Domino's Delivers An Experience

So Monday afternoon my daughter asks if we can order a Domino's pizza so she and her sister can better study for their exams today (good luck, kids!). Sure, I say, and even volunteer to do it because I've just read a news item by one of our writers about the company's new online elements (see news brief in this issue).

It's as easy to order as it ever was--perhaps more so, but not much more so to this Baby Boomer mom. But the really cool thing is the trademarked and patent-pending Pizza Tracker that I could not take my eyes off of!

"Mark began custom making your order at 5:15 p.m.," it began moments after I clicked "Place order." "Mark put your order in the oven at 5:23 p.m."

A horizontal thermometer-looking design kept track of our pizza step by step. It was like the time I virtually watched the iPod Nanos I ordered for the kids one Christmas leave China, land in Portland or Seattle, move on to somewhere in Indiana and then land in Hartford before arriving at my doorstep.



As I watched--and edited the stories you're reading here--the "Fact-o-matic" kept issuing CNN-like bulletins such as "The entire order taking and pizza production process takes about 12-15 minutes" and "Our drivers cover 9 million miles each week in the U.S."

The first stage, "Order placed," pulsed red then turned solid red when it was finished. Ditto "prep," "bake" and "box." "We packaged your order and placed it in a warm HeatWave™ bag at 5:28 p.m."

"Mark stepped outside for a smoke at 5:29 p.m." Kidding! (Mark is the owner of this particular Domino's.)

I was so impressed! Imagine--my pizza order being tracked and tagged. I felt important. But then, it began to dawn ... nobody at Domino's was actually logging each step. My gawd, if you're making enough pizzas to stretch to the moon and back, no company could possibly hire enough staff to log individual pizza times.

No, it had to be that each step is an average and that after you order the pizza, it takes X amount of minutes to "prep" it and to bake it and then to box it.

But this is where I began to be concerned. After all, Domino's was "estimating," as its "legal stuff" says at the bottom of the page, that the pizza would be at my door in 30 minutes. I had ordered it at 5:15; I estimated delivery at ... oh, 5:45.

I watched and watched, deflecting queries from anxious reporters, ignoring newly arriving e-mails. I was thinking, okay, it should take 10 minutes minimum to get to my door from the Domino's. Any second now it's going to update itself. It's going to say our pizza is on its way.

Alas, "our delivery expert, Tom, left the store with your order at 5:40 p.m." Fifteen minutes later, Tom was at the door, our dogs announcing his arrival. Tom really was named Tom. That was neat. And he guessed our dogs were German shepherd and shih-tzu (close! lab and who knows what, but partly shih-tzu).

After I paid him I raced back to the computer, expecting to see the delivery time updated. But, alack, no dice. I wanted it to record delivery like UPS.

It was delicious, I discovered, as I was "forced" to eat it, one daughter having just that hour declared herself to be ... a vegan. Sigh.

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