Italy is famous for many things--fashion, history, culture--but for most of us, the first thing we think of when we hear "Italy" is its long and cherished tradition of delicious food, especially that most beloved Italian staple the pizza.
So why on Earth Domino's Pizza thought its "I'm broke and in a hurry, this'll do" take on pizza would go over well in the fiercely proud country that invented the dish is something of a mystery.
But they did it anyway, borrowing tons of money to launch their fast-food take on pizza in its birthplace back in 2015. And in a twist pretty much anyone could have seen coming, the initiative did not succeed--all 29 Italian Domino's have now closed.
Domino's opened its first few locations in the city of Milan in 2015, adding 28 more in the intervening years with plans to open a whopping 880 more locations in the future.
But it was not meant to be, as Italians stayed away in droves.
The company opened the Italian stores in partnership with Italian restaurant company ePizza SpA.
In a recent report to investors, the company blame the COVID-19 pandemic and Italy's strict lockdown rules during its worst surges for the failure of Domino's in the country. The company said:
"The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent and prolonged restrictions from a financial point of view have seriously damaged ePizza."
That may seem counterintuitive, given that the pandemic made food delivery orders soar. But ePizza SpA says the advent of nearly every restaurant pivoting to delivery, followed by the surge in dining out again, also made it impossible for them to compete.
“We attribute the issue to the significantly increased level of competition in the food delivery market with both organized chains and ‘mom & pop’ restaurants delivering food, [and] to service and restaurants reopening post pandemic and consumers out and about with revenge spending."
Maybe. But it's also... Domino's, in the ancestral home of pizza, of course. And on Twitter, people felt like the failure was a no-brainer--and they couldn't help but be happy about it.
What's next, Taco Bell in Mexico? Oops, turns out they've already made the attempt--to very little enthusiasm.
Can't blame a chain for trying, right?