Posts Tagged ‘pizza’
Ann Arbor, MI (AP) – Fast-food giant Domino’s Pizza, confronted with anemic sales of its new pizza suppositories, has put further marketing efforts for the product on hold, according to a statement from the company’s corporate headquarters.
Following a lengthy promotional campaign, the Italian food chain finally released its line of “Up Yours” pizza suppositories, hoping to tap into the growing need for ever-more-efficient food delivery in a busy era. With Up Yours, Domino’s hoped to appeal to rushed parents and hurried workers who lack the time to properly ingest and digest even typical fast food. Its “Taste is waste” slogan leveraged the company’s reputation for providing a less-than-stellar culinary experience; a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains by Brand Keys, Domino’s tied with Chuck E. Cheese’s for last place.
The advertising push followed an intensive program to get buy-in from the chain’s more than 5,000 franchise holders, but that stage of the program took several months longer than expected because headquarters found it difficult to convince the franchisees to get behind the initiative, according to Seymour Butz, an analyst at Sphincter Industries who studies the fast food industry.
“The franchisees were worried about bottlenecks in supply and production,” said Butz, who also noted that trial runs of that production exposed lax adherence to quality standards. Although the company addressed those concerns, problems continued to emerge even as the release date approached.
Domino’s was forced to push back the start of the promotional campaign to fix those emerging issues, and the executives were apparently satisfied that they had managed to wipe away the sticky problems by softening its position on franchisee contribution. Advertising began in January, and the first Up Yours suppositories were offered in Kansas, Texas and Arkansas. Hopeful initial data from the “In Testin’” phase prompted the further roll-out of the products up and down the eastern seaboard and Illinois.
But sales logs, initially positive, proved disappointing, and continued to contract through the spring and summer, skidding almost entirely to a halt by August. The board pinned its hopes on the September “Backside to School” advertising blitz, aiming to appeal to more regular customers, but decided that if October sales showed no major improvement they would be forced to cancel production. Despite an $18 million investment in equipment, materials and marketing, the company’s bottom line has suffered, limiting Domino’s to a second-quarter profit only slightly higher than the same period last year.
Hopes had been high until then, as a program in the same spirit by a different fast food player had shown its potential. In 2009 White Castle announced that it was “eliminating the middle man” by liquefying its burgers and spraying them directly on the insides of toilet bowls. White Castle sales figures had not appreciably suffered as a result, and Domino’s executives apparently felt that their marketing acumen could make such an approach profitable.
This is not the first abortive Domino’s marketing program. In 1992 and 1993, high-profile lawsuits charged the company with recklessness in guaranteeing home delivery within 30 minutes of an order’s placement; two fatalities had resulted from Domino’s delivery men’s driving. Of particular interest to the plaintiff was a provision calling for the public beheading of drivers who failed to reach their destinations within the allotted time. The company settled both cases, but agreed to eliminate the punitive measures for late deliveries, which had garnered initial popularity and a contract to televise the beheadings.
Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where, on principle, we do not post pictures of our lunch. Count yourself lucky.
1. At the pizza joint, you attempt to dispose of some used napkins, but one or two of them fall on the floor instead of into the receptacle. You:
(a) Continue on your merry way as if nothing has happened.
(b) Pause for a moment, but rationalize leaving it there by noting that the place has a cleaning staff anyway.
(c) Pause for a moment, but rationalize leaving it there by congratulating yourself on removing the trash from your table in the first place, and hey, you can’t expect too much from a person. What do I look like, Mother Theresa?
(d) Fake a bad back so that anyone observing will conclude that you just can’t do anything about it.
2. Boogers go:
(a) On the undersides of tables, chairs and desks.
(b) On walls, but only if you’re below the age of twelve.
(c) Out the driver’s side window.
(d) On shirt sleeves and cuffs.
3. The proper reaction to a sneeze involves:
(a) A playful punch on the arm and the phrase, “Good one!”
(b) Faking that some of the spittle got in your eye.
(c) A look of withering disdain.
(d) “Say, you still gonna eat that?”
4. The napkin’s proper position:
(a) Is, uh, under the fork? No? The spoon?
(b) Well, doesn’t that depend on whether it’s a super-crappy cafeteria napkin that doesn’t absorb squat, or a top-quality napkin like the ones in the dispenser over the restroom sinks?
(c) Is in those spring-loaded dispensers on every table, with the Coca-Cola logo on them.
(d) Ya got me. Defensive end?
5. Upon discovering that a female friend’s husband has died, you:
(a) Wonder aloud which of his bad habits did him in – was it the booze or something illegal?
(b) Crash the funeral, drunk, and loudly serenade the deceased with ribald lyrics.
(c) Wonder, not necessarily aloud, about how long she’ll wait to start dating again, and how you can put yourself in a good position when the time comes.
(d) Wonder, probably not aloud except perhaps to certain other males, as to the possibility of scoring some grief sex.
6. “I’m sorry” means:
(a) That I regret getting caught, and I’ll refrain from the offending behavior as long as the offended party is unaware of my actions.
