‘Like selling ice to eskimos’: Domino’s plans to open more than 800 pizzerias in Italy

'Like selling ice to eskimos': Domino's plans to open more than 800 pizzerias in Italy
Domino's world famous pizza may soon be coming to an Italian town near you. Photo: AFP
American pizza giant Domino's has announced that it plans to open at least 880 outlets across Italy in the next decade.

The hundreds of new Italian Domino's outlets are planned by 2030, to join the 16,000 stores open in 85 countries, according to Alessandro Lazzaroni, CEO of Domino's in Italy.

He told Italian financial newspaper Money.it that the new stores will focus mainly on the north and centre of Italy, only as far south as Rome.

This is partly because the factory that produces their dough is located in Buccinasco, near Milan, but the south is also thought to be a more difficult market.

READ ALSO: Can Domino's takeout the Italian pizza market?

Their franchising plan includes opening 14 pizzerias in Milan, three in Brescia and two each in Bergamo and Monza. Outlets are also in the works for Varese, Como, Lecco, Cremona, Mantua, Lodi and Pavia.

The first of the new openings are planned for Milan in 2020.

The global pizza chain, which began life in the US in the 1960s, opened its first Italian branch in 2015 and now has some 28 locations in Italy, mainly in and around Rome, Milan, and Turin. 

A pizza from Domino's in the US. Photo: AFP

Domino's hopes to take two percent of Italy's pizza market share over the next decade and become the biggest food delivery company in Italy, said Lazzaroni, who once ran a McDonald's in the country.

There were angry comments on Italian social media following the news, with many protesting the idea of an American company selling pizza in Italy, where the specialty originated.

Commenters compared the plan to “selling ice to Eskimos” or “bringing sand to the beach”, while another warned: “Don't even think about coming to Naples.”

Many other commenters reacting to the news simply asked: “Why?”

But one reader noted on Facebook: “It's already here in Piacenza and sadly it's pretty popular!”

When opening the first Italian Domino's in 2015, Lazzaroni told The Local the franchise would succeed due to its home delivery model and insisted it would be “traditional Italian pizza” made using “locally-sourced wheat,

 
“It will be purely Italian in all other respects too…the tomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola and Parma ham.”
 
While the idea of selling pizza to the Italians might sound unworkable, other US fast-food chains have already succeeded in the country despite its reputation for traditional food.

American coffee chain Starbucks, which faced a storm of criticism when it opened its first store in Milan in 2018, is now planning to expand across northern Italy after early success.

And despite some protests and pushback, McDonald's is well-established in Italy. In fact, the country has the fourth-highest number of McDonalds' outlets in Europe.

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