Domino’s franchise owner talks pizza, business smarts

Pizza has been very good to Mary Lynne Carraway, 47, of McLean.

Carraway is majority owner and president of Domino’s Pizza Team Washington, the second-largest franchise by sales in the company’s system, with 74 stores in the Washington market and more than $70 million in annual revenue.

Washington Domino’s was founded and owned by the late entrepreneur Frank Meeks, who employed David Carraway, Mary Lynne’s husband. David Carraway took over after Meeks’s death, but only ran it a couple of years before Carraway himself died of brain cancer in February 2007.

Then Mary Lynne, a homemaker who did some modeling earlier in her career, took over.

We caught up with Carraway, who recently won another Gold Franny award for excellence from the International Franchise Association, last week while she was driving home from a business meeting.

Does the world need more pizza?

Can you imagine the world without pizza? If we didn’t have pizza, we would still have pizza. Kids can’t survive without pizza.

Neither can I. But it doesn’t help with weight control.

You eat in moderation. You don’t eat the whole pizza.

What was the hardest part of taking over the company?

Dealing with the grief and loss of my husband, taking over a major company and still raising four kids. So I was doing it all. This incredible history of Frank Meeks and David Carraway, and running this fantastic organization and keeping up that tradition, and it’s done that and even more.

What’s the busiest Domino’s out of the 74?

Rosslyn right now is one of my best, but they are all great in their own way.

What’s your busiest day?

The Super Bowl. It’s our Christmas.

What skills did you bring to the business?

That’s easy: people skills. Being genuine. I grew up in the restaurant business in central Pennsylvania. The best skills I had were hard work and valuing people and relationships.

What is your favorite Domino’s pizza?

The Pacific veggie on a thin crust. It’s just a healthy thing for me.

Do you ever try the competition?

I do try the mom and pops for the variety.

How often do you eat pizza?

As a family, we eat it once a week. It’s Friday night pizza at the Carraways. That’s been a tradition for many, many years.

How long does it take for your pizza to arrive?

Mine is quick because they know it’s coming to me.

The Buzz hears:

Cleveland Park’s Ripple is up for best wine program, pastry chef of the year (Alison Reed) and rising culinary star at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington awards, scheduled for June 23 at the Marriott Wardman Park. The foodie Oscars will include chefs, mixologists and managers from throughout the region.

Anthony Lanier’s EastBanc and Jamestown Properties have signed Calypso St. Barth, the upscale women’s apparel and luxury home furnishings retailer, to a 10-year lease at 3307 M St. NW. The 2,718-square-foot showroom space will serve as the store’s first District location and replaces the current double occupants AT&T Wireless and Salon Rafik. Look for an early spring 2014 opening.

Arlington-based Web security firm, Distil Networks, has been invited to Nashville June 12 and 13 to attend the first Southland conference for technology start-ups in need of money, talent and, well, media coverage. The 10-employee Distil opened in April 2012 and bootstrapped with $50,000 from its founders, raised another $700,000 from Cloud Fund Partners, Herndon-based CIT Gap Fund, Idea Fund Partners and Techstars.

The three co-founders are chief executive Rami Essaid, Chief Technology Officer Engin Akyol and Chief Scientist Andrew Stein.

Washington’s Fortify Ventures and its managing director, Jonathan Perrelli, will be speaking at the event.

Carlyle watch

Not everything at the Carlyle Group is about making money. Co-founder David M. Rubenstein is giving more away on Tuesday, when he announces the 47 seniors from the District’s public and public charter schools who will get college scholarships, courtesy of Rubenstein and the Economic Club of Washington, where he is president. Rubenstein prefers to focus a big chunk of his philanthropy on creating opportunities for self-starters, so he is awarding $10,000 toward the seniors’ college tuition.

Half of the winners rank in the top 10 percent of their class, and 11 ranked fifth or higher.

Twelve of the 47 students plan to major in biochemistry, nursing, biomedical engineering or the related fields of kinesiology and fitness training. The second most-popular concentration will be business professions, which should make Rubenstein and the Economic Club patrons breathe easier.

The students are headed to the likes of Georgetown, George Mason, Trinity, American, University of the District of Columbia and the Corcoran College of Art and Design locally. Others include the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Morehouse, Spelman, Furman, Oberlin and Clemson.

Factoid of the week

120,000

That’s the average number of health care claims that Capture Billing & Consulting, a medical billing company in the Dulles area, files each year for physicians it services. The company provides billing services to medical practices in the Washington area. The business is expected to double in the next year because of the new health care laws, according to chief executive Manny Oliverez.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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