Retro | Food

Why Domino's Cancelled Their "30 Minutes Or Less" Guarantee

If you don't time your pizza delivery to see if it's less than 30 minutes then you are a LIAR. The "30 Minutes or Less" guarantee is basically the scripture of the pizza world. The phrase is so big, there was even a Hollywood movie made with that premise.

But here's the thing: that rule doesn't actually apply. Before we get to that, let's take a journey through the history of pizza delivery.

The Dawn of Delivery

Though the first pizza delivery was technically made in the 1800s, Domino's was the first pizza restaurant to offer not only delivery, but fast delivery. Domino's was founded in 1960 after brothers Tom and James Monaghan purchased a pizza store called DomiNick's. 5 years later, Time bought out his brother's share of the restaurant by giving him a VW Beetle and renamed the place Domino's. Tom not only began a pizza delivery service, but in 1979 he also guaranteed pizza would be there in 30 minutes or less, otherwise it's free.

Continue reading to find out the lawsuits which ended the "30 minutes or less" guarantee.

The Lawsuits

Once the 90s hit, 11 years after Domino's implemented their guarantee, lawsuits started coming to light of people who were killed or injured by Domino's drivers trying to make their deadline. In 1992, the company had to pay $2.8 million to the family of Susan Noonan, a woman whose van was struck by a Domino's driver. Noonan died as a result of the accident, and her three sons, plus a friend,s were injured in the accident as well. Domino's maintains that poor road and weather conditions were the cause of the accident, not their delivery time requirements.

The lawsuit that finally shut down the guarantee, however, was in 1993 when Domino's was forced to pay $79 million to a St. Louis woman who was struck and permanently injured by one of their drivers. The woman says the driver ran a red light and hit her car, causing a spinal cord injury. The jury awarded the woman $750,000 in actual damages, and $78 million in punitive damages.

Tom Monaghan made the decision to pull the guarantee after public perception that Domino's is encouraging their employees to drive dangerously to avoid having to give away free pizza.

"I believe we are the safest delivery company in the world. But there continues to be a perception ... that the guarantee is unsafe. We got that message loud and clear," Monaghan said after the verdict.

Domino's Founder Tom MonaghanThe Balance

"The risk [of even higher jury awards] becomes greater ... and they would be exposing themselves to additional suits," said corporate lawyer Kathleen Collins, referring to what could happen if Domino's chose not to revoke the 30 minutes or less guarantee.

The new policy became to offer $3 refunds if pizzas were late, which one franchiser said costs him $300,000 a year. Frank Meeks owned 53 Domino's in the Maryland, Virginia, and the District and he chose not to abide by the new policy.

"If I thought for one minute it was unsafe, I would drop it," he said of the 30-minute guarantee. "But we've never had a serious accident in Washington. We've had some fender benders. I'm a renegade. I'm not going to do it."

The only countries to continue with the 30 minutes or less guarantee are India and South Korea, thought many people would think otherwise.

Did you know there was no such thing as a "30 minutes or less" guarantee anymore? Let us know!