Domino's Turns Chicken Nuggets Into Pizza Crust

Not even the company seems to think this is the best idea.

(Photo: Domino's/Facebook)

Apr 15, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Continuing fast food’s seemingly endless quest to satisfy a nation that it apparently thinks suffers from a perpetual case of the munchies, Domino’s has launched a new “it sounds so terrible you just gotta try it, right?” menu item: chicken nuggets as pizza crust.

That’s right—forget boring pizza dough. Instead, substitute 12 bite-size pieces of lightly breaded chicken breast slathered with traditional pizza toppings and sauce. You can take your pick from Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo, and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

Even with the magic of professional food photography, these things look like a kitchen accident. Don't worry about the five-second rule here: No one’s ever going to know you dropped it on the floor.

Strangely, Domino’s seems to be admitting as much.

This is an era when fast-food menu items are launched with the kind of marketing hype and precision that used to be reserved for Hollywood blockbusters. So it seems to reveal something about the confidence Domino’s has in its newest offering that its ad campaign is based on the premise that the tricked-out chicken nuggets may be one big, cheesy, sauce-smeared mistake.

I mean, the debut TV spot opens with a banner proclaiming, “Failure is an option.”

The whole thing is supposed to be a play on the notion that genius inventions only come about after a lot of trial and error. As one geeky character actor in a Domino’s chef’s getup says, “If we gave up after every mistake, we wouldn’t come up with something new like our Specialty Chicken.”

Never mind that “new” is just shy of “interesting” in the category of ambiguous adjectives—the kind of endorsement people give when they have to say something that at least sounds nice. What about "Specialty Chicken?" Seriously, no one in the entire marketing department could come up with a catchier name?

The chain tried “Pizza Chicken,” but “nobody knew what that was,” Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle tells USA Today.

Well, “Specialty Chicken” solves that problem.

Behind the scenes, the “innovation” that went into this concoction that looks like something a tableful of nine-year-old boys might come up with if left to their own devices appears just as prosaic. According to USA Today, the chain was looking to add more chicken to its mix, along with the wings it already sells, and it decided to throw ingredients on top that its stores have on hand—kind of like McDonald’s did when it replaced its fancy Angus burgers with what are essentially souped-up Quarter Pounders.

Of course, every fast-food chain wants to come up with the next junk food hybrid that might rival Taco Bell’s now-legendary Doritos Locos Tacos. But the industry’s history is littered with more misses than hits. Remember when Wendy’s tried to take on Subway with its Frescata sandwiches in 2006? Or when Burger King tried its hand at tacos? Or when McDonald’s launched McPizza?

No? See, that’s what I’m talking about.