Domino's CEO Says New York Times Story On USDA Cheese Marketing Program Got It Wrong


Photo: James Sheriff via Flickr

Last November, the New York Times published a story that claimed that a USDA-created organisation, Dairy Management, had helped Domino’s Pizza Inc. increase the amount of cheese used to make its pizzas.The numbers were staggering. According to the article, the company’s new pizzas contained 40% more cheese. To help launch the cheesier pies, Dairy Management paid for a $12 million marketing campaign.

Is this true? False? Or just plain misleading? To get the facts, Benzinga turned to Patrick Doyle, the CEO of Domino’s, who sarcastically warned that you should “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

Full Interview: Zing Talk Interview: Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle Doesn’t Accept Government Cheese

“The fact is, what was characterised as being a USDA program is not,” Doyle clarified. “It’s actually the farmers who effectively have a co-op. They have a board. The USDA’s involvement has simply been in helping them to collect money from the farmers.”

Doyle said that the farmers fund their own promotional efforts, “so we’ve been working with the farmers. The farmers put in money, we put in money, to help re-launch the pizza.”

As far as ingredients are concerned, Doyle said that his company has added some cheese to the cheese-only pies.

“So the story, the headline on the New York Times, should have been, ‘Farmers Use Farmers’ Money To Promote The Farmers’ Products,'” Doyle said firmly. “If somebody wants to come out against the farmers, I guess that’s their business. But we think the farmers deciding they want to help promote their own product, with their own funding, is pretty normal and should be expected.”

To hear more from Domino’s chief executive – including his strategy for a successful re-launch of the pizza – don’t miss Benzinga’s full interview with Patrick Doyle.

– Louis Bedigian

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