Domino's is taking on America's crumbling infrastructure one pothole at a time

Key Points
  • Domino's is partnering with up to 20 towns and cities in the U.S. to fix potholes.
  • The company has received thousands of entries and will continue to take nominations for the next 12 weeks.
  • Each town will receive the same amount of money, but Domino's declined to specify how much.
Domino's is giving grants to local communities to fill potholes.
Source: Domino's

Domino's is no longer just selling pizzas, it's taking a stab at fixing America's crumbling infrastructure.

On Monday the pizza chain said it was partnering with towns and cities in the U.S. to fix potholes, with the goal of providing smoother rides for Domino's delivery drivers.

Hundreds of recently repaved potholes in four towns in Texas, Delaware, Georgia and California feature the company's marketing slogan, "Oh yes we did." And the company isn't stopping there.

Domino's will provide grants to up to 20 towns, according to Jenny Fouracre, a spokeswoman for the brand. Each town will receive the same amount of money, but Fouracre declined to specify how much.

"We care about our customers and how we can make their experience better, we often try to focus on existing tensions that could impact their interaction with our brand," she told CNBC via email. "Clearly we hit on a big one — potholes — and what they can do to your pizza."

Fouracre said the company has received thousands of entries and will continue to take nominations for the next 12 weeks.

"We expect lots of good customer engagement over the summer on this program," she said.

The campaign struck a nerve with social media users who questioned why a restaurant company, not the government, is fixing roads in the U.S. Many were also quick to start petitions to nominate their local towns for the funding.

Tweet 1

Tweet 2

Tweet 3

Tweet 4

Some 37 percent of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, according to The Guardian, citing studies from the National Transportation Research Group.

Driving on these roads costs drivers about $107 billion each year, or about $482 per person, with the majority of that money going towards vehicle repairs, The Guardian reported.

"The country desperately needs additional funding for infrastructure, and AAA applauds Domino's for putting more 'dough' into our transportation system," said Jill Ingrassia, AAA's managing director of government relations and traffic safety advocacy. However, she stressed that the government does need to provide "a long-term, sustainable source of funding to address the nation's transportation infrastructure needs."

Kristina Swallow, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, added that the program would be unable "to make a measurable dent in our nation's maintenance backlog."

"What we ultimately need is companies, and citizens, to tell Congress and their local elected leaders they want to see improvements and are willing to pay for them," Swallow said.

Domino's isn't taking any stance on specific legislation.

"We don't necessarily have a position as a brand, but it definitely seems potholes are something people feel pretty passionately about," Fouracre said.

As for the cities that have already been helped by Domino's, it is "a unique way" for a private business to help tackle an ongoing problem, said Mark Whitfield, the public works director for the city of Milford, Delaware.

"It has enabled us to stretch our pothole dollars and do 'more with less,'" Whitfield said.

At the end of the day, connecting with consumers is what Domino's plan is all about.

"Every consumer/customer can relate to potholes, especially in the north where snow and plowing erode the surfaces more aggressively," said Darren Tristano, CEO of CHD-Expert, a food marketing research firm, in an email to CNBC. "The program dovetails nicely into their pizza insurance promotion and continues to put the chain top-of-mind with consumers for being active, caring and taking some social responsibility."