Irish Examiner view: Domino's effect fails to take off in Italy

American multinational finds it difficult to nab a slice of the market in the ancestral home of pizza
Irish Examiner view: Domino's effect fails to take off in Italy

Having opened stores in Milan, Turin, Bologna, Parma, and Rome since 2015, Domino's Pizza failed to win over Italians. File picture

One would have thought that the concept of “bringing coals to Newcastle” might have crept into the collective minds of Domino’s Pizza management when they came up with the idea of franchising their operation throughout Italy, the home of the revered food.

The US fast-food giant had an ambitious, if foolhardy, plan to open some 880 outlets across Italy by 2030, but has now been forced to flee the market. 

It soon learned that, while pizza topped with pineapple might go down well in other places, it was never going to wow the Italians.  

The Domino’s mission to overwhelm the home of the pizza was a bold one but, despite its best efforts, it only managed to open 29 outlets — all of which have now closed.

Licking its wounds rather than any of its own product, the company has admitted that timing might have been a factor in the rejection by Italians of this imported imposter. 

It did manage to open stores in Milan in 2015, followed by Turin, Bologna, Parma, and Rome, but the business was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced traditional pizzerias to start their own delivery services.

The company failed to make a breakthrough, however, in the home of pizza – Naples, where pizza margherita was created and is so revered it won a spot on the Unesco “intangible heritage” list.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Domino’s in the Italian market. This was reflected by one tweeter after the company’s closure was confirmed: “Domino’s pizza goes bankrupt in Italy. Didn’t even know it had opened up shop.”

“Dio ama un treviri,” as the Neapolitans might say.

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