(b) That I regret hurting the offended party, because it reduces my ability to exploit the relationship.
(c) I’m male.
(d) What’s that second word again? I don’t understand. Speak English, willya?
7. The car horn should be used to convey the following message:
(a) “Yo! The light’s green already! It’s been green for like three quarters of a second! Who taught you to drive, Stevie Wonder?”
(b) “Hey! You! You’re preventing me from advancing another car length in this gridlock!”
(c) “Yo! Stella! I’m waiting downstairs! Quit fixing your makeup again and get down here!”
(d) “I have a horn.”
8. Etiquette is:
(a) For losers with no appreciation for bleacher-creature sensibilities.
(b) Um…a fancy word for fish?
(c) Hell, it’s a French word. Probably something to do with surrendering, or women not shaving their armpits.
(d) Oh! I know this one! It’s a state in New England! Where the Hartford Whalers play!
9. I learn my manners from:
(a) Beavis nd Butthead.
(b) Jersey Shore.
(c) Al Bundy.
(d) Ted Bundy.
10. My idea of a good time involves:
(c) Pizza and Beer.
(d) Pizza, Beer and televised sporting events.
Lesson number one from today: if you have a choice between the free buses and walking, hoof it.
You get what you pay for. Sort of. I mean, our municipal taxes definitely paid for the city-sponsored busing we “enjoyed” today, but it only appeared free because no one asked for tickets. Since thousands of people descended on the city, whose ancient parts attract oodles of visitors this time of year, the city wisely closed the central areas to private cars and arranged for free shuttles to and from several major parking areas around town. We would have avoided the central areas altogether, but (a) we live in the center and (b) we had a birthday party to attend smack in the middle of this tourist Mecca.
So far so good. Except that someone miscalculated the number of buses needed for each route; there seemed to be a glut of them for some outlying areas, but we waited a good half hour before one showed up to take the growing and increasingly agitated crowd to the destination nearest our home.
When it did show up, we and our children had to joust our way onto the bus. Now, you Westernized Protestants out there have no idea what it’s like among the barbarians of the Orient. This society views anyone who would wait patiently in line as a sucker. If you don’t know how to employ your elbows, shoulders, hips and feet to force your way through the competition, you will find yourself left behind. Age, sex, level of infirmity and encumbrance matter not a whit. Of course, once you do attain the prize of boarding, feel free to reserve any number of seats for the rest of your party; you’ve earned it. They just have to be good enough to find their way through the frenzied mob, as well.
I admit I am out of practice at this sort of thing. We got our car about eight-and-a-half years ago, so regular use of public transportation has faded into memory. The crowd-penetrating skills I honed for years before that began to atrophy, or so I thought. Fortunately, like riding a bike, they returned in an instant, even accounting for the folded stroller in one arm and the tired preschooler in the other. Somehow, my elbows knew exactly how to adjust to these new factors, and to position themselves so as to deny the persons adjacent any advantage in the forward campaign (I am even more impressed by my wife’s success, as she managed to navigate the scrum with a baby strapped to her back and a six-year-old in tow, while also keeping her eye on the nine-year-old, and not once did she have to pull rank by barking at those behind her to watch out for the poor baby on her back they were crushing).
The bus, of course, decided to break down after we’d proceeded about a hundred feet.
So we clambered our way off the bus and onto another directly behind, one originally slated for a different destination – and thus we managed to overhear an earful from the disgruntled passengers forced to disembark in our favor – passengers whose destination seemed amply served: I counted four buses for that route before we got our one, defective bus. Fortunately, the fellow in charge had no problem asserting his authority and telling them to file a complaint, though not in such polite terms.
Then came the traffic.
Lesson number two: If you plan to make pizza at home, make sure you have all the ingredients available BEFORE starting.
The aforementioned six-year-old attained that age today, so we went from one birthday party to another, albeit with the busing adventure in between (ABC Tours: we put the “busing” in “abusing”). Since no one anticipated a half-hour trip turning into a two-hour saga, we didn’t have time to go out to get the mozzarella before the guests started arriving. They were quite understanding of the situation, and remained patient even through two failed attempts to find the stuff at local stores. Finally, I trekked (on foot, of course) a bit farther and secured the cheese, and dinner was wonderful.
You might ask why we insisted on mozzarella, when other, less expensive and more readily available varieties of cheese can be obtained almost anywhere. You thus reveal yourself to lack any sense of taste. The local mozzarella may lack flavor – “may” as in the way Iran “may” be suspected of hostility toward, say, Israel – but as a pizza topping it still beats any of the other cheeses available here by a wide margin. They sell many different varieties of cheese, all called “yellow” cheese (as opposed to “white” cheese, which comes in a tub and might be confused with cream cheese if one’s idea of cream cheese is runny and bland), and which are standard fare in the pizza joints. The culinary hopelessness that such places embody makes that whole Iran-Israel thing seem rosy by comparison.
Lesson number three from today: keep your blog posts from getting too long.