin crust pizzas.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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