Flying Pizzas and Other Modern Wonders

Last month in the skies over Guilford, England, just to the southwest of London, observant Britishers might have spotted a strange airborne object.  Was it a bird?  A plane? 

No, actually, it was a flying pizza.

T + Biscuits, an English creative agency based in Shoreditch, was hired by Domino’s Pizza to test the “DomiCopter”, a prototype of a delivery drone designed to deliver pizzas by air, avoiding potential traffic tie-ups on the road below.  The name “DomiCopter” is reported to have beat out other contenders including “Pepperdroney” and “Flying Hawaiian” (named after a pineapple pizza).

Apparently, the experimental craft worked.  The custom-built drone copter flew ten minutes through the city of Guilford with its precious cargo:  two pepperoni pizzas.

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Self-Disclosure:  I worked for some seven years at the world headquarters of Domino’s Pizza, serving various Catholic ministries founded and funded by Tom Monaghan. During that time, I saw a lot of innovation:  The on-site pizza store was just a quick walk past the cafeteria, named the EBA (for neophytes, that stands for “Everything But Anchovies”).  There we could order some of the company’s favorite pizza slices or, on special occasions, something unusual; on the day after Thanksgiving, for example, the in-house fare included pizza topped with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, with a scoop of cranberry sauce on the side.

Across the hall from the office was the old Domino’s test kitchen; and there, once or twice a week the staff could sign up to taste ne’er-before-seen recipes for pizza slices, cheesy bread, and other culinary treats.

Ah, but that was then; since that time, Tom Monaghan sold the majority share in the pizza company he’d founded in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and used the proceeds of the sale to finance the newly opened Ave Maria University, Ave Maria School of Law and other Catholic ministries.  “I want to die broke,” read the Detroit Free Press headline that told the story of the big sale; and indeed, Tom had retained only a fraction of what he had once owned—some 7% of the pizza company, at least at that time, as well as the Domino’s Farms complex he’d built in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright.

In all my years commuting to my office in Ann Arbor’s Domino’s Farms, though, I never saw a flying pizza. 

And you’re not likely to see one, either:  The T + Biscuits company reports that this was only a test, and there are no plans at this time to market “speedy delivery” via DomiCopter.


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