Domino’s Pizza Founder Tom Monaghan

Topics: CompanyPizza

Domino’s might be your favorite place for pizza cravings. If you are extra curious, you might want to know about the founder of this amazing pizza place.

Pizza is one of the favorite foods of people across the world. The owner of one of the finest shops of pizza is Tom Monaghan. He is the founder of Domino’s Pizza. From a small commencement, the business expanded rapidly and today is one of the popular chain shops around the world.

The struggling life of Tom transformed from his little venture. At present, he is one of the activists in America who established several other foundations.

Childhood and Early Life

Thomas Stephen Monaghan was born on 25 March 1937 in Michigan. His father died when he was four years old. He and his brother were sent to an orphanage, as this mother had difficulties in raising them. The orphanage was run by a group of nuns, the Felician Sisters. One of the nuns in the orphanage inspired his devotion to the Catholic faith.

He then entered St. Joseph’s Seminary, in Grand Rapids, to become a priest. He failed to become a priest for not having the necessary discipline. After some years, Tom’s mother brought them back from the orphanage and raised on her own. She worked as a nurse at Munson Hospital.

As a boy, Tom went to St. Francis High School in Traverse City. However, he was difficult to manage as a kid and was sent to a juvenile detention home.

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He was later released and taken into custody by his uncle and aunt. He finished high school from St. Thomas High School in Ann Arbor. Due to poor grades and lack of money he was unable to attend college. So, he enrolled in an architectural trade school and worked at odd jobs to pay his tuition. At one point he also had the desire to join the army for admitting to college in the hope of getting free tuition. But he mistakenly joined the Marines and later left it. Later, he intended to enroll at the University of Michigan in 1959 but was diagnosed with an eardrum infection. Also, he couldn’t afford to buy textbooks. He tried again to admit but dropped out after only three weeks.

Monaghan provided financial support to his family by becoming a small businessman. He grew vegetables outside his house and sold those, and also caught fish from Lake Michigan to sell them. He also sold the Traverse City Record-Eagle in front of Miliken’s Department Store in the center of town.

Establishment of Domino’s Pizza

Tom didn’t have a steady start of his business. He came to Michigan and admitted to the University of Michigan to study architecture. He and his brother borrowed some money to open a small pizza place called DomiNick’s. The business was intended to gain money for tuition, but he faced more expenditure than gains. The shop later changed to Domino’s pizza. Tom gave three more stores and left out sub sandwiches from the menu. He was dedicated to making the best pizza in the world, with the best sauce, the highest quality toppings, the freshest dough, and the most expensive flour and cheese. He focused on providing pizza in insulated boxes that didn’t crush out pizzas while keeping them warm. He traded his brother a Volkswagen for his share of the business. The business was based on the franchising system, and about three consecutive franchises grew every day by the mid-1980s. Tom managed to get rid of his losses by providing catering service before the pizza shop grew. The delivery system of pizzas was fast and it grabbed the attention of more customers, which later led to the establishment of several stores in the USA.

Other Activities

The expansion of Domino’s Pizza continued and has spread all over the world. After a long time of ownership, Tom sold Domino’s Pizza to Bain Capital. In 2011, he established a new restaurant known as Gyrene Burger Company. The service was based on the military-themed burger delivery concept based on the days he spent in the Marines.

He also bought the baseball team the Detroit Tigers in 1983 which won the World Series during his ownership. Later sold them to Mike Ilitch. As per activities in politics, he is a Republican. From his interest in architecture, Tom possessed a massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture and artifacts. Other than his possessions and ownerships, Tom has philanthropic contributions.

Tom was a Roman Catholic and devoted his later life to building several Catholic organizations and institutions. In 1983 he established the Mater Christi Foundation, also known as the Ave Maria Foundation, to focus on Catholic education, media, community projects, and other charities. He also helped form and promote Legatus, an organization for Catholic CEOs of companies. He became the first Catholic radio apostle in America and is also a member of the Opus Dei. Donations were given by him to Priests for Life which is a Roman Catholic anti-abortion organization. Tom is also known to achieve knighthood of magistral grace in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Regular Life

Tom lived in lavishness from the huge wealth he gained from his pizza business. But in 1992, a Catholic reawakening leads him to change his lifestyles. He stopped the construction of his huge house, which was stored with his architectural collections. All these were sold, along with many of his valued cars. The money he had then was used for the funds for his Catholic organizations. But when Domino’s began to drop its profits, he returned to the food business, after leaving his leadership in Ave Maria foundations. He linked his faith and politics in the hope to bring religion to the public. He focused on growing the Ave Maria Town which now has several educational institutions, organizations and also churches. It is now one of the fastest-growing communities in Florida. In his leisure, he wrote books on his business and Domino’s.

The luxury and wealth that came to Tom were the results of his efforts. Even after all the struggles, he was able to overcome them from his skills and devotions. He thought about providing the finest pizza for his people. He had thoughts of making innovations at a very commonplace that was the greatest idea behind his success. Apart from the success of Domino, today he is known also for his various activities.

Cite this page

Domino’s Pizza Founder Tom Monaghan. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from

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