[AMA] Domino's Store Manager Taking Questions

Store manager of 2 years.
Done the lot, dough boy, delivering, instore and now managing.
Can give an insight to coorporate/franchisee life.
Will give general ideas but not specific figures.
I speak from QLD, but 99% of my answers should go for all AU/NZ.
AMA.

Boilerplate: these are my views, not the company's.

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Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza

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              • @lostn:

                But then any religion that demands you not eat meat is going to be based off ethical reasons (or non-human interests as you call it) almost certainly.

                Almost certainly not.

                Religions will declare certain animals "unclean" and therefore not fit for human consumption. Or they will propose periods of abstention to test the human will. Or they will deny categories of food to be eligible for membership in a particular caste.

                Except Jainism, but it too fails to make a case for protecting interests based purely on sentience as it is scientifically understood today.

                Religion is as divorced from animal rights as the very people who invented it - predominantly agriculturists. It's only when philosophers logically stretch some of the concepts within various religions (particularly versions of Buddhism) that they arrive at animal rights, but by that time they are largely rejected by the religious fundies anyway who are generally more interested in their traditions than critical thinking.

  • Did you agree with the change from coke to Pepsi range of drinks? It was really the start to the dominos decline for me.

    Has business taken much of a hit since the size change? We used to get dominos weekly, but when they were shrunk down and seemingly started skimping on the toppings it wasn't great value, even with a cheap voucher. Now we only have dominos every month or so.

    What brand are the chicken meatballs? They're hecking awesome and want to cook them at home myself haha.

    Lastly, not really a question but an annoyance. My local dominos never does the 50% off deals. Even when it's plastered all over tv/Facebook. They pretty much do at most 30% off (when other stores are buy one get one free/ 50%/40% OFF).

    •  

      Indifferent to the drink change. Business has never been stronger actually and topping amounts havn't changed so if that's an issue I'd chase that up with your store.

      Ingham is our chicken provider.

      The truth is, every franchisee hates 50% deals, no money to be made, they're often opt-out these days which most stores utilize, that's why you're not getting the 50% offs, generally the 30% offs are forced though.

  • Is the garlic butter pizza base still around at some stores?

    •  

      Not by default but you can add it on! I reckon they were better than what we've got now too.

  • Honest question. Can we request a pizza with proper toppin amounts rather than extra size pizza for $3 ? Call it double topping option or something. I’d order a sht load more pizzas if you did.

    •  

      It's actually something we considered but I think it got overlooked because of the new extra large. The other option is you work here and see how many kilos of cheese you can fit on a pizza before it doesn't cook anymore!

  • Do stores order their ingredients themselves and are automatically replenished and is this through a PFD or Bidvest or co direct?

    •  

      Twice a week I've got to go through an online order form. I'll need 7 boxes garlic bread, 3 boxes tomato sauce etc… We have access to inventory levels as this is counted daily for main items and weekly for all so the system has an inbuilt "order estimate" thing. But the order form and estimates are different unfortunately because we're contractually obliged to use the US's main system as they own the Australian division. Then the pay for those orders comes straight out of my franchisees' bank account.

  •  

    How many pizzas did you sell last night? If Friday the busiest day?

    • +1 vote

      Friday then Sat, then Thur, then Sun, then Tues. We did 603 last night!

      • How can you say that only 20c is made per pizza? 603 pizzas in 1 night (which sounds like alot) nets you only $120. Most wouldn't get out of bed for that. I understand you sell other things but surely you are making more than that

        • approx… 50K per year profit after all expenses and outgoings paid… 10 year ROI on store/franchise purchase. Ok if your not physically working at the store. Much easier ways to make money though.

          Word seems to be all the franchisees are pissed with the current profit levels, triple that profit to 60c and you have yourself a nice little money spinner.

        • Only 20c per VALUE pizza. Not everyone is an ozbargainer.

        • +2 votes

          The idea is that people buy more than the $5 pizza. Look up "lost leader" on wikipedia. For instance, coles/wollies sell bread at under price to get people in the store to buy other things to make up the loss on the bread. Value pizzas don't make up all of our pizza sales either.

          The other thing is, if Pizza Hut's pizzas start at (I really have no idea) $8. And we sell a pizza for $5, and they would've made $2 off it, but we're only making 20c, well, we may only make 20c BUT we've lost our competitor 10x as much. (Look up Crust's share price on the stock market $RFG, good laugh)

      • Why is Tuesday always the least popular day? Why not Monday?

