American Pizza Fails in Italy


Don’t try selling American-style pizza to Italians. That’s the lesson Domino’s is now learning after the last store in Italy has closed. Surprisingly, the American chain just couldn’t keep up with the country where pizza was born.

Domino’s originally opened in Italy in 2015 and grew to 29 locations in the country. The company planned on focusing on its delivery to differentiate itself from its competitors. They hoped that Italians would appreciate having the delivery option since there weren’t many restaurants that catered to those not wanting to leave the house.

“There’s a lot of pizza, but there’s not a lot of delivered pizza. So there may still be an opportunity.” former Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle said.

On top of the convenience, Domino’s went for combining the brand’s American palate for pizza, combined with its adherence to Italian pie-making tradition as its second selling point in the country.

“We will be using a recipe created by us, using locally-sourced wheat. Everything else is purely Italian. We are purchasing all of our products from Italian producers. We’ve created our own recipe, starting for 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,” Alessandro Lazzaroni said when Domino’s opened its first location in Milan.

Of course, the Domino’s Italy menu featured American-flavored favorites, including the cheeseburger pizza, BBQ chicken pizza and Hawaiian pizza. The company was hoping to open a whopping 850 Domino’s locations in Italy by 2030.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Competitors soon began offering delivery to their customers in order to keep their businesses afloat. ePizza SpA, the Italian company that held the master franchise rights to run Domino’s in Italy, blamed the closures on an “increased level of competition in the food delivery market.” Competitors taking a bigger piece of the delivery pie was just one of the reasons the American pizza failed in Italy.


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