Wellness at Domino’s: Striking a balance between weight loss and pizza

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It’s no surprise that Domino’s employees are big pizza fans; it’s what their company’s famous for, after all. But while the pizza chain’s leaders are proud of their product, they were also concerned with employees’ widening waistlines.

“Historically, we’ve struggled to move the needle on our BMI metric, indicating we needed a stronger focus on weight management,” says Jessica Arnal, a Domino’s Pizza Benefits and PeopleFirst Engagement analyst. “That’s where the conversation with Retrofit began.”

Retrofit offers weight-management and disease-prevention solutions that help tackle obesity and related conditions. Eighty-eight percent of Retrofit participants lost weight and 81% have kept it off 12 months later.

Domino’s turned to Retrofit to help their employees slim down and adopt healthier lifestyles. The initiative began with a pilot program for six supply chain centers and for team members located in Domino’s World Resource Center. Managers made sure the program fit the working lives of their employees so “it wasn’t frowned upon for a team member to take a few minutes out of his or her day to chat with a coach or attend an online class,” says Arnal.

“One of the reasons the pilot program was so successful,” she explains, “is because Retrofit is designed to cater to the needs of each participant. The digital nature of the coaching interactions and the schedule variation in the weekly classes was incredibly helpful for our team members working different shifts.”

When Warren Boatright, a Domino’s transportation manager, heard about the program he immediately signed up.

"I was at my heaviest, and I had tried several other diets and weight-loss programs and nothing worked," Boatright acknowledges. "This program came into my life at the right time. I registered and set a goal to lose 10% of my body weight."

The transport manager was assigned an expert coach, an activity tracker and a Wi-Fi scale for self-monitoring. He could access a smart app and dashboard for tracking and notifications, expert-led interactive classes and social support from an online community that encourages healthy behaviors.

Dedicated coaches

Arnal describes the Retrofit coaching model as dedicated, rather than designated, meaning that the Domino’s employees worked with the same coach throughout the pilot program. Other Retrofit experts were also brought in on an as-needed basis. The result, she says, “was a tailored and individualized program for each person.”

The program can also be tailored to the needs of the employer. For example, the Domino’s dashboard shows Boatright and his team members tips on how they can still enjoy pizza while losing weight.

Collectively, the Domino's employees who undertook the program lost 965 pounds. In the most recent cohort, 90% of the employees lost weight, with 57% losing 5% or more of their total body weight. In addition, 70% lost at least one BMI point and 11% moved out of the morbidly obese category.

“A lot of program interest and participation was generated by ‘word of mouth,’” says Arnal. “So much of the feedback I received on Retrofit included how easy the program is to follow. That, along with the initial success of team members, helped sustain excitement.”

As for Boatright, he adjusted his portion sizes and began exercising regularly—and the results were immediate. Within 12 weeks, he had dropped 35 pounds from his starting weight of 273. Today, he is down 55 pounds or more than 20% of his original bodyweight, far exceeding his initial goal, and he did it without having to give up pizza.

"I work for Domino's pizza, and I love pizza!" Boatright exclaims. "I've learned that I can still eat pizza. I just have to be aware of portions and have fewer slices.”

Adds Arnal, “Retrofit offered our team members a program that was user-friendly and didn’t make them feel deprived of anything.”

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