The Real Reason Domino's Is Planning To 'Tip' Customers Who Skip Delivery

Domino's new marketing campaign promises to "tip" customers who drive to their local store to pick up their order rather than have it delivered. The pizza chain explained in a press release that customers who place pick up orders through the chain's website or app could expect a $3 "tip" (which is actually a credit toward your next order) to be emailed to them. Customers can take advantage of the promotion through May 22, but they must make a purchase of at least $5 before taxes or any gratuity. 

In the press release, Domino's executive president and chief marketing officer Art D'Elia shared that the chain feels customers who pick up their own pizza deserve a tip just as much as delivery drivers, stating, "It takes skill to get pizza from a Domino's store to your door."  

While loyal customers might be excited to hear about this deal, there could be more to the promo than meets the eye. According to NBC Philadelphia, the pizza chain might be trying to use the positive press from the promotion to hide the fact is attempting to cope with labor shortages. Another possible reason for the promotion, NBC explains, is avoiding the fees delivery companies like Uber Eats take from each order.

Domino's is not immune to labor shortages

Like most companies and restaurants, Domino's is facing a major issue due to a lack of staff. Though the company saw its greatest increase in sales in the third quarter of 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the pizza chain's sales actually fell for the first time in more than 10 years by October 2021 (via QSR Magazine). In order to maximize profits, Domino's wants to optimize the number of pizzas it can bake and put in the hands of customers on an hourly basis. "[Carryout] continues to be a focus for us and an area where we continue to see strong opportunity to continue the long-term growth trajectory of that side of the business," Domino's CEO Ritch Allison said during a 2021 earnings call. According to Allison, that's why the company is focusing on new technology to make car-side delivery the best option for both the consumer and the employees to keep orders moving as quickly as possible.

Making the most of car-side delivery could also help assuage labor shortages for Domino's by minimizing exposure to customers as the highly-transmissible variants of COVID-19 continue to spread (via Q-Minder). Another approach to remedy the staffing shortage the chain is experiencing includes a simplified application process to make getting hired by Domino's faster and easier than ever. 

What people are saying about Domino's "tip" promo

When the news of the new deal broke, plenty of people took to Twitter to express their opinions on it, and not everyone was as impressed as Domino's would probably hope. While some were disappointed that the $3 "tip" was really a coupon for another purchase, rather than actual cash, others stated they didn't see the point in buying from the fast food chain if it wasn't being delivered – "If I have to go out, I'm getting a real pizza."

But quite a lot of Twitter users were displeased that the chain was opting to "tip" customers instead of paying employees more. One tweet read, "Maybe give that $3 to the actual delivery drivers each delivery. The lengths these business will go to avoid paying their employees more is stunning." Another tweet said, "Maybe they should take that 400 mil in net income and put it towards paying their drivers a little more." Someone else wrote, "lol, literally anything but paying their employees more," to which another user responded, "During a recent conversation about the need for a living wage, someone insisted that the robust executive pay has nothing to do with crappy employee wages."

While some customers may be quick to cash in on this promotion, it seems employee wages are at the heart of the matter for many critics.