With a $75 down payment and a loan of $500, brothers Tom and James Monaghan boughttheir first pizza store, called DomiNick’s, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1960. James ended upselling his stake in the company months later to his brother for a Volkswagen Beetle, whenthe company still operated in the red. “The initial days were slow; it was December, andkids weren’t out much,” explains Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’sPizza (dominos.com), now based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.“Delivering pizza to the dorms is what helped turn the businessaround.” In 1965, Tom renamed the business Domino’s, and by1967, the first franchise store in Ypsilanti opened up, beginningone massive domino effect: Today, Domino’s has more than9,000 stores in 60 markets.
As in the early days, the business’ focus on delivery was keyto its success. “We did not invent delivery, but Domino’s wasthe first pizzeria to focus on it almost entirely,” says McIntyre.Tom further revolutionized the pizza industry with the30-minute delivery guarantee introduced in the mid-’80s.And, over the years, several pizza innovations have beendeveloped with the help of Domino’s, including the pizzascreen, the conveyor oven, the corrugated pizza box and hotbag technology.
Tom eventually sold the company in 1998 for $1 billion;in 2004, the company became publicly traded. But in recentyears, the company has undergone major changes,introducing new menu items such as Breadbowl Pastas,oven-baked sandwiches, and the American Legends premium the highly successful Pizza Tracker System as part of the online orderingprocess; the unveiling of a completely new recipe amid a self-deprecatingmarketing campaign; and ads designed to show greater transparency forthe business. But McIntyre insists that the opportunities Domino’s offersits employees will never change. “Nearly 90% of all franchisees in the UnitedStates started as pizza delivery drivers or assistant managers,” he says.“The success of our people is among the greatest successesof our brand.”