Domino's at Center of Disgusting YouTube Video Prank Closes

"We're much stronger than these two people in Conover, N.C."

http://www.slashfood.com
September 29, 2009

Domino's at Center of Disgusting YouTube Video Prank Closes
Jennifer Lawinski

DominosKevinHendren.jpg

Photo: miskan/flickr

A Domino's Pizza franchise in North Carolina was forced to close its doors forever last week, and its owner puts the blame on disgusting videos two former employees posted on YouTube.

"My business was off 58 percent because of YouTube," franchise owner Kevin Hendren told the Hickory Daily Record. The store closed on Sept. 22.

The franchise's troubles began when two employees of his Conover, N.C., Domino's Pizza allegedly created videos of themselves showing one putting cheese in his nose and then putting it on a sandwich, sneezing on cheese sticks and pulling down his pants, wiping himself with a sponge and then using that sponge to clean a pan. The videos were discovered in April and have been removed from YouTube.

Hendren told the newspaper he will not reopen the Domino's franchise. "I'm just living day to day right now," he told the Daily Record.

Michael Anthony Setzer, 32, of Conover, N.C., and Kristy Lynn Hammonds, 31, of Taylorsville, N.C., have been indicted on charges of distributing prohibited foods, a spokesman for the Conover Police Department told Slashfood.

The two are set to appear in Superior Court in January 2010.

"There is no hiding from the fact that this video made news all over the world because it was so brazen, and it was like watching a train wreck. People couldn't take their eyes off of it," Domino's Pizza spokesman Tim McIntyre told Slashfood. "Nationwide, we felt a hit in the week or two immediately following the explosion of it."

He said that while the video was a hoax, the company and District Attorney are treating it as a real crime. "Nobody is dumb enough to really commit a crime and then brag about it and put it on YouTube."

The company had been on track to see a profit in the second quarter of this year, McIntyre said, but saw a 0.7 percent decrease. "Because we were trending positive, all things being equal, that was the one thing we could point to and say that impacted us."

Sales nationwide have rebounded, McIntyre said. "We're much stronger than these two people in Conover, N.C."

However, the Conover Domino's Pizza franchise was unable to bounce back from the videos' impact.

"For a small business a hit of 50 percent, it's hard to recover. You've got an independent business person who lost his livelihood, and you've got 20 fellow employees who lost their jobs because these two people thought they were being funny," McIntyre said.

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