27 November 2010
Domino's Pizza: A Franchising Oops Moment...
A Domino's Pizza store in Quakers Hill has copped a fine from the NSW Food Authority. The fine just happens to be a big one, the biggest so far in 2010. The fine is a hefty AUD 116,000 for the franchisee, Austotal Enterprise Partners. In addition, the director was fined a further AUD13,500 for some 24 breaches of the NSW Food Act.
The breaches primarily related to the endangering of customer health through the preparation of food in unsafe conditions. These conditions included preparing food amongst filthy appliances and rotting food. These breaches might not have been uncovered but for the complaints of customers who became violently ill from food poisoning after having eaten Domino's products.
This begs the question, "does the bad performance of a franchisee in a case such as this harm the brand as a whole?"
The reality is that this is a franchise store. It is owned by someone other than Domino's who are trading under the Domino's name. Perhaps I should declare my past affiliations. I once managed a company-owned and then a franchisee-owned Domino's Pizza store back in a past life. Both of which were stores where the owners took their responsibilities and obligations very seriously. I believe that this is a store-specific issue and does not represent a brand-wide practice to skimp on health and safety issues in store.
Yet, that said, Domino's Pizza is Domino's Pizza no matter whose name appears in the small print on the shop-front window. So, will this harm the brand name and sales over the long term? Needles to say the store and the franchisee will be listed now on the NSW Government's name and shame file for those that breach the acceptable standards noted under the NSW Food Act.
I will order Domino's again!