Skepticism as Domino's Plans 880 Pizzerias in Italy

The CEO of Domino's Italy believes there is still room in the traditional home of pizza for a delivery option. Traditional pizzaioli remain skeptical that the restaurant chain can increase its foothold in the market.
A Domino's Pizza restaurant in Milan.
By Julie Al-Zoubi
Jan. 14, 2020 09:01 UTC

American pizza giant Domino’s have announced plans to open at least 880 new restau­rants across Italy by 2030.

The com­pany first opened for busi­ness in piz­za’s tra­di­tional home back in 2015 and already makes pizza at 28 loca­tions based in and around Rome, Milan and Turin.

I think that (Domino’s) will not be pizze­rias’ com­peti­tors because the peo­ple know the dif­fer­ence between an arti­san prod­uct like Neapolitan pizza and an indus­trial prod­uct like the pizza of Domino’s.- Enzo Coccia, renowned Neopolitan piz­zaiolo

Milan (which is con­ve­niently close to Domino’s dough fac­tory in Buccinasco) has been ear­marked as the loca­tion for the com­pa­ny’s first batch of new out­lets.

Domino’s has announced plans to open pizze­rias in cen­tral and north­ern Italy, but has so far steered clear of the south of the coun­try and the city of Naples; home of the iconic Neapolitan pizza.

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Enzo Coccia — one of Naples’ most renowned piz­zaiolo (pizza maker) who runs a train­ing acad­emy and the city’s La Notizia pizze­rias — told Olive Oil Times that while Domino’s may bring new chal­lenges to tra­di­tional pizze­rias, he is not wor­ried about the arrival of the chain restau­rant.

I think and hope that La Notizia’s cus­tomers won’t eat Domino’s Pizza,” Coccia said. I think that they will not be pizze­rias’ com­peti­tors because the peo­ple know the dif­fer­ence between an arti­san prod­uct like Neapolitan pizza and an indus­trial prod­uct like the pizza of Domino’s.”

Naples’ tra­di­tional pizza twirling tech­nique piz­za­iuolo was granted world her­itage sta­tus in 2017.

Coccia said the art of piz­zaiolo rep­re­sents the iden­tity of the peo­ple, our tra­di­tion and ter­ri­tory. It’s a prize for all peo­ple that dur­ing these years have done some­thing for this job and for the world of Neapolitan pizza.”

Italy’s min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture at the time hailed Neapolitan piz­za’s her­itage sta­tus as another step toward the pro­tec­tion of Italy’s food and wine her­itage.”

Neapolitan pizza has also boasted European UnionTraditional Speciality Guaranteed” sta­tus since 2010.

With a good and healthy prod­uct the pizze­rias in Italy will con­tinue to work,” Coccia said. The Neapolitan piz­zaioli should safe­guard the sta­tus of their piz­zas and pro­tect the piz­za’s integrity.”

Last year the the health ben­e­fits of pizza were high­lighted when Italian sci­en­tist Silvao Gallus won an Ig Nobel Prize” for research which con­cluded that pizza offered pro­tec­tion against some chronic dis­eases.

Gallus stressed that the health ben­e­fits were only reaped when piz­zas were made with ingre­di­ents from the Mediterranean diet.

Domino’s entry into the Italian mar­ket and cur­rent expan­sion plans were insti­gated by Alessandro Lazzaroni, an Italian entre­pre­neur and CEO of Domino’s Italy,

According to a report in Money, Lazzaroni, who bought the rights to dis­trib­ute Domino’s in his native coun­try, hopes to grab two per­cent of Italy’s pizza mar­ket over the next decade and aspires to expand Domino’s into the biggest food deliv­ery com­pany in Italy.

Back in 2015, the American pizza com­pany tempted con­sumers in Milan, Brescia, Bergamo and Monza with their offer of, tra­di­tional Italian piz­zas” made from locally sourced ingre­di­ents.

At the time, Lazzaroni focused on online order­ing and aimed to fill a gap in the Italian mar­ket for take-out and deliv­ery options. Domino’s pledged to respect tra­di­tion and meet Italian tastes.

It remains to be seen if Domino’s can com­pete against authen­tic Italian pizza, which is believed to have been intro­duced to the United States by Italian immi­grants back in 1905.

However, in 2019 Domino’s pulled out of Iceland, Norway and Sweden after three years of heavy losses. The com­pany also with­drew from Switzerland where it had served piz­zas since 2012.


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