Apparently while I was looking out the window and hoping that my lunch would arrive, communications were being sent around the food chain within Dominos alerting the appropriate people to the brouhaha on Twitter about the allegedly fake Pizza Tracker. In my resulting conversation with Tim McIntyre, Vice President of Communications for Domino’s Pizza LLC, this social media explosion around my missing pizza was ingeniously compared to a game of Whack-a-Mole. Every time one fire was put out, another one would pop up, the Dominos Twitter account deluged with questions about the validity of the Pizza Tracker. Who was to be believed: the man at my local store who said that the tracker was a fake and who got my food to me late enough to confirm that or the poor guy tweeting from @Dominos? Thankfully, Tim graciously agreed to grant me an interview to get to the bottom of this mess and be able to answer definitively, “Is the Dominos Pizza Tracker Real?”
Dominos’ answer is yes, yes the Pizza Tracker is real.
How the Dominos Pizza Tracker Works
Tim made it very clear during our conversation that to Dominos, timing is everything. For decades they have been known as the thirty minutes or less delivery people, and he stands by the fact that they deliver pizzas quickly because they are fast on their feet, not on the street. He also explained that Dominos times everything in the pizza creation and delivery process. The Pizza Tracker was designed to provide us with actual information about where our pizza is in this carefully timed process. The claim? That when used correctly, the Pizza Tracker is accurate to within a few seconds.
When an order comes in, it hits the computers in the stores, and the big computer screen at the front of the “make line” where the person is stretching dough displays the order information. This person has logged into the computer with his or her name at the start of their shift, which is why the Pizza Tracker displays a name when you order your pizza. Tim pointed out that Dominos does not condone the creation of fake names at this stage of the process.
Once your pizza has been assembled, it slides down the line to the pizza oven. When it goes into the oven, a button is pressed. The pressing of this actual, existing button updates the status on your actual, displayed Pizza Tracker. Nothing else causes the tracker to update and alert you that your pizza is now in the oven. The oven is a conveyor belt system that follows a standard time of between 5.5 and 6 minutes, so at the 6 minute mark, your tracker will automatically update to the next step.
At this point, the pizza comes out of the oven, it is checked and placed in a box, cut, and put on the rack for the next available delivery person. When the delivery person grabs your order and puts it into the hot bag, they push a button updating your tracker to indicate that the pizza is on its way. Because Dominos store areas are designed to deliver pizzas only within 9 minutes of the store in any direction, the tracker automatically updates to say that the pizza is delivered ten minutes after the button has been pressed.
Why Does the Tracker Sometimes Appear to Be Fake?
There are three variables that Tim at Dominos says contribute to the appearance that perhaps the Dominos Pizza Tracker is a marketing ploy or gimmick rather than an accurate tool for consumers to rack their orders.
1. Driver Difficulties: There is no way to change what the tracker says in terms of delivery time based on variables such as traffic, an accident, red lights, bad weather, etc. Once the driver has left the store, the tracker will say that the pizza is delivered ten minutes later whether it has been or not.
2. Multiple Orders: Drivers are encouraged to take only a single order at a time and never more than two orders, but many of us know from phone calls to locate our missing pizzas that not every store follows this policy or is perhaps able to because of staffing on that particular day.
3. Human Error: Sometimes people press a button early or accidentally press someone else’s button and there is simply no way to go back into the system to prevent that error.
Why Does the Dominos Pizza Tracker Exist If Not as a Marketing Ploy?
If you’re still with me and didn’t leave this post two minutes ago to go order a pizza, then here is your reward. I love this part of the story because I am a chronically impatient person. Don’t believe me? I knew when I was 15 weeks pregnant that I was having a boy…yeah. Impatient.
Awhile back Dominos did some consumer research and found that ordering pizza is an emotional roller coaster. There is a big high when the family decides to order pizza. Mom and dad don’t have to cook! Kids don’t have to eat their parents sub-par cooking! Maybe it will be a movie night, too! Yay! Fun! Then there is a huge crash after the pizza has been ordered. Unlike the restaurant experience, no waiter is stopping by to refill your drink, hand you crayons and a coloring sheet, update you on your order status. The Dominos Pizza Tracker was designed to remove the emotional where-is-my-super-yummy-cheesy-pizza crash and keep the whole family up and happy from that “Let’s order pizza tonight!” moment to when the doorbell rings.
I love this. And this is why so many people love the Dominos Pizza Tracker. It also explains why so many people responded when I shared that I was told that the tracker is a fake. About that guy who said that the tracker is fake…
I asked Tim how he explains the fact that the guy at my local shop laughed at me for bringing up the tracker and said that it is fake. He said that anyone who says that the tracker is not real is either tragically misinformed or has made an error in judgement in order to excuse another error. So where was my pizza? No idea. I was told that it was made, I was told that it wasn’t made, I was told that it went out to the wrong house, came back and then came to me. I will never know, but I do now believe that for the most part, the Dominos Pizza Tracker is real.
- The idea behind the Dominos Pizza Tracker is fantastic, the technology is sound, but as everyone who has ever accidentally sent something lewd to their parents because of auto-correct knows, sometimes people and technology don’t play nicely.
- As everyone who has ever worked at a job that they perhaps didn’t love or where they didn’t intend to spend their entire work lives knows, sometimes the one thing you’re going to get right is that pizza that you have to make for someone else and NOT the pushing of the button to let those impatient people know that their pizza is being made. We all have bad days, and most of us don’t deliver food for a living.
- We own the Dominos brand; Dominos does not. Tim made this point very clear, and I could not agree more. In the world of social media where my kids’ lost lunch becomes an internal corporate communication flurry, the game has changed. The Dominos company knows the truth, but what we decide and say is true suddenly becomes true. Back in December of 2009 I wrote about this online phenomenon, which can skyrocket a seeming nobody to fame or bring a major corporation to a standstill. Knowing this, why would Dominos implement a “fake” tool? They would have been found out years ago.
I know, because I tried to find out just that.