Domino's pulls out of Italy because locals prefer their own slices

The store front of Domino's® 18,000th location on July 1, 2021 in La Junta, Colorado.
LA JUNTA, CO - JULY 1: The store front of Domino's® 18,000th location on July 1, 2021 in La Junta, Colorado. Photo credit Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for Dominos

Unsurprisingly, Domino's Pizza was a flop in Italy.

Domino's came to the pizza capital of the world in 2015 with high hopes, but on Tuesday it was reported that they have closed the last 29 of their locations in Italy, according to Bloomberg.

Overall, Domino's had 6,100 locations throughout the United States and close to 19,000 stores worldwide in operation in 2021, but Italians made it clear they preferred to get a local slice instead.

When Domino's came to Italy it partnered with ePizza SpA on a franchising agreement with the goal of "providing a structured national delivery service along with American-style toppings including pineapple."

They planned to open as many as 880 stores throughout the country, but struggled to compete with local pizzerias that expanded their delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Domino's "sought protection from creditors after running out of cash and falling behind on its debt obligations," Bloomberg noted.

According to a report by Food Service, an Italian food industry publication, ePizza SpA stopped operating its Domino's stores on July 20.

EPizza SpA filed for bankruptcy in April after sales dropped during the past two years of the pandemic, according to a document filed in a Milan court, per CNN Business. The court filing mentioned that other local pizzerias began to use third-party services like Deliveroo Plc, Just Eat Takeaway.com NV or Glovo to make deliveries more accessible.

"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, to service and restaurants reopening post pandemic and consumers out and about with revenge spending," ePizza said in a report to investors with its 2021 fourth-quarter numbers.

The Milan court "granted the company court protection against creditors for 90 days," preventing creditors from demanding debt repayment or take its assets. That protection expired on July 1, per Bloomberg.

The downfall of Domino's in Italy was even made fun of by the Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero, who titled their story about the closings, "Italians don't like pineapple pizza: Domino's is shuttering all pizzerias in the country." The newspaper noted that Italians weren't fond of the specialty American pizzas at Domino's, as most preferred traditional, local pizzas and toppings.

"Products that certainly made the lovers of traditional pizza turn up their noses, but that intrigued the most xenophiles, fans of pop pizzas," Il Messaggero said.