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Domino's Restaurant Kaizen

I was watching a little TV to wind down this evening, and saw an interesting commercial from Domino’s. Apparently, the pizza franchise did a little restaurant kaizen and came up with a new recipe.

I am sure restaurants are constantly tweaking their processes and their secret ingredients, but this is the first time I have seen one be so open about how bad their customers viewed the old way. The quotes the commercial used were that the sauce tasted like ketchup, and that the crust tasted like cardboard.

I had a passing thought that I was curious about how the woman was able to make the latter comparison. I wondered if she had previously tasted cardboard, or if she designed an experiment specifically to try to find a match for the flavor of the crust. I’ve got a strange sense of humor at times…

Restaurant Kaizen Experiment...Does the crust taste like this?

Back to the restaurant kaizen. It’s nice to see a large chain striving for continuous improvement. I am curious, though, about the timing. Why is Domino’s doing this now? I wonder if they made a previous change that started eroding sales, or if the competition just got better at a faster pace, leaving Domino’s behind.

Though I haven’t had one of their pies in a long time, I used to eat Domino’s rather regularly, way back when the ‘Avoid the Noid’ campaign was running and Domino’s was the king of the hill. Hard to imagine this recent commercial way back then. It goes to show how easy it is to become complacent and lose focus.

Some of the key Lean learnings I took from this 30-ish second ad:

  1. Don’t wait for a crisis to make changes. Constantly look over your processes and products to make sure they are still effective and relevant.
  2. Put the voice of the customer to use. I’d be surprised if this was the first time that Domino’s heard about pizza-eaters’ perceptions. Don’t lose sight of customer value.
  3. Nothing is sacred in kaizen. Changing a restaurant’s recipe, especially one as well established as Domino’s, is a big risk. People go to the wall to protect processes that are far less central to a business. If Domino’s is doing it with their ingredients, we should all probably question the things we think have to be a particular way.

Interestingly, the ad appears to be effective, at least for me. It made me curious to try out the deal they are offering. I am wondering how it will be received, though, by the people who actually like the pizza the way it is. I’ll be watching to see how this restaurant kaizen turns out for Domino’s.


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