Domino's (NYSE:DPZ) delivered results to shareholders today, with higher fourth-quarter earnings and an increase to its dividend. Despite the fact that Domino's is one of the names many of us turn to when we want to order in, investors might wonder whether this hot pizza has rising-crust growth potential.

Fourth-quarter earnings at Domino's increased 27% to $0.38 per diluted share, or $27 million. Sales increased 11% to $478.5 million, with domestic same-store sales decreasing 0.2%. An extra week in the quarter boosted earnings by $0.04. Going forward, the company stuck by its previous expectation that net income will increase by 11% to 13% in 2005.

On a brighter note, though, Domino's increased its annual dividend by 54%, touting its $87.7 million in free cash flow and its ability to return cash to shareholders. Regardless, it's hard to ignore the daunting $755.4 million in long-term debt that's evident in its balance sheet.

Given a lackluster expectation for the rest of the year, investors bidding Domino's shares up by more than 3% in recent trading seems a bit much. Although the dividend definitely sweetens the deal, its sluggish same-store sales figure may make some wonder whether pizza rivals such as Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) and Yum! Brands' (NYSE:YUM) Pizza Hut might be winning over Domino's.

Given such concerns, maybe investors should wait for Domino's to deliver some better numbers before grabbing a slice of this pie.

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Mathew Emmert seeks out great opportunities in dividend-paying stocks in Motley Fool Income Investor . Try it for free.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.