- Joined: 7/14/2003
- Location: Sin City, VA
RE: The worst Pizza
Mon, 10/11/04 9:43 AM
quote: Oops. It was Dominos and here it is, FYI: October 10, 2004
Originally posted by i95
quote: I think that there was an article about this in yesterday's New York Times (and linking a great "Seinfeld" line to as much) but I thought it was Pizza Hut.
Originally posted by fcbaldwin
Just saw on CNBC the chairman of Domino's, David Brandon, rolling out their "first new product since going public almost 90 days ago": a double decker, double cheese, double crust thing.
Where's the Cheese? Everywhere
By BRENDAN I. KOERNER
N a memorable episode of "Seinfeld,'' the character of Elaine Benes is in awe of stuffed-crust pizza. "It'll be years before they find places to hide more cheese on pizza," she marvels, in praise of the mozzarella-filled Pizza Hut delicacy that made its debut in 1995.
Elaine would be pleased to learn that pizza innovation continues apace. In terms of cheesy zing per square inch, stuffed-crust pizzas pale in comparison with the new Doublemelt from Domino's Pizza. Offered in two sizes, the pizza has two thin crusts glued together with a potent cheese-and-herb sauce, then slathered with a six-cheese blend.
"This probably has more blast of cheese flavor than any pizza we've ever rolled out," said David A. Brandon, Domino's chief executive. During the introduction, the 12-inch variety is $9.99, or $14.99 for two, and the 14-inch is $11.99, or $18.99 for two.
Though the Doublemelt was introduced nationwide just two weeks ago, its story began in 1997. That is when it was concocted by a Domino's franchisee in Japan and sold under the brand name Mille Feuille, after the layered French pastry. The idea spread to Taiwan in 2002, where the pizza was renamed the Double Decker. Domino's franchises in South Korea followed the next year, using Double Crust as the name.
This is not the first time that an American pizza chain has taken a cue from a foreign market. Steve Coomes, editor of PizzaMarketplace.com, an industry news site, said that Pizza Hut's 4forALL, a square pie divided into quadrants, each with different toppings,was invented by a British franchisee. The product failed in Britain largely because the franchisee lacked the technology to quickly partition the pizzas. But Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands Inc. of Louisville, Ky., remedied that problem, and the pie has become a mainstay of its American menu.
Though the Doublemelt's predecessors have been successful abroad, the product was still tweaked for the American market. The sauce has varied in Asia, with the Taiwanese enjoying a blend of cream cheese and Cheddar, and the Koreans now opting for a viscous mash of Swiss. The original Korean recipe was a bit more pungent: a mixture of cream cheese, Camembert and Gouda.
That's too much punch for the American palate, Mr. Brandon said. "What we found is that American consumers wanted a more familiar taste," he said. A smoky Gouda flavor, in particular, doesn't go over well in the Heartland, he added.
To find the ideal sauce, Domino's test kitchen cranked out 1,000 pies, and went through more than 500 pounds of cheese. The exact composition of the winning sauce is secret, but a taste test reveals that cream cheese and garlic figure prominently. (The Doublemelt is somewhat similar to the Pizza Hut Insider, which appeared briefly in the United States two years ago.)
Domino's has had to work through supply-chain issues: because each Doublemelt requires two thin crusts, the company had to ensure that franchisees had access to enough dough. And great care was taken in picking the Doublemelt name, Mr. Brandon said. The company didn't want to follow Australia's lead, for example, and call it the Double Decadence, a name that might suggest to consumers that the product does their arteries no favors. Each slice of the 12-inch pizza contains 16 grams of fat, versus 5.5 for a plain cheese slice.
MR. BRANDON called the Doublemelt introduction "very important," given that the pizza is Domino's first new product since it went public in July.
Even if the Doublemelt is a success, it is hard to imagine the pizza industry dreaming up new places to hide more cheese. Mr. Coomes of PizzaMarketplace.com said inventors might now shift gears and start to tinker with richer blends to satisfy consumers' cheese cravings. "This is a country that loves Gorgonzola and basic bleus," he said. Dark days may be ahead for tomato sauce fans.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company