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If you were Dominos Pizza's marketing department, how would you deal with this social media mess?

Apparently posted to YouTube by employees of the fast-food chain, the video depicts kitchen workers trash talking their employer while all the while adding nauseating embellishments to food destined to the company's customers.

Interestingly, viewers seem to be using YouTube to get these nameless employees canned. Viewers have been asked to favorite the clip and rate it 5 stars to vote the miscreants out of jobs.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 14 April, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

Follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

160 more posts from this author

Comments (14)

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Robert Barker, ipoints Ltd

Looks like they're already out of a job...

http://consumerist.com/5211428/consumerist-sleuths-track-down-offending-dominos-store

over 7 years ago

Fleur Hicks-Duarte

Fleur Hicks-Duarte, Director at Pass It On Media

Strangely, I think the only way out is to use traditional PR to publicly condemn this practise, make an example of intolerance to this by sacking the entire branch bar the manager, and, as Felicity said, talk about the new training course in detail and in all media. An inventive way to tackle it would be to create a game out of the video (we're talking daring guerrilla style here) in which one gunges or shoots down the culprits for crimes against the innocent pizza-loving public. Fleur Pass It On Media

over 7 years ago

Peter McCormack

Peter McCormack, Founder at McCormack Morrison

It is worrying for them. I think they should just counter it with their own viral campaign trashing those in the video, maybe like Fleur recommends as a game or their own viral video.

over 7 years ago

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veronica fitzhugh

I would probably create a bizarre rumor that the video was actually the work of some religious right Subway master guerilla marketers.

over 7 years ago

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Lee Odden

It's obviously not a rational presentation and that weakness should be leveraged by Dominos. Reasonable people can clearly see how blatantly inappropriate the behavior is.  

As the video gains popularity, Dominos would do well to create a video response so consumers can see the "other side of the story".  It's past the point of "ignore and it will go away".  

How Dominos responds to such a video will say a lot more than the original video posted by the now ex-employees.

over 7 years ago

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Peter Himler

Lee's right.  A video response, tagged accordingly, would be helpful.  And while I suspect that such a response would take a VERY serious approach, i.e., "we adhere to the strictest standards," the company may want to add some humor to the hopefully (un-slick) production - given its target audience (and the audience on YouTube). 

Would a single video quell the controversy?  Probably not, but it's a start.  More importantly, this incident is a wake-up call to Dominos' PR operatives to ratchet up the "listening" piece of the social media equation.

Peter Himler

http://theflack.blogspot.com

over 7 years ago

Chris Bryant

Chris Bryant, Chief Digital Strategist at BigVoice Unlimited

The real problem for Dominos (and the entire QSR industry) is that the public already knows this is going on. This is a more common reality than we'd all like to admit when cost-driven companies employ underpaid workers to do important jobs like food handling & preparation. This is not a soapbox issue for me, it's just the practical reality for the QSR business model.

The only solution to this problem in the long run is expensive. Dominos needs to address this by associating its brand with food preparation excellence. Perhaps (as some suggested above) creating Dominos U. that teaches young, inexperienced workers how to properly handle food and also instills some kind of corporate pride as a result of being better trained. The problem for Dominos is that its approach can't be a PR or marketing stunt. It has to be real or they will only dig a deeper hole.

If I were advising Dominos, I would sanction or close the offending restaurant and use traditional PR to disseminate that message. I would offer no direct social media response and instead just listen. Social media has done its job here - it has exposed an operational weakness that must be addressed.

The QSR industry would do well to observe and begin formulating an approach to this systemic problem. It is only a matter of time before these kinds of videos become vogue. Our younger generation (currently working these jobs) know first-hand that there are numerous problems and may increasingly take on the role of muckraking reporters. It is in our country's long-term best interest but will cause some serious short-term pain for corporations.

Social media may ultimately produce this generation's Upton Sinclair... if we're lucky.

-Chris Bryant

over 7 years ago

Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles, Tech Reporter at Econsultancy

I don't think there's a good response available to Domino's here. The current response (firing the employees and pursuing legal action) is the most appropriate and Domino's belief that it doesn't need to draw more attention to this is probably wise, even if gut instinct is to be more proactive.

The sad truth, as Chris points out, is that these sorts of incidents are not as uncommon at restaurants as we'd like to believe. They happen, and at high-end restaurants too.

Unfortunately you can't teach ethics and common decency; more training probably wouldn't have helped these employees because they were despicable human beings, not employees who didn't understand the rules and regulations.

over 7 years ago

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Mr. Slate

If you were Domino's Pizza's marketing department, how would you deal with this social media mess? I will preface that the video subjugates the consumer with the reality - that food tainting does exist, or does it? First of all realize that these weren't kids, the offenders were in the early thirties possibly no high school diplomas. Time's are tough higher the 'hiring' standards. Second, all Domino's should be designated 'franchise owned' or 'privately owned' reason -- franchise owned should be rigorous in their hiring practices as well as quality control. Third, all employees need to wear disposable gloves for cold/hot food prep. As an aside I stopped (2005) eating at privately owned Domino's (El Cajon, San Diego county) because the pizza quality (burned topping) I ordered on two occasions were substandard and ineffective (cold pizza) delivery service. Finally the shock value of the video should be taken into consideration, notice the girl holding up the book "stori telling" because of the food preparer, her prompt, nullifies the woman's argument that it was just a joke. As a result, Domino's needs to seriously do an audit of all their employees and perhaps install video camera's in their food prep areas and subject them to HQ audits of course.

over 7 years ago

Peter McCormack

Peter McCormack, Founder at McCormack Morrison

Here is your response:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/BrandRepublicNews/News/898755/Dominos-boss-takes-YouTube-repair-brand-damage/?DCMP=EMC-DailyNewsBulletin

Fair enough, pretty militant, I think most people will trust Dominos and just think the two people in the video are idiots.

over 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Very interesting story. You can't do anything to stop people fooling around and doing something unsavoury. The power of the social web is that this can become public domain and spread very quickly, doing damage.

It is an interesting response from Dominos. I bet there was a lot of media coaching and discussion before that video was released! I guess the CEO has no choice but to act strongly - perhaps a warrant for arrest is OTT but then again a breach of hygiene could lead to serious illness, so perhaps the message will deter other people from doing something similar.

thanks

james

over 7 years ago

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Heather Mitchell

I agree with what James said about the Dominos response video. It was clear from the outrage that the original video was a viral monster, so they needed to take it seriously. Also, crediting the YouTube viewers who alerted them to it was wise. Perhaps more companies could start taking advantage of this "self-policing" aspect of YouTube.

I like how the response was formulated in the same medium that the "attack" was. This increases the chances of Dominos reaching the same audience with their side of the story, and increases the effectiveness of the damage control.

I also like the idea of Dominos U that some of you were proposing. Often in these situations, showing the public that you're making changes really helps repair reputation and public opinion. After the NBA brawl between the Pacers and Pistons in 2004, the NBA established their "NBA Cares" campaign in which players are active members of their communities. It took some time, but the reputation of the NBA has come a long way. I think if Dominos formulated the type of training program for employees like some of you suggested, their actions might speak louder than their words.

over 7 years ago

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Lu

This is the right site for anyone who hopes to understand this topic.
You realize so much its almost tough to argue with
you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).

You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for many years.
Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

about 4 years ago

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Felons Jobs

The answer is stricter Quality control. It will be a bit more expensive but in the long rung it is necessary to protect its brand.

about 4 years ago

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