ROME — It seems that Italians don’t essentially like pineapple on their pizza, in the end. Or a minimum of no longer sufficient to stay just about 3 dozen Domino’s Pizza franchises afloat.
Last month, the Italian retailers of the American pizza conglomerate extinguished their pizza ovens, not able to win over choosy palates within the position the place pizza was once invented.
Though the corporate’s Italian web site remained reside, retailers in Turin, Parma, Rome and in different places introduced the similar discouraging message: “Sun. to Sat. CLOSED.” Domino’s global map was once extra up-to-date. It indexed 90 global markets, however Italy was once no longer amongst them.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday and courtroom paperwork display that Domino’s Italian franchise had “sought protection from creditors” previous this yr “after running out of cash and falling behind on its debt obligations.”
Bloomberg stated the corporate had 10.6 million euros ($10.8 million) of debt on the finish of 2020.
The closure ended an bold trade mission that had aimed to tantalize Italians taking a look to take a look at one thing new, like cheeseburger pizza or BBQ hen pizza.
Domino’s Pizza Italia opened its first outlet in Milan in 2015, by means of a franchising settlement with an area corporate, ePizza.
In a criminal submitting in Milan in April, legal professionals for ePizza stated that the corporate have been positive about coming into the Italian marketplace in 2015, “the second largest market in the world” of pizza eaters, after the United States. At the time, too, Italy didn’t have a structured, huge scale, house supply type just like the Domino’s Pizza type.
Just two years in the past, media studies relayed the Italian corporate’s plans to open 850 shops over the following decade, with the purpose of saying a 2 p.c stake of the nationwide pizza marketplace.
By 2021, 34 eating places bore the Domino’s emblem. And a consultant for Domino’s Pizza Italia had cheered the hole of the 5th eating place in Rome, suggesting that Italians have been open to American-style pizza. There have been Italians “who are not afraid of putting pineapple on a pizza,” the consultant had stated.
But the coronavirus pandemic modified the entirety.
With eating places and bars closed for lengthy stretches of time all through sundry lockdowns, many started to undertake the takeout and residential supply type that Domino’s pizza had sought to dominate Italy with. The proliferation of meals supply platforms like Deliveroo, Glovo or Just Eat “have notably increased the competition” for ePizza, consistent with the April criminal submitting in Milan.
Representatives for ePizza and Domino’s Pizza within the United States and in Italy didn’t straight away reply to requests for remark.
Other culinary ventures that naysayers stated have been doomed to fail in Italy have accomplished somewhat smartly. When Starbucks opened its first Italian venue in 2018, many stated that Italians familiar with thimble-sized espressos would snub the corporate’s maxi sizes, and its costs. But Percassi, the Italian licensee for the American corporate, has since opened 18 shops during northern and central Italy, together with a force thru.
Alessandro Lazzaroni, for 5 years the executive govt of Domino’s Pizza Italia, left the corporate in December 2020 and is now leader govt of Crazy Pizza, a high-end pizzeria began by means of the Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, a former director of the Benetton and Renault Formula One racing groups. Crazy Pizza made headlines in Italy this summer season after Neapolitan pizza makers complained that the pizzas have been too dear.
And in the end, Italians are choosy about their pizza.
Stefano Auricchio, the director normal of an affiliation that protects “real Neapolitan pizza” stated he was once sorry to listen to that Domino’s Pizza had closed “because it impoverishes the market in general,” as households have fewer choices to make a choice from.
That stated, he idea that lately Italians had advanced their palate for pizza and have been on the lookout for extra “artisanal products” over chain manufacturers. “There is a tendency now to recognize the work of the chef” and the standard of the goods, he stated.
According to a find out about not too long ago commissioned by means of the affiliation, Neapolitan pizza evoked ideas of “quality, well being and family,” notions that giant pizza chains “with their standardized products” struggled to compare.
“Neapolitan pizza is the mother of all pizza, even Italian pizza,” he stated. “It all started here.”
But meals does cross on. One former Domino’s Pizza website online on a hectic Rome boulevard was once closed on Tuesday. But a large signal have been painted at the roll up door saying the hole of a cafe promoting piadina, a flat unleavened bread, griddled and filled with more than a few components, this is well-liked in central Italy: “Coming Soon. Gino Piada.”