Domino’s apologizes for error over Cornwall franchise

Except for a pop cooler, the storefront is almost bare inside this Domino's location in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. The store closed on Christmas Eve. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Domino’s Pizza Inc. has apologized for statements surrounding the closure of the Cornwall franchise.

Customers were greeted with the doors closed at the 1916 Pitt Street pizza shop on Dec. 24, 2016.

On Tuesday, Tim McIntyre, executive vice president of communications for Domino’s Pizza Inc., had initially said the franchisee’s contract was terminated by Domino’s Pizza Canada due to a financial default (non-payment of bills).

The initial story had drawn sharp criticism from the franchise spokesperson, Ryan Narezny, who maintained the store was being closed for rebranding in a new location.

Today (Wednesday), McIntyre said he had been given incorrect information by his Windsor, Ont. contact.

“The franchise owner in Cornwall is a great operator and indeed closed the store as he searches for a new venue to open a brand-new Pizza Theater location. As you might guess, the franchisee is justifiably extremely upset at Domino’s Pizza Canada and is concerned that this report has damaged his reputation and the brand’s good name in Cornwall,” McIntyre said in a statement to Cornwall Newswatch.

Franchisee had outgrown location; staff will be recalled

A spokesman for the Cornwall franchise says they are looking to expand the Cornwall site in a new location but just ran out of time trying to find a new venue.

In an interview with CNW, Joe Deleuwe said their lease was coming up for renewal in the next six months and the franchise group has been working with a commercial realtor the past eight months to find a new location.

“We are a pizza delivery company and we pride ourselves in being able to get pizzas out the door. In that current location…that store’s been there for 30 years and Cornwall has grown in such a direction where the bulk of our customers are at least 10, 12 to 15 minutes away.”

Domino’s benchmark is to get pizzas out the door within 9 minutes and to the customer in under 17 minutes.

With a corporate re-imaging deadline of January 2017 “it didn’t make sense to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars to re-image this store in a location that just doesn’t work,” Deleuwe said.

He and partner, Mitch Reinhart, have 13 locations from British Columbia to Cornwall, Ont. Ryan Narezny is a third partner in the Cornwall location. They have been running the Cornwall store for three years.

As for the staff at the store, Deleuwe said the employees “have all been taken care of” and knew about three weeks before the closing. The employees, approximately 10-15, will be given first rights to positions once the new store opens, Deleuwe said.

Deleuwe, who has been running franchises for 25 years, said they kept the closure low-key because they didn’t want to have staff attrition and “cold feet” from customers.

“If it looks like a midnight move, it was never our intention,” Deleuwe said. He added that the landlord knew what was going on and understood their challenges.

Deleuwe is adamant that a new store will open.

“We are excited to come back to the market. We want to be in a place where we can service our customers because, at the end of the day, if you don’t service your customers properly…nobody wants pizza in 45 minutes to an hour. We are the pizza delivery experts.”