Is Domino's New Pizza Really Any Better?
Domino's new pizza could be a flop.
Last month, chain Domino's Pizza launched a ballsy new ad campaign that completely fessed up to serving near-inedible crap product. In addition to publicly taking it on the rear, Domino's also asserted it had a new, better formula with which to win back the hearts of you, the consumer. The consumer it has, up until now, been laughing at from behind a pile of cash as you scarf down their horrid excuse for pizza.
Or something like that.
Anyhow, we took interest when Stephen Colbert lambasted Domino's on his Comedy Central program for having the
guts chutzpa to tell its customers it has been serving them a product practically unfit for canine consumption, then asking them to come back for more. Domino's pizza, so claims the advert, is now all new, with better crust, more herbs in the sauce, and "real cheese." (Makes you wonder what it was made of before.) We asserted then that we didn't have an interest in sampling the new pizza; that it would likely be only a loose interpretation of the word and most likely the same thing as the old pizza, anyway.
Well, we lied. After Domino's announced this week that it would be looking to sell upwards of nine million slices of pizza during Super Bowl weekend in South Florida alone, we decided we would forget our principles (wouldn't be the first time) and just eat a damn slice. After all, how bad could it be?
You're about to find out.
Let's go back to the campaign for a moment: Domino's claims to
have reinvented it's pizza "from the crust up," developing a new dough,
new sauce, and new cheese that are leagues better than the old schlock
(descriptors for which include "cardboard with ketchup on it" and
"plastic cheese"). But are any of these elements actually improved in
the new pizza?
We'll break it down for you, ingredient by ingredient, to find out.
To say the ad copy is tongue-in-cheek would be generous.
Here's the first thing you see when you order a Domino's pizza, which three of us did the other night via Domino's handy online ordering system.
the crust, the pizza box is, in fact, still cardboard. It's also
festooned with ridiculous slogans and ad copy like "It's taken us 50
years to create pizza of this perfectitude (sic)." The box's goal, it
seems, is to convince you that this is not the same pizza it was
It's all very clever. Some lines read: "Now you may be wondering, is this really different? Will it be
as good as they say? Is 'perfectitude' actually a word?" It's as if
Domino's is just trying to cut all your doubts off at the pass. Are
these copy writers trying the Jedi Mind Trick on us?
"What are you talking about!" they're saying. "These are not the same old pizzas you've not been looking for!"
my favorite part was written on the side: "Our expert pizzamakers are
trained to sprinkle cheese from eye level to ensure even distribution.
Technical? You bet!" Every part of that phrase makes me want to punch
The crust in focus.
OK, now here comes the good stuff.
Chain pizza crust (read: Domino's) has for years been likened to thick,
bland, inedible pieces of cardboard. It's chewy and gummy, and gnawing
on a piece of it is like popping one of those stress relieving balls in
your mouth (literally and figuratively).
The new crust, I'm
happy to report, is not at all like cardboard. It's way more like wet
crust is soggy as hell, and the garlic seasoning on it can't save it. There's almost no consistency to it at all --
it just kind of dissolves into a mealy goo in your mouth. If you picked
up your pizza from a Domino's store it's easy to see why: The pizza is
not baked in an oven. Instead, it's put on a conveyor belt and fed
through a long salamander (a restaurant broiler, essentially), which
"cooks" the pizza on the top and bottom. Once it's pooped out the far
end of the machine, the pizza is done. There couldn't be more
Remove the cheese to find the sauce. It *is* in there.
would be difficult to make a worse pizza sauce than the "ketchup"
Domino's used before its pizza transformation. Unsurprisingly, the new
sauce is much less offensive than ketchup. It's also less offensive
than Archie Bunker, genital warts, and Hezbolla.
"It's really spicy," said Donna, another sampler. "It's lighter tasting too."
pizza sauce, it's also very pasty. As I dip my finger in it to sample,
I notice it's also kind of grainy, like the crust. Whatever
industrial strength molecular bonding agent Domino's is using to keep
these ingredients solid seems to be failing.
"I like the sauce," says Chris. "But then again, I'm very hungry." He was. Poor guy.
The cheese may be the best part. Not.
you recall, Domino's essentially said it's prior cheese was, in fact,
not real cheese. This cheese is, however, a blend of "100% real
mozzarella flavored with just a hint of provolone."
honest, I couldn't tell any difference between this cheese and the
cheese of any other fast food pizza chain. Though to be fair, it's been
years since I've had delivery pizza, Domino's or otherwise. Maybe my
taste receptors aren't nuanced enough to detect the subtleties between
fake real cheese and real fake cheese. It doesn't taste like real
cheese to me, though.
Like the sauce and crust, the cheese is
very mealy. I really have to find out what Domino's is putting
in their ingredients
to make them taste so grainy. If Florida's scientists could somehow
harness it and use it to turn anything gritty, they could put an end to
sand reclamation programs on our beaches.
Maybe Domino's is
shooting for "grainy" as an overall texture. They're probably just
preparing us all for a future where 90% of the Earth's surface is
unsuitable for agriculture, and all we have to eat astronaut food every
Is it meat? Only Domino's knows.
our two, medium-sized Domino's pizzas we got one with green peppers and
onions and one with pepperoni and sausage. The green peppers and onions
were fine in that they were flavorless. I could have been eating crunchy
zip ties for all I know, and that would've been OK. But the pepperoni and
"Italian sausage" slices were a new level of "baditude." (I learned that from watching you, Domino's.)
"It tastes like BO (body odor) smells," said Chris, picking off a dessicated piece of sausage and holding it up to examine.
"It does!" mirrored Donna. She added, "It's not necessarily an awful BO smell though."
"What do you mean?" I asked her.
"It's like you just worked out, but sprayed off with deodorant afterwards," interjected Chris.
no, it's minimally offensive BO," said Donna. "BO in the range of
acceptability. It's like when you see your great grandfather. You
really love him. And maybe he hasn't showered in a few days. But you
hug him anyway, right?"
There you have it. Domino's sausage is
like a relative you hug despite an ungainly odor. That just might be
the best compliment we can pay it.
The medium pizza is small. The mind reels.
now, Domino's is banking on its two medium pizzas for $5.99 each deal,
a cost-effective strategy that will probably be the bulk of its South
Florida sales over Super Bowl weekend. But is it really worth it?
so much. These are small pizzas masquerading as medium. In fact, there
is a smaller pizza at Domino's, but I'd hate to see how big it is. You'd be better off buying a $10 to $15 pizza from a real pizzeria and splitting that.
Not only are the pizzas small, but they are not filling. They don't so much fill your stomach as sink in it like a rock.
worst price, I might add, comes after you eat it. Without getting too
blue (or sacrificing too much pride), I can tell you that the Domino's
pizza I ate did not sit well with me. It longed to escape, I should
So there you have it, folks. Domino's new pizza. Is it different than the old pizza? Sure. In about the same way that High School Musical 1 is different from High School Musical 2.
More importantly, is
it better than the old pizza? Emphatically, no. This is still chain
delivery pizza. If, for some reason, you liked chain delivery pizza
before, you will probably enjoy this too (I pray for your soul). For
everyone else, stay as far away as possible.
Oh yes we did.
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