Interview: Josh Kilimnik

Josh Kilimnik got his first exposure to Pizza at the age 15 when he was employed to make dough in small pizza store chain, which eventually became a Domino's store.  Josh worked his way through every role in the shop and eventually became a store manager. He is the Domino’s NZ General Manager where he acknowledges that the key to success in NZ is the engagement of Domino’s franchisees and spends the majority of his time trying to build meaningful relationships that will hopefully lead to win/win for all involved.

I understand that you literally started at the bottom at Dominos, and worked your way to the top. Can you tell our readers about your journey?

I got my first job when I was 14 years old, and it was at Jacko’s Dial a Pizza in Canberra. Jacko’s was then bought by Silvio’s Dial a Pizza, which eventually became Domino’s! I worked in the store for about 5 years in just about every position there is; dough boy, CSR, driver, shift runner, assistant manager and manager. At 19 I decided to move up to the Sunshine State and go to University, where I studied Business and Science. I then worked for Coles Myer, Pepsico and David Jones in many roles from HR, sales to operations. But I guess I never got the pizza sauce out of my veins, as I’ve come full circle back to working at Domino’s! In the last few years back at Domino’s I’ve worked my way through almost every role in the business, from Franchise Consultant to National Quality and Audit Manager, to my current role as General Manager of New Zealand.

What do you think it takes to be a successful businessman or woman?

Honestly, I think it takes a lot of hard work. You need to work out what ‘success’ will be for you, set yourself goals, and then chase after those goals putting everything you’ve got behind it.

They say that in tight markets, like the one we’ve had in recent years, fast food and movie theatres (cheap forms of entertainment) still manage to boom. Has this been your experience?

No matter what happens, people need to eat, and no matter how bad things get, they still want to have a treat or nice family experience. I think that’s why we are seeing people continue to come to our stores in a tight market, because we offer a great value dinner option that allows the family to come together, share a tasty meal and enjoy a treat together – all on a budget.

What are five things businesses could do to stay ahead of competitors?

Give great customer service, differentiate your product, listen to your customers, embrace the digital and social media space and reward your team for their wins.

Is the customer always right?

That’s the saying, isn’t it? We are very big on customer service at Domino’s and empower our team members to be able to go the extra mile to win back a customer who may have had a bad experience. We really value our loyal customers, so we work hard on providing great customer service to keep them loyal and happy.

There are so many Dominos stores around the country. How do you ensure that they all maintain a high level of quality and consistency?

It’s a big job, and that’s why we’ve developed strict procedures and guidelines for the operations in our stores and the training of our team members. Every pizza has a very precise make chart, with the exact weight of each ingredient in the recipe. Every procedure in store has a method that is unique to Domino’s, from making dough fresh in store to packing and leaving the store with a delivery. As a franchise business with a high volume mentality, it’s vital that we use procedures and guides to ensure we are not only consistent, but efficient across every single store. Each team member in each store is trained the same way to ensure our customers are enjoying the same high quality pizzas whichever Domino’s store they go to.   

Dominos have recently released “healthier” pizzas. Even though they might be better for you than an average pizza, are they really “healthy”?

We recently overhauled our Good Choice Range, and it now includes three 97% Fat Free pizzas and a Low Carb Crust. We know that pizza will always be a treat, but our thinking is that it doesn’t need to be ‘bad’ for you. We just want to give our customers options, so that they are able to stick to their diet, be it low carb or low fat, and still enjoy a treat with their friends and family.

What’s your favourite type of pizza?

Working in store I tried just about every combination I could think of, and I don’t think I’ve ever really broken that habit – I order a ‘Designa’ and customise my own pizza every time!

Be honest, do you ever eat Pizza Hut?

When I can get the best pizza in New Zealand at Domino’s – why would I?

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