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11 Things You Might Not Know About Domino's

In the past 50 years, Domino’s has grown to become the second largest pizza chain in the country.

1. THE FOUNDER WAS A COLLEGE DROPOUT.

Tom Monaghan’s father died when he was just 4 years old. Unable to care for her kids on her own, his mother sent Tom and his brother to a Catholic orphanage for six years. After that, they bounced around to various foster homes. After barely graduating high school—he was last in his class—and a stint in the Marine Corps, Tom tried to go to college in Michigan. He briefly studied as an architect at the University of Michigan but, unable to pay tuition, he took his brother Jim up on an offer to go in on a small pizzeria that was for sale. They bought DomiNick's in 1960 with a $900 loan.

2. TOM MONAGHAN TRADED HIS CAR TO BECOME THE SOLE OWNER.

The original plan between the two Monaghan brothers was to trade off shifts so Tom could continue his studies and Jim could keep up his job as a mailman. But within eight months of buying the pizzeria, Jim decided to focus solely on his job with the post office. Tom traded him the Volkswagen they used for deliveries for sole ownership of the business.

3. THE CHAIN WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE CALLED “DOMINICK'S.”

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It took about a year for Monaghan, who had no pizza-making experience, to get the hang of peddling pies. But he soon bought two more pizzerias in the same county, intending to create a mini-chain of restaurants all with the same name. The real Dominick of the original DomiNick's wouldn’t let Monaghan use his name for an expanded chain, so one of the delivery guys suggested they tweak it slightly to Domino’s.

4. IF THEY’D GONE WITH THE ORIGINAL PLAN, THE LOGO WOULD BE MASSIVE NOW.

The new name lent itself to a domino logo. Monaghan put three dots on the domino to represent the three restaurants he owned at the time, intending to add a dot for each new location. “You can see I wasn't thinking of a national chain back then,” he said in 2003.

5. WHEN MONAGHAN OWNED THE DETROIT TIGERS, THEY CELEBRATED WITH DOMINO’S PIZZA.

Domino’s the franchise was a huge success, making Monaghan a very rich man. After having grown up effectively an orphan, he initially spent the money in flashy ways—acquiring 224 luxury cars, amassing the world’s largest Frank Lloyd Wright collection, and even buying the Detroit Tigers in 1983. The following the year, the Tigers won the World Series and when rowdy celebrations in the streets stranded some of the fans and sportswriters inside the stadium, Monaghan flew in several hundred pizzas from Domino’s on his Sikorsky S-76. In 1998, Monaghan sold the company to Bain Capital for around $1 billion.

6. DOMINO’S MOCKED SUBWAY WITH FREE SUBS FOR “JAREDS.”

As part of their expansion beyond pizza, Domino’s started offering oven baked sandwiches in 2008. The chain recognized that in doing so, they were targeting a certain chain’s market. And rather than deny competition with Subway, Domino’s really went for it: They offered free sandwiches to the first 1000 “Jareds” to who came in, a direct hit at the popular Subway spokesperson. Any spelling qualified, so Jarods and Jerrods were also in luck.

7. IN 2009, DOMINO’S ACCIDENTALLY GAVE AWAY NEARLY 11,000 FREE PIZZAS.

Somehow, in March 2009, a clever customer stumbled onto a promotional code that had been created months before, but never green-lighted or publicized. News of the glitch went viral around southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. By the time the company disabled the code, almost 11,000 free pizzas had been redeemed.

8. DOMINO’S ADMITTED THEIR PIZZA WAS BAD—AND THEN MADE IT BETTER.

By 2010, the complaints about Domino’s pizza and the lackluster flavor had gotten too loud to ignore—even at the company headquarters. So rather than try to stifle the critics, Domino’s featured them in a national ad, and promised to do better. They revamped their entire pie, “from the crust up.”

9. DOMINO’S IS BIG BUSINESS.

As of 2013, Domino’s is the second-largest pizza chain worldwide, after only Pizza Hut, with 11,629 restaurants in total. Brits especially love Domino’s. It’s the number one pizza chain there and in 2015, there were an estimated 75 million pizzas sold in the UK.

10. THE ONLY VEGAN DOMINO’S IS IN ISRAEL.

Cheese is fairly integral to the pizza experience. But in Israel, where veganism is especially popular, activist groups were persuasive enough to convince Domino’s to begin offering a family-size pizza with vegetables and a soy-based cheese for about $20 starting in 2013. It was an exciting development for the 50 or so Israel outposts of Domino’s, but expansion beyond that seems unlikely.

"We'll be paying attention to [the vegan pizza in Israel], but it's not something we're working on here in the U.S.," Domino's spokesman Tim McIntyre said at the time.

