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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Thomas Monaghan | author
May 01, 2010
Filed under Chairman

The importance of focus

Tom Monaghan offers valuable life lessons on focusing on your goals and strategies . . .

Thomas Monaghan

In the early years of Domino’s Pizza, I was continually pressed by some of our people to diversify. Things were going well, the stores were increasing in sales every year, and new stores were opening at an ever faster clip.

But some felt that it could not last and that the bubble would burst. Opportunities to buy other small fast food chains were constantly coming up, and many thought that I had my head in the sand when I did not jump at these chances.

My feeling was that pizza was always going to be popular; I still love pizza today. Delivery would also always be in fashion because people wanted convenience. And because it was so tough to do well, we had to be focused. So, instead of diversifying and seemingly spreading the risk, I put all of my eggs in one basket and focused intently on it.

You could not be more focused: We had one company — Domino’s Pizza. It had one type of store — pizza delivery — with no sit-down facilities. During our best years (the 1980s) we offered pizzas in only two sizes and one drink, Coca-Cola. In most stores, the hours were short: 4:30 pm-12:30 am. Central stations (commissaries) processed all of the food so that the stores could stay focused on “handling the rush” — a phrase referring to keeping up with the orders during the peak hours.

In the 1980s we grew from 300 to 5,000 stores. We were the fastest-growing restaurant chain in history at that time. Our market share of pizzas delivered was 54%.

If I had stayed on that course, who knows where Domino’s would be right now! So, unless you’re in the “buggy whip” business, being fanatically focused is the right way to go.

At Ave Maria University, we are focused on only a relatively small number of majors that are the most important to the Church and society. At those, we aim to be the best.

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


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