Just what Domino’s didn’t need: YouTube prank in Conover

“[In 2006] the company reported its first full-year sales declines in the U.S. Domino’s went down before the economy did, and it stayed there awhile. The pizza remained cheap, but the recipes and ingredients hadn’t kept up with the foodie movement. And the company had abandoned a key marketing tool — its 30-minute guarantee — in the wake of several accidents, one fatal, which had led to two lawsuit verdicts that cost the company millions of dollars.

“Then, in the spring of 2009, came the moment dreaded by every fast-food chain of the YouTube era: a video of workers doing something gross or illegal. Or in this case, both: A Domino’s employee at a store in [Conover] North Carolina filmed another putting cheese up his nose and adding snot to a sandwich. The video went viral, leading the health department to shut down the restaurant temporarily. Domino’s had the two employees arrested for tampering with food (the orders never left the store and both workers received probation). J. Patrick Doyle, the president of U.S. operations, recorded a two-minute apology. That video didn’t go viral.”

— From “Domino’s atoned for its crimes against pizza and built a $9 billion empire” by Susan Berfield at bloomberg.com (March 15)