By now, I’m sure most of you have seen the videos of the two, infamous Domino’s employees as they play “hide the bodily excretion in the food.” This is nothing short of appalling, disgusting, horrible. But it’s not really surprising. Anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen or restaurant has seen similar acts, I’m sure, if not worse. In fact, even most who haven’t had the pleasure of working the food service industry have probably imagined, or feared, at one point or another, the various distgustitudes that take place in fast food kitchens. We just choose not to think about them.
By the by, if you have yet to see the videos you can find them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFxqC8hZ_xs and http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2009/04/video-let-the-dominoes-appall.html)
They have circulated through blogs and all forms social media, just now knocking on the door of traditional media outlets, causing quite an uproar, and leading many to turn their backs on one of the nation’s leading pizza chains.
Domino’s Communications VP Tim McIntyre recently spoke out in regard to the impeding crisis with a brief response, as predicable as it was irrelevant. To paraphrase ‘We’ll find them… they’ll be fired…they don’t represent the rest of Domino’s”
But, as a PR, um…person, and as a consumer, I’d assert that these were never the questions being asked. Of course they’ll be fired. We know that these are only two of the many individuals employed by the franchise.
The real questions here are:
How will you, Domino’s, convince your consumers that the same behavior doesn’t occur in the rest of your stores?
How will you distance yourself from the complete lack of hygiene and customer service now inexorably associated with the Domino’s Brand?
We’ve seen this with Taco Bell, but there it wasn’t blatant human misbehavior that causes the eruption of fear and outrage. It was tainted lettuce.
Mr. McIntyre, I’d like you to explain to us, not what you plan to do to these employees, but how you let it happen in the first place and how you can prevent it from happening in the future.
First of all, where was their supervisor? Isn’t there supposed to be a manager present who is charged with controlling employees? And PLEASE don’t tell me that one of these employees was the manager.
And secondly, and this is directed toward all fast food chains, how do you plan on preventing this type of behavior? If you have any chance of re-instilling confidence in your brand among consumers, you have to prove to us that you are taking measures to ensure we are not subject the misanthropic whims of your underpaid and overworked workers.
Until then…I know I’m going to avoid fast food for a while.
Another thought, per coworker and friend @Elliotschimel – “Wouldn’t it be great if this were all just a stunt by Pizza Hut?”
Which brings me to my biggest question – Where the Fuck is @Dominos? The VP responds on one blog…but the brand is completely absent on twitter, where the marjority of the commotion is centered and where the most potential lies for mitigating the fallout. Bad Move Dominos.
Honestly, Domino’s should have been on twitter long ago, joining the likes of Starbucks and Dell in active consumer engagement and brand monitoring. Perhaps this illustrates, reminiscent of the #motrinmoms debacle, the Crisis Communications trumps ‘ongoing conversation’ as the best reason for big brands to maintain a presence on sites like Twitter.
But even if they grappling with the question of how effectively to use the site, which is arguably the only excuse for their continued absence, they should have created an account as soon as these videos hit. They should have had representatives responding to blog posts and concerned twitters, horrified and shouting boycott. They should have offered assurances and explained what they are doing to fix the situation. But as of this update, 4:13pm, on April 14th, 2009 – @Dominos is still an unregistered twitter handle, just begging to be brandjacked. I know I’m tempted…aren’t you?
Scratch That – Not Unregistered, just dormant. @Dominos & @Dominospizza – no tweets, no response and probably not even affiliate with Domino’s – Just a Twitter Squatter Who thought of brandjacking them before I did. Props Joey.