Home Money How I made my money at Domino’s: from the inside to running a £1.3bn company

How I made my money at Domino’s: from the inside to running a £1.3bn company

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Workaholic: Domino's CEO Andrew Rennie on his undercover mission working as a chef in one of its establishments

While English footballers aim to reach the knockout stage of the Euro Cup, thousands of Domino’s Pizza workers face their own test.

The UK’s largest pizza chain sells up to 31 pizzas per second during an England match and wants to maintain its average delivery time of 24 minutes.

The guy rolling out the dough behind the counter at the Golders Green branch in north London appears to be in good shape for the challenge.

Workaholic: Domino’s CEO Andrew Rennie on his undercover mission working as a chef in one of its establishments

With gray hair and freckled skin typical of an athlete, he is a little older than the average chef at the chain. But, dressed in a head-to-toe Domino’s chef outfit and Nike trainers, Andrew Rennie certainly looks the part.

He happily receives an order from a builder who walks in from the street. No one would guess that this is his first time at this Domino’s branch, nor that he is the boss of the £1.3bn company with more than 1,300 outlets across the UK and Ireland.

“Football and pizza go very well together,” smiles the modest general manager.

He doesn’t wear his usual expensive watch, but says he wears his pizza chef uniform most days.

He doesn’t have a car, but he loves his Kawasaki motorcycle, although he won’t try to make deliveries with it.

He says, “This is our busiest time of year and we have to get it right.”

Andrew Rennie's five tips to get to the top

Andrew Rennie’s five tips to get to the top

Domino’s held on to its marketing budget at the beginning of the year so it could embark on a splurge this summer. It is also relaunching its “ultimate spicy sausage” pizza, which was very popular during the last World Cup.

Investors hope this tournament will help domino actions rebound. At £3.19, they are a long way from their 2021 peak of £4.59.

Rennie, who took over as head of FTSE 250-listed Domino’s UK and Ireland in August, has an experienced pair of hands.

He has spent more than 20 years aggressively growing this pizza empire around the world, including managing the European business from 2014 to 2020.

Now the 56-year-old is keen to bring more Pepperoni Passions and Twisted Dough Balls to Brits’ stomachs.

The company accounts for more than three-quarters of branded pizza sales in the UK, he says, but adds: “We have more than 1,330 stores across the UK and Ireland, but I want to get to 2,000 by 2032.”

It’s a far cry from the only British branch in Luton in 1985, when the North American franchise first expanded overseas.

It is moving to smaller towns and villages, now the cities are saturated. But is there antipathy for Domino’s brazen landing in the counties?

‘If they don’t like us, they’re not showing it very well: they’re buying a huge amount of pizza. Many of those towns have very few brands, so we have become a good place to go.

He also grew up in a part of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales with a population of just 6,000.

Rennie enlisted in the army at 15 years old. After a decade in military uniform, he decided to open a Domino’s (then a fairly small pizza franchise in Australia) in his small hometown.

‘Head office pointed out that the average store had a population of 50,000 people around it, and mine had 10 per cent of that population, and would fail.

But I opened it and became obsessed with the service. If a pizza was late or we made a mistake, I would go to people’s houses, offer them free pizza, free Coke, and beg them to come back. I knew by heart the names and addresses of 350 of my customers and I personally took care of their pizzas.’

Frowning, apparently still upset about it, Rennie recounts the address and concerns of a Mr. Grey, who 30 years ago complained about a scant amount of jalapeño on his pizza.

To say this CEO is obsessed with customer service is an understatement.

‘I wouldn’t sleep if I lost a client. I was so motivated that from our small shop, smaller than most domestic kitchens, we became the number one shop in Australia.’

He then built a Domino’s franchise with 30 people over a decade, before he was approached to sell it in exchange for a stake in the Domino’s business in Australia. When he listed in Sydney and the company bought the Domino’s franchise for France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Rennie moved to Paris.

‘I was the only one who knew how to count to ten in French, so they sent me to run France in 2006.;

In five years, the father of three tripled the size of the French company.

Change: Domino's is moving to smaller towns and villages, now cities are saturated

Change: Domino’s is moving to smaller towns and villages, now cities are saturated

After three years Down Under running Domino’s in Australia and New Zealand, Rennie returned to the continent to head up the European division, growing Domino’s in Germany to 1,200 branches. Four years ago, he retired (having earned enough to never work again) to live on his farm in Australia.

He was 52 years old and his ‘retirement’ was short-lived. It never involved any type of leisure, since at that time Rennie set up 25 businesses, including a cheese bakery, a car wash, a whiskey distillery and a cattle farm, but even that was not enough.

When his ex-wife moved to London with their youngest son, he also moved to England.

He says: “Then Domino’s Pizza Group knocked on my door and I couldn’t help but come out of retirement.”

Rennie’s sharp focus is now on growth in the UK and Ireland. At the top of his list is a Domino’s loyalty scheme: ‘We have 30 million active customers in our database, who shop an average of 4.3 times a year. My wish is for them to reach five.’

money floatRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-46f48bb0-3085-11ef-b77b-013354e548e7" data-permabox-url="https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-13557853/How-dough-Dominos-Outback-running-1-3bn-company.html"> Andrew Rennie, 56 years old

PIZZA ORDER: Jalapeño, pepperoni and pineapple

Lives: Marylebone, central London

FIRST JOB: Mowing the grass on an Australian farm

FAMILY: I met my second wife at an ACDC concert. Three children from 25 to 13 years old.

PHYSICAL APTITUDE: He rows 5K, runs 3K, and lifts weights before work: “The more I train, the more I can eat.”

PAY: £775,000 a year plus a bonus of up to 150 per cent of salary.

More ambitiously, he has scribbled a secret shopping list, seeking to take on a smaller rival: “A brand with 50 or 80 points of sale, with all the initial mistakes already made.”

It is looking for a brand that Brits want to eat during the day, as 90 per cent of Domino’s pizzas are mocked at night.

The Chief Executive is always thinking about the future. He talks about drones and driverless deliveries being “about five years away,” and admits, “The scarcest asset on the planet now is human beings, the people who deliver the products.”

For now, we are focusing on electric bikes – better for the environment and much faster for our customers.”

There is a pause as Rennie’s latest creation comes out of the oven. She has sandwiched some chocolate chip, butter and cinnamon cookies into pizza dough to create a new dessert. I was skeptical, but I knocked it down and then licked the box clean.

Will Domino’s give this to any party as a pre-election push?

“This business is almost 40 years old and has done well for whoever is in charge,” the Australian responds. ‘I have attended elections in France, Australia, Germany. We’re just saying vote for pizza.’

With that said, Rennie takes me behind the counter to teach me the secrets behind the perfect Domino’s pizza. It is more difficult than it looks. I was gently told that my effort would not be approved – dodgy crust.

When I come out, Rennie is scooping out another ball of dough.

He says with a shrug: ‘Unfortunately, I’m a workaholic. But I am lucky to be able to be here because I want to.”

And with that, Rennie grabs another handful of pepperoni and goes back to his pizza.

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