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Wake Forest Students Cover Downtown Winston-Salem

Domino’s Pizza by the Slice in Downtown

Amongst the thriving, up-and-coming businesses along 4th Street sits a Winston-Salem staple—Domino’s, which is unique in that it serves pizza by slice.

This particular Domino’s opened last New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2016, on 4th Street between N. Spring Street and Poplar Street.

“I know slices work in the right environment, and it sorta worked here, it hasn’t not worked, but it also hasn’t been amazing,” said Sean Heaney, franchise owner. “The majority of our business is still late night or dinner options.”

Heaney owns all five Winston-Salem Domino’s and an additional store in Wallburg, Wallburg is a town just south of Winston-Salem. The decision to sell pizza by the slice was Heaney’s.

“It is something I knew would work, and other people were saying, ‘well just open the store don’t do slices,’ but I wanted to do slices,” said Heaney.

That decision puts him in the 1 percent of Domino’s worldwide that sell pizza by the slice. For Heaney, a variety of factors came into deciding why selling pizza by the slice in downtown Winston-Salem would be successful. It would provide lower cost lunch options for people working in downtown and with new downtown development, it is becoming a place where people can walk, like in larger cities, and come to purchase pizza by the slice.

“Slices work if you can sell a decent amount of them and you can drive people to come in and buy them. Also I really want to have a low-cost option for people to come in and have lunch here,” said Heaney. “The super slice is a big huge hunk of pizza and a drink for less than five bucks, so if you work downtown, there are a lot of nice restaurants downtown but do you want to spend $25 on lunch every day?”

He continued by saying, “The rich people can afford to eat at the nice restaurants downtown, but if you’re young just out of college starting off, working, you need affordable options—we wanted to be an affordable great option downtown.

Thus far, selling pizza by the slice has been relatively successful. “About 30 people daily will come here to get a slice of pizza, on average,” said Domino’s worker, Nasa Wilson.

This was not the first time Winston-Salem has had pizza by the slice by Domino’s. Fifteen years ago, Domino’s started selling pizza by the slice at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, and upon closing that Domino’s, Heaney figured he could sell slices somewhere else.

“Corporate is fine with us doing it; they know we know what we are doing. It has to be the right market though, in downtown, people are walking around, going on lunch breaks,” said Heaney.

“Some stores that have heavier foot traffic, such as campus stores or stores in big cities, do choose to sell pizza by the slice because they have higher walk-in levels,” said Domino’s director of public relations, Jenny Fouracre.

“Our business model is primarily pizza delivery, with some carry out business as well. Delivering a slice of pizza only doesn’t really work with our model,” Fouracre said.

Fouracre declined to say whether selling the pizza by the slice is a model Domino’s plans to expand.

Heaney also wanted to end the rumor that his Domino’s sells alcohol.

“No, no, Domino’s does not sell alcohol. I believe someone put it in a news article here, and the Foothill’s guy next door was like ‘Hey, you never told me about that!’ But no we are not doing alcohol,” said Heaney. “They sell alcohol at Wake Forest football and basketball games now, so we even have to make sure none of our stands there sell alcohol. We don’t associate the brand with that, that’s not our business.”

Another unique function, is the pick-up window option in the alleyway just to the right of Domino’s where Bookmarks bookstore is located.

 The pick-up window unique to 4th St. location

The pick-up window unique to 4th St. location

“In this store, we tried to do something different. We have a pickup window here on the side so you can go to the pickup window until two in the morning,” said Heaney.

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