ROME — It seems that Italians don’t essentially like pineapple on their pizza, in any case. Or at the least not sufficient to maintain practically three dozen Domino’s Pizza franchises afloat.
Final month, the Italian shops of the American pizza conglomerate extinguished their pizza ovens, unable to win over choosy palates within the place the place pizza was invented.
Although the corporate’s Italian web site remained dwell, shops in Turin, Parma, Rome and elsewhere provided the identical discouraging message: “Solar. to Sat. CLOSED.” Domino’s worldwide map was extra up-to-date. It listed 90 worldwide markets, however Italy was not amongst them.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday and court docket paperwork present that Domino’s Italian franchise had “sought safety from collectors” earlier this 12 months “after working out of money and falling behind on its debt obligations.”
Bloomberg mentioned the corporate had 10.6 million euros ($10.8 million) of debt on the finish of 2020.
The closure ended an bold enterprise enterprise that had aimed to tantalize Italians trying to strive one thing new, like cheeseburger pizza or BBQ hen pizza.
Domino’s Pizza Italia opened its first outlet in Milan in 2015, by way of a franchising settlement with an area firm, ePizza.
In a authorized submitting in Milan in April, legal professionals for ePizza mentioned that the corporate had been optimistic about getting into the Italian market in 2015, “the second largest market on the earth” of pizza eaters, after the USA. On the time, too, Italy didn’t have a structured, massive scale, house supply mannequin just like the Domino’s Pizza mannequin.
Simply two years in the past, media experiences relayed the Italian firm’s plans to open 850 shops over the following decade, with the intention of claiming a 2 % stake of the nationwide pizza market.
By 2021, 34 eating places bore the Domino’s model. And a consultant for Domino’s Pizza Italia had cheered the opening of the fifth restaurant in Rome, suggesting that Italians had been open to American-style pizza. There have been Italians “who are usually not afraid of placing pineapple on a pizza,” the consultant had mentioned.
However the coronavirus pandemic modified all the pieces.
With eating places and bars closed for lengthy stretches of time throughout sundry lockdowns, many started to undertake the takeout and residential supply mannequin that Domino’s pizza had sought to dominate Italy with. The proliferation of meals supply platforms like Deliveroo, Glovo or Simply Eat “have notably elevated the competitors” for ePizza, in response to the April authorized submitting in Milan.
Representatives for ePizza and Domino’s Pizza in the USA and in Italy didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Different culinary ventures that naysayers mentioned have been doomed to fail in Italy have achieved fairly properly. When Starbucks opened its first Italian venue in 2018, many mentioned that Italians accustomed to thimble-sized espressos would snub the corporate’s maxi sizes, and its costs. However Percassi, the Italian licensee for the American firm, has since opened 18 shops all through northern and central Italy, together with a drive by.
Alessandro Lazzaroni, for 5 years the chief government of Domino’s Pizza Italia, left the corporate in December 2020 and is now chief government of Loopy Pizza, a high-end pizzeria began by the Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, a former director of the Benetton and Renault Method One racing groups. Loopy Pizza made headlines in Italy this summer time after Neapolitan pizza makers complained that the pizzas have been too costly.
And in any case, Italians are choosy about their pizza.
Stefano Auricchio, the director normal of an affiliation that protects “actual Neapolitan pizza” mentioned he was sorry to listen to that Domino’s Pizza had closed “as a result of it impoverishes the market normally,” as households have fewer choices to select from.
That mentioned, he thought that lately Italians had developed their palate for pizza and have been on the lookout for extra “artisanal merchandise” over chain manufacturers. “There’s a tendency now to acknowledge the work of the chef” and the standard of the merchandise, he mentioned.
Based on a research lately commissioned by the affiliation, Neapolitan pizza evoked ideas of “high quality, properly being and household,” notions that giant pizza chains “with their standardized merchandise” struggled to match.
“Neapolitan pizza is the mom of all pizza, even Italian pizza,” he mentioned. “It began right here.”
However meals does go on. One former Domino’s Pizza website on a busy Rome road was closed on Tuesday. However an enormous signal had been painted on the roll up door asserting the opening of a restaurant promoting piadina, a flat unleavened bread, griddled and full of numerous components, that’s well-liked in central Italy: “Coming Quickly. Gino Piada.”