In 2009, two Domino’s Pizza employees in Conover, North Carolina posted YouTube videos of themselves flippantly violating multiple public health laws. Their recorded actions included putting cheese in the nose, blowing mucous on a sandwich and putting a sponge, used to wash dishes, between the buttocks (Flandez, 2009). The social media response to the videos was immediate and indignant, and the two employees, once identified, were soon arrested on food tampering charges, which, in North Carolina, constitutes a felony. In addition to the lives of two people being ruined, the reputation of Domino’s Pizza also suffered serious setback. The company quickly mounted a PR campaign to repair its public image and restore consumer trust in the brand. Patrick Doyle, then president of Domino’s USA, even posted his own YouTube video in which he apologized for the incident and thanked customers for their ongoing support.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Minimization, Corrective Action, Bolstering
Hello. I’m Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s USA. Recently, we discovered a video of two Domino’s team members who thought that their acts would be a funny YouTube hoax. We sincerely apologize for this incident. We thank members of the online community who quickly alerted us and allowed us to take immediate action. Although the individuals in question claim it’s a hoax, we are taking this incredibly seriously. This was an isolated incident in Conover, North Carolina. The two team members have been dismissed, and there are felony warrants out for their arrest. The store has been shut down and sanitized from top to bottom. There is nothing more important or sacred to us than our customers’ trust. We’re reexamining all of our hiring practices to make sure that people like this don’t make it into our stores. We have auditors across the country in our stores every day of the week making sure that our stores are as clean as they can possibly be and that we’re delivering high-quality food to our customers day in and day out. The independent owner of that store is reeling from the damage that this has caused, and it’s not a surprise that this has caused a lot of damage to our brand. It sickens me that the actions of two individuals could impact our great system where 125,000 men and women work for local business owners around the U.S. and more than 60 countries around the world. We take tremendous pride in crafting delicious food that they deliver to you every day. There are so many people who have come forward with messages of support for us, and we want to thank you for hanging in there with us as we work to regain your trust. Thank you.
Flandez, R. (2009, April 20). Domino’s response offers lessons in crisis management. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/independentstreet/2009/04/20/dominos-response-offers-lessons-in-crisis-management/
Goldman, R. (2009, April 16). Domino’s employee video taints food and brand. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7355967&page=1
Patrick Doyle. Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Patrick_Doyle