is the job no one wants...
Published on April 22, 2007 By greywar In Business

            Isn’t that what we all want? Maybe not so much. I used to work at domino’s prior to getting my current job and I’ll let you in on a secret… (I sorta enjoyed the business end of the job). This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me as I am fascinated by virtually anything from ant behavior to the economics of traffic meters (it’s a character flaw I think).


            The general manager of my store and I shared a common interest in numbers as applied to poker and sundry topics so he was more than willing to allow me access to the business end of Domino’s as a matter of curiosity. Especially curious were the profit and loss margins from the time I started working under the former manager as compared to the numbers under Rob our current Pizza Overlord.


Our old manager, Ashley, had massive problem when I was hired. Food shortages every week in large proportion, employee turnover that was measured in increments smaller than a single week per employee, and worst of all for a fast food business : outright cash theft from the drawer (Domino’s here doesn’t use cash registers). Ashley couldn’t have cared less about any of this and was oblivious to the fact that the store was careening into the ground.


She continued to hire convicted felons (convicted for running a fake-theft scam of food supplies from a shipping company). I discovered that the food shortages were due to the fact that she would routinely give entire crates of food supplies to her boyfriend who ran the other Domino’s in town (that way his inventory looked good). Employees scheduling simply wasn’t done. Daytime delivery drivers just showed up on days we wanted to work and fought it out with other drivers to see who would actually work that shift. Many days no drivers would show up at all. Cash continued to disappear from the cash drawer.


When she thought that upper management was starting to ask too many questions about the missing money ($300-450/week) she thought she would come up with a “new” trick by deleting orders that had been paid for to level everything out. This is in fact one of the oldest tricks and is easily spotted and Ashley was fired but not before one of her friends used her safe combo to steal a few thousand dollars.


Ashley’s boyfriend Mike is still the general manager at the other store in town and for almost a year has been doing the same thing that led up to the Ashley’s termination. Each week the store is losing about $300 dollars in either cash shortages or “cancelled” orders. Why hasn’t Mike been fired?


The answer lies with the salary structure of this Domino’s franchise. The GM job is normally considered to be a 50 hour a week position on a salary with no overtime. Taking over a troubled store like Mike’s or ours after Ashley’s rein actually involves somewhere around 70+ hours per week for 4 or 5 months until you right the ship. I was actually interested in doing the GM job for the right money. I asked the district manager for $750 a week and he laughed. He told me that the most the franchise paid anyone to GM was $650 and that he himself only made $675 and he had been with the company for 22 years!


 As a driver I was making about $400 a week before taxes but I was only working 30-35 hours, most of which was spent in my car listening to music. Another $250 a week to double my work hours and spend all of it inside the store making food and dealing with drug addled employees wasn’t going to hack it for me. Apparently it won’t hack it for anyone else who is qualified to do the job either. They haven’t been able to fire Mike for more than a year because no one else will do the job.


What baffles me here is that rather than give someone the extra $100 a week to manage the store correctly the franchise owner is instead losing $300 a week by keeping their GM! Now I don’t want the job anymore as my current job pays me more to work less but the utter lack of business acumen astounds me. Mike is also not the only GM with this sort of behavioral problem either… Roughly 1/3 of the owner’s stores is hemorrhaging cash.  I know the franchise owner and he inherited his fortune. It is unlikely that he will keep it if he continues to employ folks like Mike.


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on Apr 22, 2007

Interesting look at the Pizza biz you've posted there Greywar.  Hard to believe that the owner of the franchise and/or the Corporate management hasn't really been interested in fixing things, but then again it could be that just about all of the stores have these issues.

I've seen places like Little Ceasar's pizza pizza! move into my area years ago only to be run out after a few years.  Considering how busy the place had been at times, it never made much sense that Little Ceasar's couldn't make money in the area.  Apparently they could but probably had a lot of the problems you describe which kept them from actually making money.

on Apr 22, 2007
Seems to me it's an old story -G.I.G.O. I think would be the acronym that would apply here. If you hire low wage garbage you get to do a job then you get garbage back in return. You'd think the educated management folks would figure this out.
on Apr 22, 2007
My brother use to manage a Dominoes.  He got the experience and left!  Now manages a store in a larger chain (O'Charley's).  I can see why no one would want that job!
on Apr 22, 2007
I wonder how these pizza guys survive. In Cairo we have Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Papa Johns and hundreds of other small outlets called Pizza Plus, Pizza palace etc. Our home delivery system is fine-tuned here (ref: my blog) but the competition must be tight.
on Apr 30, 2007
I had been thinking of this since you first posted the article, but I will now quote you for truthery:

It is probably a bad thing that I assumed this article would be Army related from the title.