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Is Domino’s Response to Employee YouTube Video Too Little, Too Late?

Hmmm…guess who won’t be Domino’s “Employee of the Month”?

By now, you’ve likely seen the now infamous YouTube video of the two Domino’s Pizza employees who filmed a rather, ahem, tasteless prank in the kitchen of a Conover, N.C. store: In the video, one employee narrates as another employee prepares a sandwich in a way that violates pretty much every health code there is.

(Note: If you haven’t seen it, you might have some trouble finding it, as the video has been taken off YouTube…but that’s probably in your best interest anyway.)

When the video surfaced earlier this week, Domino’s management, needless to say, was less than pleased. But rather than address the issue publicly, Domino’s attempted to keep its damage control under the radar. According to a company spokesman on Tuesday (via AdAge), “a strong response from Domino’s would alert more consumers to the embarrassment.”

That, however, was Tuesday.  By Wednesday afternoon, over a million viewers had seen the video – thanks in part to the conversations surrounding it both on Twitter and in the blogosphere – at which point, the video’s stars were fired, a warrant was issued for their arrest, and Domino’s decided to (sort of) fight fire with fire. 

In this YouTube video, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino’s USA, apologizes for the incident, and describes the steps his company is taking to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again.  

“It sickens me that the actions of two individuals could impact our great system,” he says in the video. “There are so many people who have come through with messages of support for us and we want to thank you for hanging in there as we work to regain your trust.”

Certainly, Domino’s posting of the video is an admirable attempt at brand damage control using the same social media vehicle that contributed to the damaging.  But I wonder if – despite his claims that they took “immediate action” in response to the action – Doyle still acted too late and offered too little (at least in terms of how, specifically, the company will prevent this from happening in the future).

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe these employees represent the exception rather than the rule, and I understand Doyle’s concern that a public response might “alert more consumers to the incident.”  But unfortunately, that excuse no longer flies.  This is a different time. 

Doyle found out the hard way that staying silent on his end wouldn’t stop consumers from learning about the video.  No longer can things be kept quietly under the radar (anyone remember the Motrin Moms?) – not with sites like Twitter, Facebook and, well, YouTube operating to spread information – and opinions – faster and wider than ever before.

If a company like Domino’s has any hope of recovering from this sort of “PR nightmare” these days, it needs to take action, it needs to show it’s taken action,  and it must do so immediately – the power of social media demands it.  Waiting even 24 hours, as Doyle learned, is far too long to keep silent. 

What do you think? Should Domino’s have responded sooner?  Do you think they could have handled this better? Better yet, do you think any of this could this have been prevented in the first place?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
4 comments
Connie
Connie

Oh yes, I too believe that we all have ingested some "unknown" substances through no fault of our own. It does happen even at the finest places.

I also believe that Domino's should have responded sooner, in this day and time when information is instant there is no hiding from bad press.

Could it be prevented? From happening probably not from being recorded, yes. I see a new addition to the Domino's handbook coming.

Connie
Connie

Oh yes, I too believe that we all have ingested some "unknown" substances through no fault of our own. It does happen even at the finest places.

I also believe that Domino's should have responded sooner, in this day and time when information is instant there is no hiding from bad press.

Could it be prevented? From happening probably not from being recorded, yes. I see a new addition to the Domino's handbook coming.

Kareem Epps
Kareem Epps

The food service business is one built on trust. Customers trust food handlers with their food and in turn their health. The employer trust that the employee uphold their legal and moral obligation. But, no one can be watched 100%. As a customer I know this sought of things happens. Disgruntled employees do it, employees who just want a good laugh do it (such as these two from the video). We as consumers would be ignorant to believe it doesn't. It is just a shame that we have to see it on video. I myself believe that through no fault of my own, I have ingested some unhealthy substances served to me by food servers. But, I myself also understand that it is impossible to stop. It's the "if you see what happens to meat, you wouldn't eat it" syndrome.

Kareem Epps
Kareem Epps

The food service business is one built on trust. Customers trust food handlers with their food and in turn their health. The employer trust that the employee uphold their legal and moral obligation. But, no one can be watched 100%. As a customer I know this sought of things happens. Disgruntled employees do it, employees who just want a good laugh do it (such as these two from the video). We as consumers would be ignorant to believe it doesn't. It is just a shame that we have to see it on video. I myself believe that through no fault of my own, I have ingested some unhealthy substances served to me by food servers. But, I myself also understand that it is impossible to stop. It's the "if you see what happens to meat, you wouldn't eat it" syndrome.

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