Domino's closes its doors in Italy. Why hasn't the pizza chain been successful?
No more Hawaiian pizza and cheese-stuffed crust for Italians. After filing for bankruptcy, Domino's Italian franchise has ceased operations at all of its locations this summer (around 30 stores). Domino's opened in Italy in 2015 over a franchising agreement with ePizza SpA; the goal was to develop to 880 restaurants by 2030.
A seven-year bet
In a statement in 2015, when operations began, Alessandro Lazzaroni, the Italian owner of the franchise, declared: "We've created our own recipe, starting from the original pizza recipe, with Italian products, like 100 percent tomato sauce and mozzarella, and products like prosciutto di Parma, gorgonzola, grana padano and mozzarella di bufala campana." The determination, in short, was still to respect local Italian traditions. After seven years, though, the American chain failed to win the birthplace of pizza. According to the company, the cause of the closure should be attributed to the restrictions related to the pandemic. In addition, the popularity of other food delivery options - like Just Eat and Deliveroo - contributed to the failure.
A pizza option that will be missed?
When Domino's chose Italy, it met immediate backlash by Italians, especially on social media. Now its disappearance has obviously been covered by all the international press, with a massive dose of irony. As Food and Wine sharply says: "It's probably safe to say that Italians aren't exactly mourning the loss of Domino's pizza — and there's a good chance that a lot of them didn't notice that the Michigan-based chain even existed in their country". In the pages of the New York Times, Italian correspondent Elisabetta Povoledo writes: "It turns out that Italians don't necessarily like pineapple on their pizza, after all. Or at least not enough to keep nearly three dozen Domino's Pizza franchises afloat". Joseph Lamour in Today even refers (ironically) to Greek mythology: "When Daedalus gave his son Icarus finely made wax and feather wings in the popular myth, he told his son to follow his path: not too close to the sea and not too close to the sun. In his flightful glee, Icarus ignored that advice, making his mode of transportation melt by soaring too high, too fast, meeting his doom in the sea below. While this myth is set in Greece, it offers an analogy into what happened in Italy, the country next door, and the pizza chain that, like Icarus, flew much too close to the sun".
When it comes to pizza, Italians love tradition
The Domino's affair probably proves that Italians remain very traditional when it comes to pizza. According to the most recent surveys, Italians stay loyal to the classic Margherita pizza, the most popular (with fiordilatte mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella). Next, there are the Margherita variant with prosciutto cotto and mushrooms; capricciosa (with mozzarella cheese, Italian prosciutto cotto, mushroom, artichoke, and tomato); pizza with artichokes; and finally, the spicy diavola with hot salami.