        •  

          We're open all week and only gave the top days, the complete list is: Friday, Sat, Thur, Sun, Tues, Wed, Mon

          • @User301387: I'm saying, why is Tuesday even quieter than Monday?

            It's not just you guys. Movie tickets were always cheaper on Tuesdays also. There's a term Cheap-ass Tuesday, or Tight-ass Tuesday.

            You could even book flights cheapest on a Tuesday.

            But I never understood why Tuesday specifically was quitest.

    • +1 vote

      Couldn't find your comment where you wanted your son to work in a good workplace, but if you live in QLD, feel free to DM me.

  • Would you buy a Domino franchise if you can afford it?

  • Coming from this question but posting as a new reply for visibility,

    There was this time a while back where I had some free traditional pizza coupons to use, but we really wanted a pepperoni pizza which wasn't eligible for the voucher.

    I thought I'd be smart and order whichever traditional pizza and remove all the toppings except pepperoni and cheese. I thought they'd get the message. The resulting pizza was a very minimally topped pizza which in complete fairness had the amount of pepperoni that would have been expected on the pizza, just without the other toppings.

    Why isn't the value range pepperoni pizza listed as triple or quadruple pepperoni? Because that's how much it comes with…

    Are there other pizzas that deviate from the normal weight per topping?

    Edit: as you mentioned above, Hawaiian on the menu is listed with a single serve of pineapple but comes with double pineapple

    • +1 vote

      There's no normal weight, each pizza has different weights for different toppings. They do group in 25g's though i.e 25/50/75/100g. We follow a chart that has all these weights, if you look around next time you're in, you should see it plastered on the wall.

      That coupon "hack" was surprisingly common and it's now fixed!

  • what meat is the pepperoni made of

    •  

      The ingredients on the box literally says "Ingredients: Meats 100%". But beef, chicken, lamb. The lot.

      • im still surprised that in this day and age, where some people dont eat certain meats: beef, pork etc that some foods can still just be labelled "meat".

  • What are the most heavily topped pizzas in the various ranges?

  • As a store manager…. How old are you and how long have you been working at Domino's?

    •  

      I went from ebiker to store manager real quick. Months. Had quite a few holes line up perfectly for that!

  • Is the cheese in simply cheese pizza the same as the amount of cheese in other value range pizzas?

    • +1 vote

      Seeing as it has no other toppings, they up the cheese to cover for that. You're looking at 125g of cheese rather than 75.

      • Thanks for the reply. If I add cheese to the simply cheese (extra $2) how much cheese is added?

        Cause I'm really keen for a thin base pizza with loads of cheese

      • Is it the same weight for vegan cheese? It always feels skimpy to me, which hurts when it's $3 more.

        • +1 vote

          Same weight.

          • @User301387: Ta. Certainly doesn't feel like it, to me anyway.

            Is the vegan range selling well? (%?)

            • +1 vote

              @afoveht: In stores that don't use scales, I imagine it's an easy topping to under top. Vegan range is extremly poor. There's a strange distinction between e.g margerita with vegan chesse and vegan margerita. They're the same but 2 different "products" on that front, they're selling poorly. Far more "add vegan cheese" orders.

  • I've had a traditional pizza and new Yorker and can definitely tell the base is not the same. Can you tell me more about the pizza base of the new Yorker ? Is it precooked and sent to store ? Do they use a different dough ?

    • +1 vote

      Prepared the same way with the same flour mix. Sorry bud. In fact all bases are made with the same mix sans thin, which has more fat in the mix and gluten free which is shipped to us frozen.

  • Are there any differences between 'now' orders and 'later' orders in terms of the way the food is prepared?

    • +1 vote

      Depends on order size and busy-ness. If you're ordering < 10 pizzas, we'll make your timed order at the time. Otherwise we'll make it earlier in the day when it's quiet and put in the fridge. These'll have slightly more care to them, but we're talking a very small difference.

  • More of a comment than a question:
    I went to order the chocolate cheesecake thickshake or whatever it was (with cream + sauce) and got a vanilla malt with cream.

    They insisted "there's the cream and there's the sauce"

    So I guess the question is: are employees required to know different thickshakes? Is there a screen?

    •  

      An employee in denial that doesn't want to have to remake it.

