Social media risks at Dominos pizza

A Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., is seen assembling sandwiches, spraying snot on them, sticking cheese up his nose before placing it on a piece of bread and passing gas on a slice of salami. The woman holding the camera narrates. “In about five minutes, they’ll be sent out to delivery, where somebody will be eating these, yes, eating them. And little did they know that cheese was in his nose and that there was some lethal gas that ended up on their salami,” she proclaims proudly “That’s how we roll at Domino’s”.

The woman, Kristy Hammonds, 31, uploaded the video on YouTube. In a matter of days, thanks to Twitter and other viral social media, the clip had been viewed more than a million times and Domino’s had an instant crisis on its hands. Both Hammonds and the other employee in the clip, Michael Setzer, 32, have been fired from the pizza-delivery chain and now face felony charges for distributing prohibited foods.

The company did not publicly respond to the video immediately, hoping attention would subside. But when it became clear by mid-week that the controversy was only escalating, Domino’s executives acted. The company posted an apology on its website and asked employees with Twitter accounts to tweet a link to it. The company also created its own Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to reassure consumers that this was an isolated incident. And Domino’s U.S.A. president, Patrick Doyle, issued an apology on YouTube.

There are four ways to attack a corporate crisis in the digital age:

1.  Blog

Blackshaw advises Domino’s to create a blog on its website, where the company can highlight great deals, new marketing campaigns.

2.  Go Back to Its Base

Whether they’re pepperoni junkies or hungry college kids, Domino’s customers are extremely loyal. And now more than ever, the company needs to tap into this crust-chomping base. Domino’s can gather the names of all customers who have offered positive feedback over the last couple of years, and send those people a quick letter or e-mail saying: This incident is isolated, we appreciate your business and, please, encourage your friends to stick with us too.

3.  Update Wikipedia

Blackshaw calls Wikipedia a “reputational broker,” a gateway through which financial analysts, the media and even current and future customers come in contact with the brand.

4.  Friend Google

If you searched for “Domino’s” on Google on April 17, the video, entitled “Disgusting Domino’s People,” was the third result (the president’s video apology, entitled “Disgusting Dominos People — Domino’s Respond,” was the fourth). If you searched for “Domino’s and disgusting,” the whole first page of results dealt with the incident. One link screams “Never Eat at Dominos Again.” The company has to move more aggressively to cancel out the negative reinforcement in the Google results.


One response to this post.

  1. I wanted to share this social media risk resource. It’s the Human Resources Guide to Social Media Risks. It is available at


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