Pizza wheel
September 13, 2017

Building Culture, One Pizza at a Time

 |  By: Mike Opperman

A family run business with employees that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A business that embraces the local community with a passion for doing what they do to the best of their abilities.

Sounds familiar, right?

If that sounds like your dairy, you would be right. Or it could be a Domino’s franchise.

In many respects, a Domino’s franchise mimics a modern dairy operation. Their product is pizza, delivering more than a million each day worldwide. Your dairy makes milk, millions of gallons every year. They have employees, about 260,000 in 14,200 stores across 85 countries. You have employees, too, and may even have them spread across multiple sites.

Aside from the processes involved with making that many pizzas, a common culture binds Domino’s employees and franchises. “We believe in the power of possible, one pizza at a time,” says Joe Jordan, chief marketing officer with Domino’s. “90% of our U.S. franchise owners started as drivers. They are people who started working in the stores, a lot of them were in school, and fell in love with the business.”

Spreading the ‘anything is possible’ belief across that many franchises and employees wasn’t a directive from the management mountaintop. “We didn’t define that belief and then dictate it out and tell people how to behave and act,” Jordan says. “We tapped into what our people already believed and articulated it.”

By not mandating something that was foreign but by activating what had been there all along, Jordan says the process of getting everyone to embrace the culture was made easier.

Start by defining “why”

Building a corporate culture based on current beliefs starts by understanding your company’s ‘why’ statement, Jordan says. “Why are you doing what you are doing?” Jordan asks. That could be anything from making a great product to being a positive influence in your community to creating an ideal environment for your employees. “Understand what is the ‘why’ that your employees can buy into and feel good about.”

Once the ‘why’ is understood, then help your employees understand how the ‘what’ they are doing fits into that vision, Jordan says. At Domino’s, he says that vision is activated a million times each day, and each member of the Domino’s team plays a role in how that vision is played out. Various communications activities help franchise owners understand the vision, and offer support to communicate the culture to their employees. “It’s important for everyone to understand how they fit in,” Jordan says. “People understand the functional aspects of their job, this helps them understand their emotional role.”

A fitting partnership

Domino’s has ascended to be the king of pizza delivery with the help of one important partner, Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI). Jordan says the success comes down to culture. “We’ve been successful in our partnership with DMI because our cultures are very similar,” Jordan says. Franchise owners have visited dairies, and producers have had the opportunity to learn from franchise owners. “Our relationship has been instrumental to what we have been able to do as a company in the last 7 or 8 years.”

You can learn firsthand from Joe Jordan about how to create a corporate culture on your dairy by attending the MILK Business Conference where Joe will be a keynote speaker. To view the agenda and to register, go to