      You'd have to be very thick to not notice the colour difference between a chocolate and vanilla shake.

      • I didn't really argue the toss much because it was just a free thickshake and they're already making a loss on it
        (Edit: from your below response looks like they were reimbursed)

        But yeah, I was looking forward to a chocolate thickshake not a vanilla one :/

  • When customers use vouchers, does the store wear the discount loss or does the franchise reimburse the cost?

    Sometimes I use codes that make me feel like I'm really ripping the store off. Once I got 6 pizzas for $2 each..

    • +1 vote

      Never reimbursed unless it was a "1000 thickshakes to giveaway" facebook promo or such. We get food cost back for those that are claimed. So yeah, we bare it.

      • Fair enough. Well years of codes have got me hooked into dominos, I can barely stand eating from any of the other fast food or mom & pop pizza shops anymore.
        Undercutting the competition was probably the long term goal.

        I've noticed lately available codes when I want them are becoming rarer, maybe they've started rolling back on them

        •  

          Through competition slowly dying and people being hooked and franchisees complaining, there's slightly less nowadays yes, but with a quick google there's always something.

  • How do I go get the most pepperoni on a pizza?

    • +5 votes

      Open the pizza when they hand it to you, and use tweezers to pick off each slice and put it aside, counting loudly each slice as you put it down. If it's under 32 slice you ahem real loud and stare the staff in the eyes. Otherwise cut your loss and reassemble your pizza. Quite easy really.

  • When ordering online, are the pizzas generally ready before the timer says ready, or just on time? i.e. is the timer manual, or does the system automatically assign the same amount of time on every pizza, even if it gets finished slightly quicker or slightly slower?

    I want to know if I can get there sooner because I always give them a bit of a buffer.

    •  

      The timer's live! So if we're busy and get it in the oven later than usual, the timer's correct. If it's dead quiet and it's in straight away, the timer's correct. I think there's an inbuilt 2 minute buffer for "quality check" that can be ignored.

  • How do you stop your delivery cyclists constantly breaking road rules?

    • Riding along footpath instead of walking or moving to roadway.
    • Riding through busy/congested pedestrian crossings.
    • Riding the wrong way down one way streets.

    I've also almost been hit by a scooter cutting fast onto the footpath around a blind corner.

    eg.
    https://i.imgur.com/wNUjI2b.jpg

    •  

      Depending on the state, riding on the footpath is legal. Otherwise our riders are told that they're the ones copping the fines. That generally scares them.

      • Victoria - so definitely not legal unless they are under 12yo.

        How do you stop them from repeatedly doing it?

        •  

          If enough people call up about one employee they'll get a written warning, then fired after more.

  • Do you have a feel for the demographics of your store?

  • What is the revenue mix by pizzas and other?

    What is the profit mix by pizzas and other?

  • Is the cheese actually real cheese - made by coagulating milk with eg rennnet - or is it fake cheese made from water, veg oil, milk protein and starch?

    • +2 votes

      Real cheese that we pay a hefty amount for, from the US. It was getting a little to expensive so the fat content increased a little bit, but good ol' marketing spun it as "tastier, stretchier cheese" so yes, the cheese promo/advertising is actually admitting you're getting poorer cheese.

  • If I ask, will the staff ensure that gloves that have touched vegetarian ingredients are not used to make my meatlovers?

    • OP replied to this in previous page
      "Depends on the store. Nationally, we're trained to use new gloves, utensils, knives, but I'd be much more comfortable if I asked the staff specifically to be careful rather than trust they'd do the right thing."

  • I think all my questions were already answered above but, gotta say, this is a very interesting and informative AMA, responsive too!

    • +2 votes

      I appreciate it. I've got answers, you've got questions and I've nothing to hide, why not share some of the secrets I've learnt over the years?

  • How much income can an average suburban franchise make per year?

    •  

      To be frank, franchisees are under more pressure than ever. So at the moment they'd be doing well to make more than average wage with one store. It all depends on how much they work themselves in a store. If they treat it as a 9-5 profit jumps because you're paying yourself. It's essentially buying yourself a job. (Comment is same as above, with more correct information)

  • I went to Spain and had €7.25pp all you can eat + drinks (dine in only). My record with a mate was 5 pizzas. Will something similar ever happen in Australia?

