The owner of a chain of Domino’s franchises – including the Newton Aycliffe outlet – has been praised after committing to deliver 300 free pizzas a day to health workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Mike Racz, owner of the Wynyard-based Racz Group, says his Domino’s stores across the region will supply pizzas to hospitals, district nurses and more for as long as teams are out fighting the virus.
Mike’s 29 Domino’s franchises include the Aycliffe branch, as well as two in Middlesbrough plus more in Stockton, Wolviston, Hartlepool and Redcar.
“This feels like the right thing to do,” said Mike. “The Government recognises the small but important role food delivery companies can play in supporting community morale and helping people stay at home.
“We fully appreciate the responsibility that comes with remaining open and we take it seriously. We’ve implemented a number of precautionary measures, such as contactless, cashless delivery to ensure our people and our customers are as safe as possible at all times.
“Recognising the critical role health and other key workers are playing to keep people safe and the country going is something I feel very strongly about.
“I have a friend who is a nurse who is working 70-plus hours a week so that hardly gives her time to come home and cook meals. So we want to ensure there’s a great meal available for health workers, as a small but heartfelt thank you.
“As long as there’s a need and as long as I’m able to, I’ll keep the supplies coming.”
The firm has given all Domino’s staff a pay rise and is on a recruitment drive to cope with the sudden increase in orders from those unable to go out during the coronavirus lockdown.
The firm has already hired over 130 new staff for its Teesside stores and plans to recruit 200 more.
“Working in a takeaway has become harder and more demanding over the past couple of weeks,” said Mike. “So their pay rise, as well as a free pizza each day, is a small ‘Thank you’ in recognition of what they are doing.
“Naturally, the safety of my staff is an absolute priority and we’re carefully following public health guidelines on social distancing wherever possible.”
Sedgefield MP Paul Howell praised Racz Group’s move, saying: “This is an example of a business doing the right thing by both its employees and customers.
“It’s also a great gesture towards people on the front line, so I applaud Mike and his team. It’s great to give publicity to a business getting it right, and hopefully others will follow his lead.”
As well as 29 Domino’s franchises, Racz Group also owns 15 Costa Coffee shops and 18 Anytime Fitness gyms, all of which have closed in line with government measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The group employs more than 1,000 people in total, and turns over £35m a year.
Mike is the cover star in the latest issue of Tees Business, Aycliffe Business’s sister publication, which can be read by clicking here.