How Domino’s Pizza came up with the idea to fix America's roads

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

In a totally unexpected move earlier this week, Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) unveiled a plan to repair potholes across America. How did the company come up with the unusual project?

Yahoo Finance spoke with Kate Trumbull, VP of advertising at Domino’s, who explained that it was a collective effort that was months in the making. She also noted that it was also a follow-up to an earlier initiative.

“This idea came from when you hit a pothole and you have a pizza in your front seat. It’s kind of a dramatic moment and dials up the fear factor that something would happen to your delicious pizza,” said Trumbull. “It came down to how we’re so passionate about pizza – and every single piece of the experience.”

These efforts to preserve pizzas are not new. The pizza chain had launched a similar campaign last year where they provided carry-out insurance. Carry-out insurance meant that in a situation where something happens to a customer’s pizza after they leave the store — such as getting the pizza drenched in the rain or having a kid sit on it — they could bring it back to restaurant and get a new one.

Domino’s carryout insurance, launched last year. Screenshot from Domino’s website.

Trumbull said that the pothole project built on that campaign.

“We saw things can go really wrong – we heard some of those stories,” she said. “It’s about being vigilant to what happens to pizza.”

Trumbull said that Domino’s began the initiative by working with a third-party organization to identify cities that were open receiving help from the company to repair their potholes. She explained that Domino’s gave these towns a grant, which the city or town used to do the work themselves. They had autonomy over the type of work that needed to be done, when to do it, and also who to hire to do it.

Domino’s-funded teams fix potholes in Burbank, California. Screenshot from pavingforpizza.com

The first few cities had been the result of the first phase of the project that had begun sometime in January this year.

“Our plan is to provide grants to 17 more cities,” said Trumbull. “We’re getting a ton of nominations and feedback – thousands in the first few days,” said Trumbull. “In the first few days we saw people from all 50 states respond.”

The 12-week nomination process ends on August 31, and Trumbull indicated that it was going to be challenging to pick a winner.

“Not all cities are set up to accept a grant like this,” said Trumbull.

Domino’s will work with the third-party organization once again to identify which cities are able to work with the pizza chain.

Aarthi Swaminathan is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Read more: