How Domino's COO Kerri Hayman carved her own path in the pizza business
COO Kerri Hayman has worked in the pizza business since she was 15.
Since she was 15 years old, Kerri Hayman has been working in the pizza business. Her elder brother Don Meij was then a store manager at Silvio’s Pizza in Redcliffe, Queensland, and had asked for her help to make pizzas.
Kerri has over 35 years of hands-on experience in the pizza business. One of her memorable leadership roles was becoming the operations director for Domino’s Pizza Group plc. After that, she owned and operated 14 Domino’s restaurants in South Carolina and Georgia in the US for nearly a decade.
Today, Kerri has come full circle, having been appointed as the Chief Operating Officer for Domino’s Australia and New Zealand in May 2023.
She officially started in her role this October. Talking with QSR Media, Kerri told the story of why she, her brother Don (who is the current CEO and Managing Director of Domino’s Pizza Enterprises) and her family are obsessed with pizza.
Has your family always been fascinated with pizzas?
I have worked at Domino’s since I was 15 years old… so it is safe to say that my family has adopted a slight obsession with pizza! As a matter of fact, my eldest child who is 22 years old has grown up in pizza, and always had Domino’s as part of her life. It was Domino’s that gave her the entrepreneurial spirit to establish her own photography business and become her own boss. My nine-year-old has also fallen in love with making pizzas and wants to work at Domino’s as soon as she is old enough.
When working with your brother Don, what was it about the job that you loved best?
I fell in love with what we call “The Rush,” carefully preparing hundreds of pizzas in a short amount of time, typically over busy periods like lunch and dinner, for customers. It was exhilarating. I also fell in love with the people. I am very excited to be back working with our Franchisee Partners and Support Office colleagues, many of whom I met more than 30 years ago!
How will you use what you’ve learned from the business over the past 35 years in your new role?
I have experienced what it is like to work in every position within the Domino’s business. From store manager to franchise partner, business consultant, state operations manager, and beyond. It is this experience that has given me a strong understanding of the business, and the ability to learn about it from the inside out. Even outside of DPE and in other countries where Domino’s operates: Domino’s is Domino’s – every country is the same. It’s all about focusing on the customer and nailing your product, service, and image.
Tell us about the business direction you plan for Domino’s ANZ. What will be your focus?
My focus will always remain on our customers and ensuring all Domino’s stores deliver the same exceptional product, service, and image our customers know and love. When we successfully balance the value equation, by providing the best product, service, and image, at an affordable price, then our customers reward us with their order frequency.
What are some interesting trends you’ve noticed in the fast-food market?
I would say, most recently in Australia and New Zealand, an influence of diverse flavours from cultures all around the world! Earlier this year, we launched a brand-new Taste of India Range in New Zealand which featured a Butter Chicken, Indi Chicken Tikka and the Spicy Peppy Paneer pizza that was incredibly popular with customers. I have also observed an increase in snacking foods and fun menu items customers can quickly grab and eat while on the go!
How do you plan on leveraging these trends in the future?
We have been cooking up a number of innovative products in Domino’s LuvLab Development Kitchen based right here in Brisbane. I can’t say too much right now... but stay tuned for some exciting new products launching very soon!
What do you hope to accomplish in the near and long term in your role as COO of Domino’s ANZ?
My primary focus will always be people — whether that be surprising and delighting our customers with inspired products and services or helping the next generation of Domino’s leaders grow and prosper. This is what makes our business so great and why I feel so privileged to do what I do every single day.