Workers Reveal What It's Really Like To Work At Domino's

In the wide world of fast food, the modern-day pizzeria is the one business that has successfully gone toe-to-toe against the ever-popular and ubiquitous burger joint. It's hard not to see at least a few dozen pizza franchises dotted in any given city, lining a suburban strip mall, or a delivery car sporting a pizzeria's moniker. One of the largest, oldest, and most globally recognized pizza franchises is Domino's

Since its founding in 1960, Domino's has steadily grown into the biggest pizza chain on the planet, dominating the pizza industry with its speedy delivery and innovations like the modern pizza box. Today, Domino's is still going strong and is now an international empire. You're probably quite familiar with Domino's as a consumer, but what is it like to work there? At a time when food service employee turnover continues to be staggeringly high, it's a good idea to weigh the good and bad parts of working for a major pizza chain like Domino's (via CNBC).

Hourly pay can vary from franchise to franchise

Because the majority of Domino's Pizza restaurants are owned and operated as independent franchises, the pay scale is hardly consistent. On average you'll mostly be paid somewhere around the ballpark of $10, according to reviews submitted to PayScale. Customer service employees report making $7-12 an hourwhile drivers make $6-12. Although the federal minimum wage is $7.25, tipped workers like delivery drivers may be paid a lower hourly rate, as low as $2.13 (via U.S. Department of Labor). Iowa Domino's franchises paid such low wages, and drivers were so badly reimbursed for their driving mileage, that a lawsuit alleged drivers were effectively being paid 35 cents an hour, per the Iowa Capital Dispatch

As different states implement and enforce different rules on minimum wage, the pay rate at Domino's franchises can slide up and down depending on where you live. The best thing to do perhaps before applying is to find out the minimum wage for your state and see just how much your local Domino's is offering in comparison. 

There is free or discounted food for employees

Depending on the franchise as well as the manager in charge, there's a chance that employees can score themselves a few free or at least discounted items off of Domino's menu. According to some former employees on Glassdoor, it all comes down to who's in charge. Some franchise owners and managers are generous while others can be on the stingy side. Sometimes employees receive a simple discount to purchase menu items. Other employees reported getting free pizza and items from canceled orders, offers to take home leftovers after closing, or special work events and parties. 

Domino's itself keeps a hands-off approach to franchise owners and managers when it comes to whether free food or discounts are offered. According to Zippia, Domino's official employee discounts can be anywhere between 10% to 30% off the menu price. Much like the pay scale, it helps to do some research to see just how willing your local Domino's is to treat its employees to a free lunch.

No benefits unless you're management

Like the vast majority of restaurants in the U.S., most in-store employees at Domino's are not offered benefits. While the company does offer a wide range of perks such as a 401K, health and dental, and even a retirement package, unless you're in management or have a corporate position, those benefits are not offered to the Domino's employee serving you across the counter or delivering your pizza. 

According to former employees on Indeed, in-store workers aren't offered much outside of their paycheck, other than the occasional free food and maybe a few discounts. For those employees who stick with it, there is the potential for a raise but again that's mostly decided by franchise owners and store management. Some places will keep you at minimum wage, some will offer a raise to those who earn it by either time spent or performance, and others will save raises for managers only. 

Franchise ownership is expensive, but potentially worth it

Current employees or potential entrepreneurs often look to franchise ownership as either a major step up from their current job or a lucrative money-making investment. What makes Domino's stand out when compared to other franchises is that it prefers candidates who already work for the company (via Chron). If you dream of becoming a franchise owner, then the best training comes right from the restaurant itself as the vast majority of franchise owners are employees who worked their way up the chain. In fact, 90% of all Domino's franchise owners are employees who started at the bottom rung as pizza-slingers and delivery drivers, according to QSR Magazine. Not only that, but Domino's will also offer training courses to further assist you in getting started, and the free publicity from Domino's commercials means you don't need to worry about marketing. 

