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We Tried It: Domino's Pizza Fried Chicken Crust

Tanaya Ghosh |
April 17, 2014 | 8:52 a.m. PDT

Food Writer

The newest campaign from Domino's claims that "failure is an option." (Domino's Facebook)
The newest campaign from Domino's claims that "failure is an option." (Domino's Facebook)
Domino's Pizza has decided to go out on a limb and replace its revamped pizza crust with ... fried chicken.

According to Domino's, its new pizza-esque concoction is called "Specialty Chicken." For this new item, the pizza chain completely replaces its dough-based crust with 12 bites of breaded, "100 percent whole breast white meat chicken." These chicken nugget-like pieces are then topped with sauce, cheese and other toppings. The "Specialty Chicken" currently comes in four flavors: "Classic Hot Buffalo," "Crispy Bacon & Tomato," "Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple," and "Sweet BBQ Bacon."

In the campaign to promote its first new menu item since the Handmade Pan Pizza, Domino's has gone with the mantra that "failure is an option."

"We are proud to be known as a pizza company, but 'Specialty Chicken' shows we are not afraid to step out of our comfort zone and take risks – something that is truly part of our brand fabric," said Russell Weiner, Domino's Pizza chief marketing officer. "Not every risk we have taken has turned out to be successful, but as a brand we have learned that sometimes you have to fail in order to be great."

In the spirit of reporting, we took it upon ourselves to taste the "Specialty Chicken." We gave the "Classic Hot Buffalo" and the "Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple" a try for $5.99 each, with the current "deal" Domino's offers. Upon delivery (and an extra $3.50 charge for it), we sadly discovered that the "Specialty Chickens" were less than half the size of the photos in the Domino's ads (about the size of a woman's hand).

The Buffalo Chicken Specialty Chicken in real life (Tanaya Ghosh)
The Buffalo Chicken Specialty Chicken in real life (Tanaya Ghosh)
We found the "Buffalo Chicken" to be tangy and flavorful, but the "Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple" was unfortunately lackluster in spiciness and flavor, besides being overly sweet from the sauce. Both items had a thick chicken-tender-like breading over the 1-inch pieces of chicken, and both had so much sauce that they were messy to eat by hand, thus making it much less convenient as a party food than a pizza. Despite the relatively small portions for the price, the sheer amount of calories and fat in the thing allowed for a somewhat filling and food coma-inducing meal.

Another minor letdown to cap off the day's foray into fast food concoctions: Domino's no longer hands out little packets of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes to go with your pizza. You now must order these flavor enhancers ahead of time, with an additional charge of $1.25 for each item. Both are then handed over to you in tiny, wasteful plastic packaging that will only be disposed of after a few shakes.

The Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple Specialty Chicken (Tanaya Ghosh)
The Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple Specialty Chicken (Tanaya Ghosh)
We actually gave Domino's a rare try to taste something new and seemingly exciting, but what we got instead were a few small disappointments along the way that deviated from expectation. Bottom line: if you're curious, the "Specialty Chicken" is worth a try. Just go in with an open mind, and maybe some antacids.

Boneless chicken sales have increased over the past years for the pizza chain, and the new item is clearly another way that Domino's is looking to capitalize on that trend. Creative chicken campaigns are indeed trending in the fast food world. KFC is even selling a limited number of "chicken corsages" for prom this year. What has the world come to?

Although the Domino's fried-chicken-crust pizza may seem a bit odd here in the States, it's really nothing to balk at compared to Pizza Hut's international pizza creations. Take the Shrimp & Mayo Roll Stuffed Crust Pizza in Japan, for instance.

Perhaps those who are looking to up their protein intake and decrease bread-like carbs in their diet will be inclined to indulge in this poultry-crusted, pizza-like creation every once in a while. Have you tried it yet? What are your thoughts?

Reach Tanaya Ghosh here. For more food finds, follow the Tanaya's Table blog, which is launching soon. Follow along on Twitter for updates.



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