11. DOMINO’S ROLLED OUT THE FIRST CAR DESIGNED BY A PIZZA COMPANY.

Domino’s estimates that their 100,000 deliverymen drive a combined 10 million miles a week and deliver 400 million pizzas a year. So it only makes sense that the company has recently developed a car especially designed for delivery. Domino’s DXP, a riff on a subcompact Chevrolet Spark, can carry up to 80 pizzas and includes a 140 degree oven to keep the pies toasty. Domino’s will spread a fleet of 95 DXPs around 25 markets throughout the country. Franchisees can purchase the particular vehicles for $25,000.

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The Top Excuses Employees Give for Being Late to Work
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Expecting staff to just get out of bed and show up on time seems like a low bar for an employer to set, but some workers have trouble meeting this bare-minimum obligation. Their stated reasons can almost sound believable.

Job placement site CareerBuilder.com recently conducted a survey and asked 800 respondents in various age brackets how often they were late for work, as well as over 1000 human resource managers for data on missing workers. Overall, one in four employees admitted to being tardy at least once a month. Those aged 18 to 34 were the most frequently late, with 38 percent clocking in past their expected arrival. Only 14 percent of workers 45 and older were less-than-punctual.

As for excuses: 51 percent said traffic was the most common reason they straggled in. Around 31 percent said oversleeping was an issue, while bad weather (28 percent) and forgetting something and having to return home (13 percent) plagued others.

According to human resources managers, some workers claimed that they were late because their coffee was too hot; that they fell asleep in the parking lot; that it was too cold outside to travel; or that their false eyelashes were stuck together.

Not surprisingly, CareerBuilder also found that 88 percent of workers were in favor of a flexible work schedule.

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14 Secrets of Costco Employees
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Costco has become something of a unicorn in the brick-and-mortar industry. While employees at other chains express concerns over low wages and questionable management choices, the 200,000-plus ground troops at Costco’s massive shopping centers rave about generous pay ($13 to $22.50 hourly, depending on seniority), comprehensive benefits, and pension plans. After one year of employment, the turnover rate is only 6 percent, compared to an average of 16 percent across the retail industry. Not having to incur costs of training replacements is just one reason the company keeps prices low.

It’s no secret that Costco employees are a relatively happy bunch. But we wanted a little more information, so we’ve asked several current Costco workers about everything from pet peeves to nail polish bans to revoking memberships. (All requested we use only their first names to preserve anonymity.) Here’s what they had to tell us about life in the pallets.

1. WORKING THERE IS BETTER THAN GOING TO THE GYM.

Turns out that navigating a warehouse full of goods stacked to the ceiling is kind of like getting an all-day gym pass. “I walk about five to eight miles a day on average, and that's all within the confines of the store,” says Rachael, a Costco employee in Colorado. “When you see pallets stacked with 50-pound bags of flour or sugar or dog food or cat litter, a lot of that stuff had to be stacked by hand by employees before the store opens. Ditto for those giant stacks of shoes and bottles of salsa or five-gallon jugs of cooking oil. It's a lot of hard work.”

2. THEY CAN DO THEIR SHOPPING AFTER HOURS.

Costco shopping carts are arranged together
Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images

While employees typically don’t get shopping discounts, they have something that’s arguably better: the opportunity to shop in a near-empty store. “You can shop after hours, and a lot of employees do that,” says Kathleen, a Costco employee in Washington state. “You just bring your cart to the front register.” The store will keep the member service counter open so workers can check out after other registers have closed.

3. THE GENEROUS RETURN POLICY CAN GET MESSY.

Costco infamously places very few restrictions on returns. Most anything purchased there can be brought back for a refund as part of the company’s overall emphasis on exceptional customer service. Naturally, some members are willing to abuse the privilege. “Members return couches that are over five years old, and interestingly enough, they still have the receipt,” Rachael says. “My guess is that they buy that couch with the intention of returning it someday, so they tape the receipt to the bottom of the couch so they don't lose it. Then, when they've worn it out and want something new, they bring it back and get a full refund.”

Rachael has also seen a member return a freezer that was allegedly no longer working. The store refunded both the cost of the appliance and the spoiled meat inside. “The meat smelled like death,” she says.

4. THEY CAN ALSO TELL WHEN YOU’RE A SERIAL RETURNER.

A shopper at Costco looks at the computer display
Tim Boyle, Getty Images

Costco purchase records typically date back 10 years or so, but employees working the return counter don’t always need to reference your account to know that you're making a habit of getting refunds. “When someone comes in to return something without a receipt and they go, ‘Oh, you can look it up on my account,’ that’s a tell,” says Thomas, an employee in California. “It tells me you return so much stuff that you know what we can find on the computer.”

5. THERE’S A CONVENIENCE STORE-WITHIN-A-STORE.

While employees are generally allowed to eat their lunch or dinner meals in the food court, not all of them are crazy about pizza and hot dogs as part of their daily diet. Many opt for the employee break room, which—in some warehouse locations—looks more like a highway rest stop. Rows of vending machines offer fresh meals, snacks, and sodas, along with a complete kitchen for preparing food brought from home. “[It’s a] relatively new addition that is being implemented at more warehouses,” says Steve, an employee in California. “It's basically like a gas station's convenience store, with both frozen and fresh meals and snacks. The only difference is the prices are more reasonable.”

