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IT’S BEEN A LONG EXCITING ROAD SINCE THE ORPHANAGE
Only in America could a once poor, yet determined young boy from Ann Arbor, Michigan, combine hard work, unwavering
courage, and strong faith to build a multi-billion dollar pizza business from the ground up.
"I believe that everyone on earth has a certain goal/dream in life."
Tom Monaghan’s early childhood was a true test of endurance. His father died on Christmas Eve when he was only four years
old. Tom’s mother couldn’t support his brother Jim and himself on her salary of only $27.50 per week so she decided to put
the two brothers into a foster home. Tom and his brother Jim bounced around from foster home to orphanage throughout
most of their childhood.
Reading the boyhood story of how Abraham Lincoln, a poor farm boy from Illinois could work hard and become President of
the United States inspired Tom to dream big. He would also read the Ward’s and Sear’s catalogues and dream about having
not the good, or the better, but the best.
Tom attended the seminary which didn’t work out. He was always a hard worker though. His early jobs included selling
newspapers and magazines and setting pins in bowling alleys.
Later, Monaghan joined the Marines with the hope that it would help pay for his future college education. He had early dreams
of becoming an architect although they never materialized. Monaghan knew that someday he’d grow up and be everything
that he could be. He always seemed to have a lot of confidence in himself.
In 1960, Tom and his brother Jim borrowed $900 to buy a pizzeria named Dominick’s in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A year later, Tom
bought out his brother by trading him his Volkswagen Beetle for Jim’s half of the business. Tom’s success certainly did not
happen overnight. In his first 13 years in the business, he worked 100 hour work weeks, seven days a week. He only had one
vacation, and that was for six days when he got married to his wife Margie.
Monaghan put together a strategy to sell only pizza, to deliver it hot and fresh within 30 minutes and locate near colleges and
military bases. By the late 1970’s, Domino’s was up to over 200 locations. The 1980’s proved to have phenomenal growth. In
1985, sales topped $1 billion and just three years later, sales hit over $2 billion. The number one pizza delivery company in
the world closed out the decade with over 5,000 locations.
Monaghan, who once aspired to be an architect, is a great fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, claimed to be the world’s greatest
modern day architect.
For Tom, the real substance of life and work is in a constant battle to excel. In his mind, winning in business is nothing unless
you do it strictly according to the rules.
In 1983, Monaghan bought the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise. The very next year they became the World Series
Forbes Magazine ranks Monaghan in the top 400 richest American’s and estimates his net worth at $485 million. Today,
Domino’s has a network of over 5,300 locations with 115,000 employees and sales of over $2.5 billion.
Questions and Answers:
What are some of the most memorable lessons you learned growing up?
While in an orphanage, I was most encouraged and inspired by Sister Berarda. She was my surrogate mother who was there
What do you attribute building your successful career to most?
I believe that my faith has attributed to my goals in life. I also have five priorities in life and they are: spiritual, social, mental,
physical and financial. These priorities have guided me and hopefully will continue to do so.
What does the American Dream mean to you?
I believe everyone on earth has a certain goal/dream in life. I also believe anyone can achieve this if they set their minds to it.
Was there ever a turning point or low point in your life? If so, how did you overcome it?
I was distracted by some of the rewards of success, which was hurting my business. I put all of these distractions aside, and
focused solely on Domino’s Pizza. I decided to take a “millionaires vow of poverty.” I am focusing on God, family and Domino’s
What advice would you give to someone chasing after their dream?
No mater what an individual decides to become, hard work and determination is very important in today’s competitive world.
You may also encounter hardships along the way, but you must not get discouraged and you push on in order to fulfill your
Is there a spiritual dimension to your accomplishments?
Yes, I must say that my faith has kept me going throughout my life...especially during the most challenging times. My faith has
been tested many times, yet I believe it has made me a better person.
What lies on the horizon as the American Dream for you?
To see Domino’s Pizza become the number one pizza company in the world.
The future for Tom Monaghan and Domino’s Pizza looks very bright. There is a new logo and a new lighter and brighter look
to the stores. They are investing over $150 million on improvements for the customer.
From Buffalo Wings to the new hit Herb Crust Pizza, to testing new desserts and salads, Domino’s still focuses on the most
important ingredient – their pizza.
Internationally, there are tremendous growth opportunities going on. Within the last four years, Domino’s has gone from 500
to 1,100 international stores. By the year 2000, they hope to open 4,000 more international locations.
For the self-proclaimed pizza man who claims to have made over one million pizzas, Tom Monaghan and Domino’s Pizza may
well be on their way toward the goal of being the number one pizza company in the world.
Domino’s Pizza, Inc.
|I Am Focusing On God, Family And Domino's Pizza
Founder And CEO
Domino's Pizza, Inc.
The following is a biography of Tom Monaghan while he was still owner of