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Domino’s Offers Free Pizza to Ease Student Loan Stress

The leading pizza brand has expanded its Emergency Pizza campaign, leading to widespread media coverage and higher brand awareness.

Getting a college education now pays in an unexpected but tasty way—free pizza from Domino’s. As part of its Emergency Pizza promotion, Domino’s, the largest pizza company in the world, is giving away $1 million worth of free pizzas to anyone with student loan payments.

“Student loan payments have resumed for millions of Americans, and we wanted to help in our own little way by using the power of pizza to do something nice for our customers,” said Kate Trumbull, Domino’s senior vice president/chief brand officer, in a press release. “When life gives you loans, Domino’s gives you free pizza!”

Earlier this month, Domino’s introduced the Emergency Pizza promo to provide a “pizza pick-me-up” to customers facing “so much uncertainty in everyday life,” according to Trumbull. But the promotion might also be a way to lure back customers dealing with financial hardship over the past year. Offering free pizzas to Americans dealing with student loans is a particularly timely move. The federal government’s pause on student loan payments recently ended, and borrowers have to start paying again this month. Balances once more began accruing interest on September 1.

Related: Domino’s two-pronged plan to ramp up same-store sales

Such massive pizza giveaways are not out of character for Domino’s. The Emergency Pizza promo is reminiscent of Domino’s “Surprise Frees” campaign in the late summer and fall of 2021. At that time, the company said it would give away up to five million food items, including thin-crust, hand-tossed and pan pizzas, boneless chicken, cheesy bread and desserts, to randomly selected customers who placed an online order for delivery.

Domino’s has been contending with staffing issues and soft domestic sales for most of this year. The chain’s U.S. same-store sales dropped by 0.6% in the third quarter of 2023 and grew by just 0.1% in the second quarter. The company logged a more impressive 3.6% growth in same-stores sales in Q1.

Domino’s executives are keenly aware that an unreliable economy affects its pizza orders. “As we saw in the last recession, delivery moves with the economy, especially for customers with lower disposable income, who represent a significant portion of our business,” Domino’s CEO Russell Weiner told investors in an earnings call in February, as QSR has reported. “We expect the economy to be a headwind for our delivery business in 2023.”

Free pizza from Domino’s always leads to free media coverage for Domino’s. News outlets like USA Today, CNN and MSN, along with consumer-focused digital sites like Mashed, The Daily Meal and Uproxx, are quick to spread the word to their readers, creating renewed top-of-mind awareness for the brand.

Domino’s Emergency Pizzas for Student Loans program gives those customers who face renewed student loan payments the chance to apply for one free medium two-topping pizza while supplies last (in addition to earning a free Emergency Pizza). Starting on October 25, Domino’s began giving away a limited number of free Emergency Pizza for Student Loans codes each day; that will continue until all $1 million worth of free pizza codes have been claimed.

Here’s how customers can apply for and redeem their student loan Emergency Pizza:

  • Visit dominos.com/student-loans.
  • Apply for a free Emergency Pizza for Student Loans.
  • Customers must verify the email address they provide.
  • If codes are available on that day, Domino’s will send customers an email with the free pizza code, which they can redeem on their next online carryout or delivery order placed within the next 30 days.
  • To redeem the free pizza code for a delivery order, the customer must meet the store’s delivery minimum requirements.