In April of 2009, two Dominos employees created and uploaded a prank video onto YOUTube showing one of them at least appearing to make (no easy way to say this) a snot-laced sandwich in the kitchen of the Dominos’ Conover, N.C. store. According to the New York Times, Twitter feeds to view the video went viral and Dominos was faced with a nearly instantaneous public relations headache. [NY Times Article]
In response, Dominos fired both employees and attempted to repair the video’s widespread negative impression, even though the former employees claimed that none of the tainted food was ever delivered. J. Patrick Doyle, the President of Dominos U.S.A., decided to focus Dominos’ public relations repair efforts by appearing himself in the same media, a YOUTube video, where he apologized and emphasized that such food preparation techniques were in no way a practice at Dominos.
This incident shows how anyone with a camcorder and a computer can set about to ruin a good reputation, which, in Dominos case, was one built over 50 years. Fortunately for Dominos, it had fairly quickly come up to speed on social media and addressed the problem head on. Dominos’ stock appeared mostly unaffected by the incident. According to Morningstar’s one year chart, during the last 12 months, Dominos’ stock price has risen over 38%. [Morningstar]
The two former employees involved in the video did not fare so well. They were both criminally charged with felony adulteration of food.
The star of the video received a six-month suspended jail sentence and 24 months supervised probation. The filmer and uploader pled guilty to a lesser charge and received a 45-day suspended jail sentence and 18 months probation. She was also ordered to pay $1,125 in attorney’s fees, complete 200 hours of community service and avoid working at food preparation businesses during her probation. [UPI]