Who would have guessed that denizens of Italy, where pizza is an internationally recognized national treasure, wouldn’t have gone crazy for mass-produced, over-the-top American riffs on the country’s national dish offered by a multinational chain?
Someone probably should have. Domino’s will no longer be offering its specialty cheeseburger, Hawaiian and bacon-and-chicken-topped pizzas, after the company running the Italian franchises shuttered all of its locations, according to a Bloomberg News report. The company blamed reduced demand on consumers’ preference for delivery from mom-and-pop shops and for restaurants reopening after pandemic shutdowns.
Tweets included: “Omg can u imagine anyone other than drunk American tourists ordering dominos in Italy?” and “Trying to open Dominos Pizza in Italy is like trying to sell snow in the North Pole.” Others noted that pizza from local shops is often cheaper than at Domino’s.
The snark was rampant across the Atlantic, too. A Monday headline in the Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero concluded that “Italians don’t like pineapple pizza: Domino’s is shuttering all pizzerias in the country.” The article mentioned the chain’s American-style menu items such as “Pepperoni Passion” and the “Hawaiana,” noting that such fanciful concoctions had failed to impress purists. “These products would turn up the nose of traditional pizza lovers, while intriguing xenophiles,” it wrote.
I am far, far, far from a pizza purist and I will stake my claim that the west coast innovations in the last 30 years or so is what truly transformed pizza in the U.S. until the day I die, but the key to good pizza is quality. And that’s the one thing Domino’s doesn’t have.
I wrote the title of this post without actually looking to see if Taco Bell tried to expand into Mexico. I shouldn’t have been surprised that it had and with predictable results.