Six years ago, Domino’s admitted it made terrible pizza. Now its stock returns have outpaced Google’s

American pie.
American pie.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Peter
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Domino’s pizza was once known as the pie with a cardboard crust whose sauce tasted like ketchup. In 2010, its then-new CEO, Patrick Doyle, decided to own those badges of dishonor in a series of surprisingly candid ads. Not many brands would risk facing the cameras to essentially say, “Yeah, we suck,” but apparently he was on to something.

According to Harvard Business review, facing the brutal criticism and revisiting its pizza recipe that year was partly why the CEO was able to rewrite Domino’s market history with the kind of turnaround story that investors love. Doyle’s dedication to remapping the company’s delivery systems with new tech solutions was the other, and perhaps more influential, factor that led to rallying stock price. (The stock was trading at just under $9 per share in 2010; it’s now above $160.)

Last year, Doyle said he believed Domino’s was one of the top five e-commerce sites in the world, and reported that more than 50% of Domino’s global pizza orders were digital. At the same time, clever gimmicks— allowing customers to order pizza by emoji, for instance—have given Domino’s a fresher image. Recently the company made the world’s first drone delivery. (Only available in New Zealand, for now.)

Yesterday (Jan. 14), Charlie Bilello, the director of research at Pension Partners, a mutual fund manager, tweeted out a chart showing Domino’s total returns since its IPO in 2004. The chart also tracks the same measurement for Google (Alphabet), which went public in 2004, too. The comparison—which Bloomberg’s Dave Wilson pointed out with a similar chart back in October—produces some unexpected results:   

Some of Bilello’s Twitter followers pointed out that the two companies have radically different market caps—Domino’s is $8 billion, and Google’s over $560 billion—which puts the finding in perspective.