Change at Domino’s
This pizza company is introducing a new recipe and a new CEO.
Rising from the middle of the Ann Arbor headquarters of Domino’s Pizza Inc. (DPZ) is a structure both functional and symbolic: a four-story-high, fully operating Domino’s restaurant. Surrounded by glass walls, it is an apt symbol of the transparency with both employees and customers that the company says it tries to foster. Passersby can see workers — who might include an accountant, a management trainee or a new college grad — take orders, ladle sauce on pizzas, build sandwiches and fill drink cups. Everyone who aspires to a career at this venerable global brand must do a tour of duty in the kitchen — up to and including the company’s new president and CEO, J. Patrick Doyle.
“Yes, I’ve made pizza, washed dishes, swept the floor,” says Doyle, whose eager expression suggests he’d do it again if need be. “Part of the corporate culture is to be engaged in what we do. We’re not in the executive wing, we’re not in the corner office dictating policies and programs. This store reminds us why we’re in business.”
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As Doyle begins his inaugural year heading this $5.6 billion company — which has 170,000 employees and 9,000 stores in 62 countries — he faces multiple challenges. For one, the U.S. pizza market is mature, and sustained same-store growth will be difficult to achieve, according to John Glass,* an analyst at Morgan Stanley Research, part of Morgan Stanley (MS). Doyle must also steer international growth, which the company says is vitally important to the bottom line. Right now, a reported 40 percent of revenues come from outside the U.S.; that proportion will increase over the next three to five years as the brand enters new markets, says Doyle. And finally, he must oversee the continuing rollout of the company’s new pizza recipe, which was introduced in December. “For the next year, it’s all about execution,” says Doyle. “We’ve got this new and inspired pizza. From a business standpoint, making sure we’re executing that correctly in the stores is going to be critically important to our success.”