Industry News | February 21, 2011 | QSR Exclusive Brief

With New Pizza Under Its Belt, Domino's Turns to Chicken

After a year and a half spent reinventing and marketing a new pizza recipe, Domino’s announced that it has revamped its chicken offerings and will sell them with the same dose of transparency that made its new pizza a big success.

Domino’s spokesman Chris Brandon says the company’s new boneless chicken and wings products are “the next chapter for us in this overall reinvention story that we’ve created.”

“It kind of seemed like the next item on our menu that customers told us we could make even better,” Brandon says. “Once we got the pizza right, we went back and saw what customers had to say to us, because that’s really the pinnacle of the new pizza and that’s the pinnacle of this—hearing what they had to say.”

Domino’s new chicken wings will be available in Hot, BBQ, and Sweet Mango Habanero sauces. The new boneless chicken, which is made with 100 percent whole white breast meat, will be available in Sweet Mango Habanero or Kickers Hot sauces, or can be ordered with BBQ or Ranch dipping sauces.

“One of the highlights in this newly designed product is the customization opportunity,” Brandon says. “The chicken itself is a better product, it’s got better flavor, but these dipping sauces offer the opportunity for people to get the taste that they want.”

The new chicken launch will be supported with the company’s first marketing campaign for chicken products since 2002. In step with many of the brand’s advertisements supporting the new pizza recipe, Domino’s new chicken campaign will feature a real employee: Tate, the company’s chicken chef.

Brandon says the new ad campaign, which will launch March 2 and will follow Tate as he heads a chicken project within a pizza company, is a way for the company to be open about its product development.

“The key is truth. We’re not going to do something just to do it or because it’s shown to work,” he says. “We just want to go out there and be honest. If that means … bringing a camera crew in here and filming [employees] do what they do, then we’ll do that.”

While that honesty and transparency has so far been widely successful for Domino’s, the strategy is not without its dangers, Brandon says, because it makes the company vulnerable to customers and critics.

“Our team has done such a phenomenal job, both with the new pizza and also with this new chicken, of really making sure this is what people want and that we heard the feedback correctly and that we responded to it correctly and tested the product,” Brandon says.

“When you go out there with that, it can make you a little nervous, but we know we have the food now to back it up, and that’s certainly makes you feel a lot less nervous about going out there the way we have.”

By Sam Oches