    •  

      Considering we're not making money on a $5 pizza and half the stores don't have dine in amenities, I'd wager a guess and say no.

    • still a few pizza hut's with all you can eat… price is significantly more than the good ol days

  • Least profitable pizza and crust type?

    • +1 vote

      All value pizzas.

      Thin crust, takes twice as long per base to prepare, and has more cheese on top.

  • Will Dominos ever get fresh garlic back, as opposed to the white garlic sauce?

    •  

      Seeing as our % of premium toppings are dwindling, and garlic sauce is far easier to mass produce/prepare, I wouldn't get my hopes up. That said, most of the sauce content are tiny garlic chunks anyway.

  • +18 votes

    Few things I've wanted to say but haven't had the questions yet: (had some corrections to make, this was the same comment as the one above)

    • I've met the Don
    • Looking for chances to get out, an extremely repetitive job, and it's customer service…
    • Can't get answers from HO half the time and their communication is poor. For instance, their $15 any pizza delivered campaign for instance, we were told of it on Thursday night, it started Saturday. We had to prepare for ~20% more sales despite our order forms already being in and rosters locked. They had TV ads already sent in and they take weeks to prepare. So there's no excuse to give staff a two day warning.
    • Half the software we license from the US and we have no rights to edit the software. So since 2001, our systems are built on workarounds upon workarounds and it's an absolute mess.
    • Rostering is essentially a guessing game, and when people order is a random thing too, so if your pizza does take an hour to get to you be assured we received the order. We're stressed out like crazy. Our drivers are going as fast as they safely can. And your orders don't go in the oven until they're ready to be taken. Despite the wait you will receive your order fresh and hot. There's no point assaulting my poor staff over the phone on why their delivery is taking so long. You're a joke to us if you're not even one of the ones that have been waiting long and when we have people waiting twice as long and are completely fine with it. We're human, we're doing our best, it's in our best interest to get our deliveries to you ASAP. That being said, most people are understanding and are pleasant to work with but please keep the minimum wage workers with no control over the situation out of your frustrations.
    • The time estimator on the order page is not gospel. Stores have no control over it. It's calculated in a convoluted, often very wrong manner so please don't start your phone call with "The tracker said it'd be here 20minutes ago" (let alone 5) I might just lose it :)
    • You're hungry, we've got food, we're willing to work with you.
    • Job applications are all online, resumes go in the bin once you walk out the door, this might be a better method for "more prestigious" companies, but this is fast food.
    • Honestly don't get that many prank calls surprisingly, maybe 1 a day at 3:30 after school's out, but it's something stupid like "where's the closest pizza hut". The kids hang up very unsatisfied when I give them a complete detailed answer to their question. :)
    • Asking for more toppings will result in a smile and "no worries" you're getting the same pizza as everyone else unless you're going to pay for more toppings. Everything is calculated by the gram, variance only gets our boss angry.
    • In true ozbargain fashion, if you come at ~9pm anyday, there'll often be 1-10 "mistake" pizzas that we're more than happy to get rid of to a good home, freeze 'em and eat them throughout the week.
  • You mentioned $0.20 profit on the $5 pepperoni pizza, what do you think about the business model of Little Caesars? You can get a pepperoni pizza there for $5 as well, but it is larger than dominoes' version.

    •  

      Who? And guaranteed they're making a loss on it. We can only JUST turn a profit because of our volume.

  • Can I say this is a cracker of an AMA…excwlent info and answered a few questions I always had..well played.

  • Is ‘The Big One’ a nuisance to prep and cook?

    Is it a permanent menu item, or does it have an end date?

    Do you consistently sell the 2 allocated per day?

  • Would you be worried about dominoes coming after you for talking publicly on this forum?

    I feel like you need to be careful what you say as some of it is trade secret and should not be publicly disclosed even tho you are a manager or franchisee.

  • I know you've mentioned that all pizzas come with specific weight measures with respect to toppings, but do you think it's possible that if I order outside of peak times eg. 12-1:30pm, that my topping volume is better. I feel I've noticed this to be the case at my local but can't confirm. I've guessed it could be either
    a) they just aren't as rushed and can pay more attention to correct volumes; or
    b) are they potentially clearing ingredients that are out of the fridge and want to avoid keeping out till the next peak (eg. 6pm onwards)

    Is there potential that b) is true / have you noticed this to be the case as well?

  • Thanks for this AMA very insightful