Domino’s Pizza and the Domino Effect


Domino’s has long been known for its pizza. But the company also has its hands in a lot of other things—from food delivery to software analytics. And that has led to something called the domino effect, where one initiative leads to another.

In the case of Domino’s, it all started with leadership. In 2004, when the company had more than $943 million in debt, its CEO knew that something needed to change quickly if the business wanted to survive.

So he started by focusing on the customer. The goal was to offer more convenience, which would lead to greater customer satisfaction and, ultimately, more revenue. To do this, Domino’s rolled out new ways for customers to order their pizzas. They also worked on enhancing their delivery system and expanding the menu. But the biggest change was changing the culture of the company.

The idea was that if Domino’s employees felt more engaged, they’d be happier at work and, as a result, their behavior would change. They’d be more apt to talk about their jobs with each other, which would in turn help them make better decisions. This change in culture was the underlying force that caused the domino effect at Domino’s.

But there’s another way to think about the domino effect. For example, a writer might compose their manuscript off the cuff or follow a careful outline, but they still need to consider the reaction of their characters and the consequences of those choices. The same is true of business leaders. Whether they’re implementing a new strategy or addressing a crisis, it’s important to consider the impact of their decision on others.

A simple game of dominoes can provide a small demonstration of the Domino Effect. To score points, a player must place a domino tile so that its ends touch other dominoes. If a domino is played to a double, the two matching sides must be adjacent (one’s touching one’s, or two’s touching two’s). The shape of the chain can then develop in a snake-line.

The word domino is derived from the Latin dominus, which means “master of the house.” The earlier senses of the word evolved from that, including a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at carnival season or during a masquerade, and then to the playing piece itself. In both English and French, the word later referred to a black domino contrasting with a white surplice in a priest’s costume. Today, domino is most commonly used in reference to a set of matching domino pieces. Some large domino sets use more readable Arabic numerals instead of the traditional pips on the pieces. This allows more players to participate in a game.

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