You’ll hate most things about Domino’s gluten free pizza, except the pizza.
The single most appealing thing about Domino’s is that it rates very highly with the Normal Kid Factor. This is a term I use to describe every food privilege you would never know to appreciate unless you had been stripped of it as a child. The Normal Kid Factor includes things like sitting on your couch on a Friday night and having a pizza, however subpar, delivered to your door. Believe me, this is a huge luxury.
While I do feel forever indebted to Domino’s for giving me this small joy, I have no short list of complaints with the menu and pricing system. Allow me to take you through the online ordering process.
The first thing that you’ll notice is that Domino’s only offers a gluten-free crust as a 10” pie while the regular pizza comes in 10”, 12”, 14”, or 16” and many different varieties. If they’re only going to offer one gluten free size, at least make it a little more sizeable. Who would ever order a small pizza from a delivery place? Someone on a diet? Yeah, right, that’s why they’re at Domino’s. The whole point of ordering take-out is to share. Even if you are more health-conscious or have a smaller appetite, you’re still probably looking to order for more than just yourself, or for more than just one sitting. A small just isn’t going to cut it.
Click for the 10” gluten free crust and a disclaimer appears, reminding you that Domino’s cannot ensure an actually gluten free finished product even though they try their best to reduce cross contamination. If you click “Got it, thanks!” the disclaimer goes away. It’s a very reasonable and well thought out reminder, especially for those of us who really care about the difference between food that contains no gluten and food that has never met a single particle of gluten.
As it turns out, Domino’s really did their homework: they have an entire FAQ page on their website about it. They even provide a definition of this elusive protein, presumably for the strictly gluten free folks who secretly want to quiz them on their competency, and for the fad dieters who probably didn’t even know what gluten was when they decided to avoid it like the plague. Anyway, it is surprisingly rare, even nowadays, for people in the food industry to know exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to gluten, so I appreciate their effort here.
Domino’s, you may have gained back half a point with that one, but be careful not to gloat too soon. We haven’t even begun to discuss the absurdity of your pricing.
For the purpose of comparison, I have ordered two perfectly comparable pizzas: a 10” plain gluten free and a 10” plain regular. The gluten free is $10.49 and the regular is $7.49. Okay, so I’m paying $3 more than my friend – not great, but not an unheard of fee.
But wait! Upgrade the regular pizza to a 12” for $-.50 more? Sure, why not! Now my friend’s pizza is a full size bigger and fifty cents cheaper than when it matched mine. This is starting to make less sense.
To make matters worse, the website offers a coupon right under the Checkout button that gives my friend a special deal if he buys a second 12” regular pizza and puts two toppings on each of them. This sounds like a great deal, but now look at the bill. I have a single 10” plain gluten free pizza, my friend has not just one but two 12” pizzas with mushrooms and black olives, and he’s only paying $1 more than I am. Then Domino’s has the gall to write, “You saved $7.50!” next to our total amount. Who saved $7.50 here?
There are no deals that include gluten free pizza. This means that if you eat gluten free and you’re with friends who don’t, nobody gets a deal, and it’s pretty much your fault. A medium plus a gluten free doesn’t cut anybody a break, while a medium plus a medium is a bargain, etc. Even if you are one of many gluten free eaters, you basically each have to pay top dollar to awkwardly eat an entire pizza by yourself. This top dollar, by the way, buys you the Normal Kid Factor and nothing else. Because there is a plethora of regular options and only one gluten free option, your friends get to choose what they want to eat for dinner; you get to choose between “dinner” and “no dinner”.
The biggest problem with this whole set up is that the end result is a really terrific pizza. The thin gluten free crust gives you the distinct sensation that this whole thing has been deep fat fried: the very outside of the crust offers a satisfying crackle that immediately gives way to a properly chewy and bite-able piece of toast.
The delectability of the Domino’s gluten free pizza comes not just from the grease but from the ingredients themselves. You can skim over the ingredients list on the FAQ page and see that some of the top dry ingredients are both starches and flours. This immediately gives you a hint that the crust will have a nice texture. Most good gluten free flour mixtures are made up of 50% flour and 50% several kinds of starches. If you don’t see starch high up on the ingredients list, you better start to warm up your jaw.
With all the grease included, this is probably not something you’d want to record on your MyFitnessPal app, but it’s a pretty tasty pizza nonetheless. You might still have complaints about the skimpiness of the cheese or the meager toppings, but at least those issues are pan-Domino’s.
Domino’s is on the right path but they sure have a lot of work to do. Luckily they’re starting off with a pretty decent gluten free crust, so now all they’ve got to do is crunch some serious numbers. Can they finagle a way to lower the price of their product when demand is high and competition is low?
In the mean time, try it out for yourself. Maybe the Normal Kid Factor will be too much for you, too!