6. THERE’S A GOOD REASON THERE ISN’T AN EXPRESS CHECKOUT LANE.

A Costco shopper goes through the checkout lane
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Walk into a Costco and you’ll probably notice an employee with a click counter taking inventory of incoming members. According to Rachael, that head count gets relayed to the supervisor in charge of opening registers. “They know that for a certain amount of people entering the store, within a certain amount of time, there should be a certain amount of registers open to accommodate those shoppers who are ready to check out,” she says. If there aren’t enough cashiers on hand, the supervisor can pull from other departments: Most employees are “cross-trained” to help out when areas are understaffed.

7. THERE’S A METHOD TO THE RECEIPT CHECK.

Customers sometimes feel offended when they’re met at the exit by an employee scanning their receipt, but it’s all in an effort to mitigate loss prevention and keep prices low. “We’re looking for items on the bottom of the cart, big items like TVs, or alcohol,” Thomas says. Typically, the value of these items might make it worth the risk for a customer who's trying to shoplift—and they're worth the double-check.

8. THEY TAKE SAFE FOOD HANDLING TO A NEW LEVEL ...

A Costco employee works in food preparation
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

At Costco, employees are expected to exercise extreme caution when preparing and serving hot dogs, pizza, chicken and other food to members. “If an employee forgets to remove their apron before exiting the department, they must remove that apron, toss it into the hamper, and put on a fresh apron because now it's contaminated,” Rachael says. “Or, let's say a member asks for a slice of cheese pizza. We place that piece onto a plate, with tongs, of course, then place the plate onto the counter. If the member says, ‘Oh darn, I've changed my mind, I'd rather have pepperoni pizza,’ then we have to toss the pizza that they didn't want into the trash. Once it hits the counter, it can't come back.” Some store protocols even prohibit employees from wearing nail polish in food prep areas—it could chip and get into the food.

9. ... BUT WORKING AT THE FOOD COURT CAN PREPARE THEM FOR ANYTHING.

Costco employees who find themselves behind the counter at the chain’s food court say it's one of the few less-than-pleasant experiences of working there. For some members, the dynamic of waiting on food and peering over a service counter can make them forget their manners. “Usually members are rude when they are waiting on their pizza during a busy time,” Steve says. “If an employee can excel in the food court, any other position in the warehouse is pretty easy by comparison.”

10. THEY GET FREE TURKEYS.

Costco’s generous wages and benefits keep employment applications stacked high. What people don’t realize, Kathleen says, is that the company’s attention to employee satisfaction can result in getting gifted a giant bird. “We get free turkeys for Thanksgiving,” she says. “I didn’t even know that before I started working there. It’s a nice perk.”

11. THEY CAN REVOKE YOUR MEMBERSHIP.

Shoppers go down an aisle at Costco
Gabriel Buoys, AFP/Getty Images

But it’s got to be a pretty extreme situation. According to Thomas, memberships can be terminated if a member is caught stealing or having a physical altercation inside the store. For less severe infractions, employees can make notes under a “comments” section of your membership. They’ll do that for frequent returns, if you’re verbally aggressive, or if you like to rummage through pre-packaged produce looking for the best apples. (Don’t do that.)

12. MANAGERS GET THEIR HANDS DIRTY.

During peak business times on weekends and around holidays, the influx of customer traffic can get so formidable that managers jump in with employees to make sure everything gets taken care of. “Most people would be surprised if they realized that the person who just put all of their groceries into their cart at the registers or who helped load that huge mattress into their car was actually the store's general manager,” Rachael says.

13. EVERY DAILY STORE OPENING IS CONTROLLED CHAOS …

Shoppers appear in front of a Costco store
Scott Olsen, Getty Images

Like most any retail store, Costco prides itself on presenting a clean, efficient, and organized layout that holds little trace of the labor that went into overnight stocking or display preparation. But if a customer ever happened to see the store in the last hour before opening each day, they’d witness a flurry of activity. “It's controlled chaos with loud music along with the blaring of the forklift sirens,” Steve says. “Employees are rushing to finish and clean up, drivers are rushing to put merchandising in the steel [shelving], and the floor scrubber slowly but surely makes its way around the warehouse. It truly is a remarkable choreography that happens seven days a week.”

14. … AND EVERY CLOSING IS A SLOW MARCH.

To avoid stragglers, Costco employees form a line and walk down aisles to encourage customers to move toward the front of the store so they can check out before closing. Once the doors are locked, overnight stocking begins in anticipation of another day at the world’s coziest warehouse. “Our store has over 250 employees altogether,” Rachael says. “If all of us do our little bit, then it's a well-oiled machine that runs without a hitch.”

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