But the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
With restaurants and bars closed for long stretches of time during sundry lockdowns, many began to adopt the takeout and home delivery model that Domino’s pizza had sought to dominate Italy with. The proliferation of food delivery platforms like Deliveroo, Glovo or Just Eat “have notably increased the competition” for ePizza, according to the April legal filing in Milan.
Representatives for ePizza and Domino’s Pizza in the United States and in Italy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Other culinary ventures that naysayers said were doomed to fail in Italy have done quite well. When Starbucks opened its first Italian venue in 2018, many said that Italians accustomed to thimble-sized espressos would snub the company’s maxi sizes, and its prices. But Percassi, the Italian licensee for the American company, has since opened 18 stores throughout northern and central Italy, including a drive through.
Alessandro Lazzaroni, for five years the chief executive of Domino’s Pizza Italia, left the company in December 2020 and is now chief executive of Crazy Pizza, a high-end pizzeria started by the Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, a former director of the Benetton and Renault Formula One racing teams. Crazy Pizza made headlines in Italy this summer after Neapolitan pizza makers complained that the pizzas were too expensive.
And after all, Italians are picky about their pizza.
Stefano Auricchio, the director general of an association that protects “real Neapolitan pizza” said he was sorry to hear that Domino’s Pizza had closed “because it impoverishes the market in general,” as families have fewer options to choose from.
That said, he thought that in recent years Italians had evolved their palate for pizza and were looking for more “artisanal products” over chain brands. “There is a tendency now to recognize the work of the chef” and the quality of the products, he said.