This blog series is brought to you by FohBoh Inc., the cutting-edge social Web technology company for the $1.2 trillion foodservice industry. This series will focus on the social media side of Franchise Appreciation Day, featuring thought leaders from Domino’s, KFC and California Tortilla.

How do you get your franchisees on board with your chain’s quest to be transparent and listen to customers? For Domino’s, investing in a digital billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square to display customer feedback was just another part of its new recipe.

Over the past couple of years, Domino’s has made a huge push to get customers to give the pizza company feedback so it can improve its pizza and delivery service. Those efforts have paid off tremendously, says Gene Galindo, marketing director of 53 locations in Wilmington, N.C., and Charleston, S.C. “We want to know if there are issues, and social media gives us a chance to make things right. Domino’s is extremely transparent.”

The company’s 125-foot-wide Times Square billboard that broadcasted customer comments and their photos was active through Tuesday. The billboard supported its “Oh Yes We Did” campaign and showed off its ongoing efforts to improve to 500,000 passers-by.

Domino’s spokesman Chris Brandon says about 80% of the feedback on the billboard has been positive, and the other 20% has been “constructive.” Consumers tracked their pizzas through different ordering stages — complete with the employees’ names who handle each step — online and by phone with the Domino’s Tracker. Feedback and a photo from that experience could be submitted for the billboard. People who posted feedback — positive or constructive — received an e-mail to let them know they made the billboard.

“We were already becoming known for placing high emphasis on customer feedback and the theme of accountability,” Brandon said. “People think [the billboard] is a cool customer experience.”

Feedback might not always be 100% positive, Galindo says, but the customer feedback allows for immediate responses to keep delivery quick and the pizza looking good.

Social media has really let customers connect with the local businesses. Each location under Galindo’s watch has its own Facebook and Twitter pages, which are managed by Sociallybuzz. A branded website, Domino’s Pizza Giveaways, has a target audience of local customers in North and South Carolina and Georgia with coupons, specials and freebies, such as the $500 gas card that was presented at a time when gas prices were more than $4, Galindo said.

On the national Domino’s Facebook page, people like to post good-looking pizzas, not-so-good-looking pizzas, and joke and have a good time with us, Brandon said.

People have come to expect all stores and managers to be consistent with the theme for which Domino’s has become known. Even a TV commercial showed two real New York-area store managers on a busy night reacting to the billboard, delivering a consistent message of accountability.

According to the International Franchise Association, 2011 will be a growth year for franchises, with a 2.5% increase in franchise locations after losses in 2009 and minimal growth last year. Sept. 3 is Franchise Appreciation Day, a day in which franchises will show their customers how much they mean to them through discounts, deals and giveaways. The special day aims to create an awareness to increase customers knowledge of the importance of using social media networks and location-based services to connect with and continue to support local franchises.

Photo credit: Domino’s

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3 Responses to “Franchise Spotlight: Domino’s transparency trickles down to the local franchisee”

  1. Aaron Patch says:

    One important thing to remember is how inept Domino's was in the social media world just two short years ago. At that time a video depicting employees committing all kinds of lewd acts upon food products was going viral, while the company was stumbling and bumbling through social media crisis management. It is interesting to see how the company has evolved since then. It would seem that Domino's leadership has embraced a new corporate culture of openness. It will be interesting to see how committed they are to this openness when faced with their next social media crisis.

  2. [...] Galindo, marketing director of 53 Dominos locations, told SmartBlog on Restaurants that “social media gives us a chance to make things right” and the campaign makes it clear [...]

  3. [...] on their website that ask customers to score flavor, toppings, crust and sauce separately,  to a digital billboard in Times Square. Aside from the huge amount of attention the public feedback campaigns have generated for the [...]

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