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First Things First


When I was in college, my roommate and I ate every meal at the food hall, except on the occasional Friday night when yes, you guessed it, we splurged on Domino’s.

It was harder back then. Much like your parents telling you they walked uphill both ways to elementary school, I’m telling you when I ordered Domino’s pizza, I had to pull out the Yellow pages (you can Google that if you don’t know what those are), look up the number, and then use the rotary dial on my wall phone to call the location closest to the school. You know you could break a fingernail using those phones!

But time marches on, and when I had kids—boys involved in a myriad of sports and activities—I occasionally relied on Domino’s to feed us as we navigated a busy schedule. The rotary dial on my phone was gone, replaced by a sleek unit with buttons. And a few years later, I was using a cell phone. But I still looked up the phone number, albeit on the Internet.

Times have changed and so has Domino’s, as our cover story so aptly points out. Today, you can get your pizza delivered through a number of venues, all with a nod to technology.

You can order your pepperoni pie:

•    by text on your phone;
•    in a tweet on Twitter;
•    via a message through Facebook;
•    from across the room on your Amazon Echo or Google Home devices;
•    through your smart watch, a la Dick Tracy style;
•    on your TV screen;
•    through your car’s GPS system…

Need I go on? And according to FT Associate Editor Tom Kaiser who interviewed Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle at their headquarters, they are not done yet. Much like folks saying McDonald’s is more of a real estate company than a restaurant one, Domino’s is looking more like an ecommerce company than anything else.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

It’s one reason why the chain is gaining on the big boy of pizza, Pizza Hut. But I think there’s more to the story than that, given Doyle’s leadership. You can have all the technology in the world, but if you can’t execute at the restaurant level, nothing else matters. What does he say is next on the agenda? Tom’s one-on-one with Doyle is a fascinating read you won’t want to miss.

It’s quite a jump from reading about the CEO of a mega-franchise to a story on a mom who wanted a better life for her child. But, that’s the great thing about franchising—those stories co-exist. Dina Kimmel is founder of We Rock the Spectrum, a sensory gym created for kids with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs. After years of saying, “I’m sorry,” for her son’s behavior, she decided to do something uniquely designed for children like him. More on that in FT Managing Editor Laura Michaels’ story this month.

Speaking of Laura, I couldn’t believe she doesn’t like crinkle fries, which are a personal favorite of mine. I was a little incredulous about that fact— I learned it by reading of the exploits of the FT editorial staff as they taste-tested hamburgers for us, the readers. They did what we shouldn’t have to do. How brave of them! Who won best hamburger? Read on.

It doesn’t end there: In this month’s issue we also cover salt therapy, changes at the SBA, the commonality between snake charmers and mutton, building the best app and some beef jerky thrown in, just because we can. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. I better “call in” my order for dinner.

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