A Look at Tom Monaghan, Founder of Domino’s Pizza

One of the most popular food products in the world is pizza. Humans love food that’s complex, rich, sweet and fatty. Pizza has all of these components. The sauce has a sweet flavor, the toppings taste rich and cheese is fatty.

The love of pizza has further skyrocketed during the global pandemic. People who are staying or working from home can simply order pizza on the web or over the phone. Pizza, for many, is the perfect comfort food — you don’t need silverware, it’s hard to mess up and it’s good whether hot or cold. This is a perfect meal that people can have during uncertain times.

One of the top pizza chains that have benefited from the cravings of customers is Domino’s Pizza. The biggest pizza company in the world by sales, this pizza chain had the largest slice of the U.S. market coming into the pandemic.

Let’s remember this: Domino’s Pizza would not be possible without its founder — Tom Monaghan.

Who is Tom Monaghan?

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Thomas Stephen Monaghan is an American entrepreneur born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. His dad passed away when he was four. A couple of years later, his mom placed him and his younger brother James in an orphanage run by the Felician Sisters.

Although Tom Monaghan’s mom was eventually able to raise her children by herself, the nuns had significantly influenced his life, leading to him considering the path to priesthood. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the necessary discipline to become a priest and was kicked out of the seminary. He obtained a better sense of discipline when he served three years in the Marine Corps.

After his discharge in 1959, Tom went back to Ann Arbor and enrolled in the University of Michigan. He studied to become an architect, but didn’t push through in becoming one. Instead, he made a career shift that will forever change his life. He and his brother James teamed up to put up Domino’s Pizza (more on this story later).

Other Facts You Didn’t Know About Tom Monaghan

Apart from founding Domino’s Pizza, Tom Monaghan bought Detroit Tigers (his hometown baseball team) back in 1983. The team won the World Series in Tom’s first full season as the owner. He owned the Detroit Tigers until 1992.

Tom Monaghan also happens to be a book author. The founder of Domino’s Pizza published “Pizza Tiger.” This book explains how he grew his business into the biggest pizza delivery chain in the globe. It also discusses how strict personal ethics and ingenuity have made the American Dream come true.

Tom Monaghan also experienced unfortunate incidences in his time. Through the early days of his business dealings, a series of business partners took advantage of him.

The most notable one was an aspiring oil tycoon who successfully persuaded Tom to hand over his entire savings to drill an oil well. The would-be tycoon then disappeared. Despite this, Tom persevered and managed to bounce back from this adversity.

How Tom Monaghan Founded Domino’s Pizza

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In 1960, James and Tom Monaghan borrowed $500 to purchase a pizzeria in nearby Ypsilanti, Michigan. The name of the pizzeria was DomiNick’s named after the previous owners named Dominic and Nick. After the acquisition of two more stores, Tom changed the name of the pizzeria to Domino’s Pizza in 1965.

Initially, the stores were bleeding money. Thanks to Tom’s experience in the college town, he knew how to cater to them — literally. He did away with the sandwiches from the menu and zeroed in on making and delivering pizzas.

One of the notable inventions is an insulated box that can keep pizza warm and support the weight of multiple boxes. Thanks to this invention, the folks at Domino’s Pizza can accommodate several delivery orders at once, without the lid of the pizza container sagging and causing the cheese to stick to the top of the box.

Another wonderful innovation that originated from Domino’s Pizza is the 30-minute promise. If you order Domino’s Pan Pizza, for instance, you’ll get it with 30 minutes of ordering, or the pizza would be free.

The reason this strategy worked was primarily due to territory. Tom acquired pizza joints whenever he could, gradually creating a network that meant there would be a pizzeria nearby any customer who might call. The network effect continued to work, and thousands of franchisees clustered in regions to deliver pizzas to the doors of customers on time.

Although Domino’s Pizza halted its 30-minute promise in 1993 in the US, this innovation greatly improved the delivery system — and this was how Tom Monaghan was able to spread his stores across North America.

Is Tom Monaghan a Billionaire?

You may think that this Domino’s Pizza founder is a billionaire just like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. After all, he achieved tremendous success in the pizza industry.

Tom Monaghan, however, isn’t a billionaire. He chose not to be a billionaire.  When he sold Domino’s Pizza for $1 billion, he donated $500 million to a charity cause. As of this writing, the net worth of Tom Monaghan is approximately $550 million.

According to Tom, he came into this world penniless. As a Catholic Christian, he understands that he cannot take any of the money with him when he dies. He, therefore, wants to use his material resources to help others in the most meaningful ways possible.

Tom Monaghan is a wealthy and successful entrepreneur behind Domino’s Pizza that many Americans come to know and love. He now focuses much of this time (and considerable fortune) on Catholic causes.

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