Tag Archives: Domino’s

Celebrating 50 years of marriage

Legatus founder, chairman Tom Monaghan reflects on his golden wedding anniversary . . .

Thomas Monaghan

I have told this story many times, but let me reminisce for those who have not heard it. I opened my first pizza store in Ypsilanti, Mich., in December of 1960. The second store opened in December of 1961 in Mount Pleasant, near Central Michigan University.

I ran the second store and worked seven days per week. I was training a pizza maker so I could have a day off to check on the Ypsilanti store which was 150 miles away. One day the phones weren’t ringing and I got the idea to take a delivery just to get out of the store.

The delivery was to Sweeney Hall. In those days you couldn’t go to the rooms in the girls’ dorms. The switchboard operator would call the customer and she’d come down to get her pizza. The girl at the switchboard was a knockout, cute as a bug’s ear. I was very shy with girls, but I struggled to get a conversation going and got nowhere; she was all business.

The customer got her pizza, and on the way back to the store I was on a cloud. So I got up my nerve and dialed the switchboard operator again. “I’m the guy who just delivered a pizza. Would you go to a movie with me Monday night?” She was indignant. “Who are you?” I said, “I’m the guy who just delivered a pizza.” She said, “I don’t know you.” Finally  she said, “Oh, I just came on duty.” “Who did you replace?” I asked. She gave me the name of Bonnie Hula. I asked if she’d ring her room. Bonnie answered. I went through my spiel again. Same response: “Who are you?”

Finally she said, “Another girl took my place today… Margie Zybach.” So one more time I got my nerve up, called Margie, asked her for a date, and she said OK. Wow! By the second date I was a goner. I showed up for the third date with an engagement ring. She didn’t say yes, but a week later, after using every bit of persuasive power I had, she gave in.

On Aug. 25, Margie and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. We had a relatively private event at our home with mostly family and close friends in attendance — many of the friends Legates. In addition, many Legates sent cards — some indicating they were having Masses offered for us, and many prayers — all of which were very heartwarming and for which we are grateful.

Thomas Monaghan is Legatus’ founder and chairman. He is a member of Legatus’ Naples Chapter.

The power of focus

Vince Lombardi used to tell his rookie players that he wanted them to focus on only three things: God, family and the Green Bay Packers. Nothing else. I picked up on that in the early years of Domino’s Pizza. I told our people it is God, family and Domino’s.

Our best years were the ’80s. In fact, during that time we were the fastest growing restaurant chain in history. We went from 300 to 5,000 stores in 10 years with a record 954 store openings in 1985.

The main reason for this tremendous growth was a fanatical focus. We had only pizza and Coke in our stores, only two sizes of pizzas, and we only offered 12 oz. cans of Coke. Nothing else. Our hours were short. We were only open from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

With this focus, we had some of the busiest pizzerias in the country — without sit-down, without long hours and with a very limited menu.

But the key was we “handled the rush” — those 20% of the hours when we got 80% of our business. Because we stayed focused and handled this peak time, people got what they wanted: fast delivery.

Many franchisees complained that I was limiting their potential by restricting their operations. Over time, for various reasons (including lots of pressure from franchisees), we eased up on those restrictions, and sales went down … as well as profits.

I eventually had to rebuild the company. My strategy was to be more focused, and it worked. Some have said that Domino’s comeback in the ’90s was the greatest in the history of the restaurant industry.

I am trying to apply this same focus as Chancellor of Ave Maria University. We are attempting to offer only the most important majors and to do them extremely well. It is a lesson that I learned the hard way.

Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes by having a fanatical focus on God, family and your “core” business.