Hiring the American Dream Team

Author/multi-unit franchisee shares hiring best practices

In his book, Hire the American Dream, Domino's Pizza Dave Melton outlines much of his own personal journey and roadmap to discovering how to hire the best and most productive employees, and create a culture that leads to success for everyone in the company. It's a task that all franchisees encounter and Melton's tried and true methods can be applied to almost any situation.

Melton is a franchising veteran with more than 28 years in the business. Today he operates six Domino's Pizza restaurants in Manhattan and Connecticut. The 50-year-old's accomplishments are impressive. He has led the New York DMA to become the most successful DMA market for Domino's Pizza. In 2009, Melton's stores took over the number one slot for sales in any Domino's market. His company's annual revenue is $6 million.

Early in his book, Melton reveals many of the trials and tribulations he encountered while opening his first two New York City Dominos locations. He says, "Despite my early mistakes I knew good frontline employees were the key to running a successful business. I needed employees who behaved as if they owned the company, who really cared about every aspect of the business, just like I did. But how do you find those people when you're offering only minimum wage?"

For Melton, it began by taking a fundamental look at management principles. He boils it down to five basic concepts:

  • Understand that hiring is the most important investment in your business
  • The importance of treating people right
  • Believing that you work for your customers
  • Making sure that every product you sell is the best it can be
  • Sharing your success with the employees who help make you successful

One of the central themes to Hire the American Dream is what Melton refers to as hiring "nice people." He looks for the strength of attitude over experience and passion over skill. Furthermore, he has created a culture of "common language" which is essentially incentives and rewards that all employees can understand and participate in regardless of background and experience. He says one of the goals for franchisees is to make sure that their employees have the same kinds of entrepreneurial opportunity that first got the franchisee excited about being in business.

In coming issues of the Multi-Unit Franchisee Report e-newsletter, we will dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of Melton's book. Hopefully, there will be some nuggets that you can take away each month as you seek to create a high-performance, customer-focused team in your stores.

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