The catch is that franchise ownership requires a tremendous upfront investment. While the initial investment amount varies, on average you'd need at least $100,000 in just liquid capital to get started. This doesn't count franchise fees and further costs, meaning you could end up investing well over $460K to get your Domino's franchise started. 

Your managers might be fairly decent

It is well-known that one of the main culprits of high employee turnover is poor management. Employees can have the most fulfilling or most high-paid jobs out there but even the best workers can only take so much incompetence or abuse from upper management. This can include poor supervision, favoritism, and nepotism, as well as poor delegation, which can lead to an overworked staff (via Chron). The fast food service is highly susceptible to lackluster management, and the employee turnover can be as high as 300%. However, according to the The Wall Street Journal, policies implemented by Domino's CEO in 1999 have helped the company curtail high turnover rates by retaining and supporting higher-quality managers. Training new staff, it turns out, can be terribly expensive, so it makes sense to try to encourage employees to stick around (via Brand Autopsy).

Training a new entry-level worker alone can run up to $2,500, while a new manager can cost up to $20,000. Because of a more selective management hiring process, better corporate support to track costs and sales, and more incentives for managers to stay on, there is a good chance that your Domino's manager will be better than most managers at other fast food businesses.

Not all Domino's are equal internationally

Domino's Pizza has become a worldwide sensation, and every country the restaurant operates in is subject to different labor laws. Each location is run differently depending on who owns it, as well. This can lead to the corporation landing in some hot water. In 2018, workers at Domino's franchises in Australia and New Zealand alleged that they were pressured by management not to vote on shifting casual shifts to part-time contracts in an attempt to save the company money (via ABC). They also alleged "unreasonable working conditions," including instances when store employees were made to work 10-hour shifts with little to no breaks.

Some international franchises may treat their workers better in compliance with their country's labor laws, while others may take advantage of more lax laws. Much like working in the U.S., it pays to look at your home country's labor laws and see if your local Domino's is meeting those standards or if they've been accused of bending the rules.

The PULSE system pays employees quickly

While ordering pizza online is no longer the height of online technology as it was a decade or two ago, pizza delivery businesses are continuing to use current internet innovations to help make sure their drivers are paid regularly. For Domino's it's through the development and implementation of the PULSE system, which lets the chain's employees receive their pay not on a scheduled payday, but rather at the end of their shift. This is great for all workers, but it's especiallyadvantageous for pizza delivery drivers as the same system will quickly reimburse them for their mileage as well as help them receive tips even faster. 

Fast food service jobs are already one of the quickest (though not easiest) ways to make money, and creating a system that allows employees to receive payment at the end of a work day can be a game changer for those who need money quickly.

Pizza delivery is not only difficult, but dangerous

Having the job of bringing a freshly made pizza to someone's front door is not only an often thankless position, but one that's rife with customer abuse, robberies, and even deadly assault. 24/7 Wall Street reviewed numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that jobs like pizza delivery were the seventh most dangerous type of job to have (via USA Today). Pizza delivery drivers, unfortunately, make for easy targets as they typically work alone, travel to different areas, and usually carry cash and food. While some companies like Domino's have established "no delivery zones," for high-crime areas, it does little to solve the issue (via Sadly, most pizza franchises are often lacking in regards to preparing drivers to handle an assault or robbery. 

According to a Vice article, these attacks have only increased in frequency over time, with several instances leading to serious injuries and even death. Though it can help to know what your delivery area is as well as local crime statistics, pizza delivery can often be a roll of the dice every time you answer a call.

Drivers are tracked using GPS

In order to protect the safety of their drivers, as well as meet the expectations of customers, Domino's started using GPS trackers in its delivery vehicles (via ZDNet). This allows both the store and the customer to get a real-time approximation of where the driver is, a la Uber or Lyft. According to Domino's this tracking system is designed with the safety of the drivers in mind, and is able to track and report a wide variety of problems a driver may experience while making their deliveries. 

This system was initially given a trial run in the company's Australian stores and declared successful. The tracking system does more than just track your location. It also tracks what the company calls "incidents," such as bumping a curb or hitting the car door against a tree. While the potential for increased safety is obvious, so is the risk of being reprimanded for not making deliveries efficiently enough. However, given the risk posed to drivers by a possible robbery, a GPS tracking system is a good move toward more safety.

