Meet the New Domino’s…May 25, 2011
…same as the old Domino’s. I will preface this by admitting that it’s all completely my fault for this negative dining experience. Not for the quality of the food, but for being suckered in by, in my opinion, an ingenious marketing campaign.
About a year ago, Domino’s Pizza started airing a series of self-deprecating commercials in which that company’s executives read emails from customers about the bad quality of the food. I thought it was very refreshing to see my own opinion reflected in those commercials, and I found it very interesting that a company would spend the money to address their food’s poor quality on national television. You remember how the campaign went from there – they told us how they changed the ingredients, started using fresh veggies from local farms, etc. They explained how in pizza commercials, the food shown is fake or nailed to a table to create an illusion of cheesiness. All together, I found the marketing strategy to be very creative and unique, and eventually I caved in and decided last night to order a Domino’s Pizza for the first time in probably 15 years or so.
The online ordering process was actually very easy to use and well-thought out. You enter your address so it can tell you where your pizza will be made, then you go step by step, selecting the pizza size, then the style of crust (they have the original, thin and crispy, Brooklyn-style, or deep dish). Then you select your toppings – Domino’s actually has a few toppings rarely seen at other pizza joints like salami, banana peppers, and roasted red peppers. You can then add other menu items like wings (with a variety of sauces), sandwiches, and pasta. The whole system is very user-friendly and fairly idiot-proof. It’s very simple to indicate if you want “light” or “extra” sauce, cheese, or toppings, and with a quick click you can tell them if you want a topping on the whole pizza or just half. Once you place your order, an order tracker appears that tells you in real time the progress of your order. Last night it told me that “Kelly has begun preparing your order at 6:31pm.” So when it’s almost to the end, you know it’s time to leave to pick it up (or you know it will be delivered soon). And sure enough, when I went to pick it up, Kelly had it ready right on time.
So far, the Domino’s experience was going quite well. We ordered a special they had for a 12-inch pizza with 8 wings for $10.99. We got salami on the pizza with banana peppers on half, and wings with “fire” sauce. And here’s where the story takes a downhill turn. The pizza did not taste much different than we remembered Domino’s in the past. It was slightly improved, but that’s like getting a “new and improved” Ford Pinto. Slightly better Domino’s is still not very good. The crust was flacid and too chewy, and that weird taste in the cheese that we recalled from years ago still lingered. As for the wings, on Domino’s menu it says they are “crispier than ever.” These were so opposite of crispy it wasn’t even ironically amusing. But they still tasted ok – the “fire” sauce actually had a nice kick to it. If they had been remotely crispy, I would say they were worth checking out.
So as I said at the beginning, I realize that having a bad experience with Domino’s is all my fault for buying into their campaign and thinking it would be a whole new level of deliciousness. It’s unfortunate, because it really was a good marketing strategy – it’s just too bad they couldn’t make the food taste as advertised. But hey, at least you have me out there making these discoveries for you, saving you the trouble. Now we’ll just wait for Taco Bell to try and reinvent themselves.