Hello Dominos, can I get a pizza with my booger? (2009)

AUGUST 15, 2009

Domino’s Pizza is currently going through a textbook crisis communication’s case.

Two of it’s employees in North Carolina videotaped themselves working in the back room while allegedly making a delivery order for a customer and posted it onto YouTube. One of the employees sticks some shreds of cheese up their nose prior to placing it on the sandwich that he is making, and then places some of the meat close to his rear and flatulates, as well as sneezes upon it, prior to placing it on the sandwich bun.

The two employees have since been fired, but Domino’s have been very quite up to this point.

The video is going viral across the web and is bound to be picked up by the mainstream media.

What I expect is going on with their PR team right now is a debate over whether or not to say something publicly, thinking that by publicly speaking about the incident it will only draw more attention.

So the correct thing to do in this case is to stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away…of course not.

Bad news is not like wine, it does not get better with age.

At a minimum, they could have a statement on their web site addressing the incident and an easy-to-reach contact number or email for their PR department.

Eventually when some mainstream press does a story on this, they will come looking for a statement from Dominoes and if no information is coming out of Domino’s, the only statements in the media will be those of the fired employees on YouTube.

Since the video is going viral across the web, they should have a social media team engaging the blogosphere. A quick google search is already revealing blog posts with titles like ‘Don’t eat a Dominoes anymore’.

No one can blame the corporation for what these two knuckleheads did in one of their more than 8000 outlets, but they can be blamed for not acting quickly enough on the PR front. If speedy action is not taken, they may start to see a lot of their customers start moving over to the non-booger-serving Pizza Hut.

April 16, 2009

I went to sleep, woke up and there have been some movements on the Domino’s front.

First of all, the PR team has been heard from on the Consumerist’s blog via an email response. Shel Holtz provides a good updated on what they have done to this point, so take a read at his latest post here.

Second is that I see the video has been pulled off of YouTube citing a copyright claim by Kristy Hammonds, and as far as I can tell there are no other links available yet but now we know the name of one of the ex-employees.

There is also a response from the President of Domino’s now circulating on YouTube. Viewer comments so far have been positive.

They have also provided this statement:

“Update to our Valued Customers: In the last 24 hours, videos of two of Domino’s Pizza employees appearing inappropriately within one of our franchise restaurants have been circulating online. Since the videos first surfaced yesterday, the two workers have been identified, fired and the affected franchisee has filed a criminal complaint against them, and there are warrants for their arrest. The opportunities and freedom of the internet is wonderful. 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. We apologize for the actions of these individuals, and thank you for your continued support of Domino’s Pizza.”

My evaluation so far is that while the immediate response was slow, they are taking good actions to help improve the situation. The Presidents comment’s were brief and direct. As of last night, the original video had about 750,000 views. This morning the new Domino’s video with the President currently has about 306 views.

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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