Hours can be short and flexible

Considering that the age of most pizza place employees skews on the young side and that they are often students from high school or college, Domino's does have a reputation for being rather flexible when it comes to having a part-time or full-time schedule. Work time can be as short as a handful of hours after school to as long as pulling a full shift on the weekend. While you'll most likely have a set minimum number of hours to work as an employee, there can be a level of bartering about scheduling between co-workers and with management as long all are in agreement. 

However, like most aspects of working at a franchise, it often comes down to the decisions of the store manager. Also, if you're not a student, then the more flexible schedule options may be closed off. Reviews from Indeed state that while you can request your schedule, you're still at the mercy of management's decisions. And if you're a driver, then you should get used to always being on call during business hours.

Don't worry about delivering in 30 minutes

One of the oldest pop culture relics in regards to pizza delivery is the long-abandoned "30 minutes or it's free" deal that Domino's used to offer. Thankfully, it's something that as a potential pizza delivery driver, you don't have to worry about anymore. Back in 1979, Domino' established its own speedy delivery offer to compete with the likes of Pizza Hut. A the time, the promotion was a major success for the Domino's brand. But very soon the darker aspects of the offer began to rear their ugly heads. In less than a decade, Domino's rolled back its offer from free to just $3 off the price after customers began abusing the free offer by turning off their porch lights to delay drivers. 

Meanwhile, drivers began driving more recklessly in order to deliver on time, resulting in more accidents, several of which caused vehicle fatalities. In 1993, after multiple lawsuits against Domino's due to several accidents caused by delivery drivers, the company finally buried its time limit offer for good (via Ranker).

Drivers are currently in high demand

Domino's has a delivery driver shortage. That's why you might have noticed Domino's encouraging its customers to pick up their own pizzas (via Business Insider). While Domino's has experimented with driverless delivery vehicles, it's not a particularly widespread option in many areas. The shortage of drivers might be contributing to Domino's seeing shrinking sales for the first time in a decade. For a budding employee, this can be advantageous if you're looking to make some fast money. 

One of the biggest perks of being a driver is the solitude and being away from the craziness of having to work the front counter or the kitchen. Considering the need for drivers, the possibility is open to receive higher pay when you're hired. At least you'll be in a stronger position to negotiate pay since you know that Domino's is a little bit desperate. As always check with your local Domino's store to see what drivers usually make and how in demand they are for your local area.

Domino's is a good option for students

A lot of young people working in the fast food industry are high school and college students. Domino's is no different, as working at one of its stores is a good way for students to make a steady paycheck between classes. The tricky part of working in a restaurant is a student is trying to make sure your work schedule and class schedule don't conflict with each other. What's advantageous about working at Domino's as a student is that the company will often offer a certain amount of scheduling flexibility to allow employees to more effectively balance between their work and their studies. 

According to reviews from Glassdoor, managers can easily work around an employee's busy schedule. For students who prioritize classes, tests, midterms, finals, and after-school activities, it's a major boon to know that, according to most reviews, a Domino's manager is more likely to take the time to work directly with their student employees to make sure a shift doesn't interfere with their daily school life.

Employees multitask like crazy

Even before the employee shortage, working at a popular pizza joint like Domino's often meant having to wear a lot of hats while juggling multiple tasks at the same time. According to reviews on Payscale, working in-store can mean you'll be taking orders up front, then shifting to food prep in the kitchen, then grabbing orders by phone, and then getting orders ready for delivery, all within the same shift. These quick and often jarring changes in your day-to-day and minute-by-minute workday are likely even more frequent due to the current labor shortage in the restaurant industry.

Depending on your work team, a shift at Domino's can be a fast, frenetic, but otherwise fun moment of team building and making friends on the job. However, the fast pace can also very easily become highly stressful and can quickly lead to burnout, a real and debilitating issue that happens in fast food service (via Vox).