Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. On today's menu: Domino's Italian Desserts Range.
Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we've decided to document the reality of fast food -- it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
Pizza chains aren't generally known for producing knock-out desserts (in fact, the same could be said about almost any fast food franchise with the possible exception of original McDonald's McFlurry.)
We were therefore highly skeptical when the photos for Domino's new Italian Desserts range landed on the company's Facebook page.
The Italian Desserts range comprises of the tiramisu, crème caramel and chocolate-covered profiteroles (only the first of which is actually Italian in origin but let's not split hairs here.)
According to Domino's marketing spiel, all three desserts use ingredients imported "all the way from Italy" which we think is an odd bit of promotion: it brings the desserts' freshness into question and also suggests local producers may have been snubbed. Mannaggia tua!
Indeed, Domino's Facebook page is currently littered with disgruntled comments about the decision to use Italian produce, so we think this "authenticity" gimmick may have backfired.
Before we move on, take a moment to soak in the above image. From the dusting of powdered chocolate to the artfully arranged sauce, these mouth-watering confections wouldn't be out of place in a classy restaurant. Is there any way the reality can hope to measure up?
Here's how the Domino's Pizza Italian Desserts Range looks upon delivery:
The plastic containers certainly don't look too promising, do they?
And here's how they look side-by-side (click to enlarge):
As is plainly evident, the tiramisu had melted by the time we took the photo, which was within five minutes of receiving it. Obviously, some stores will deliver quicker than others but the fact remains that some customers are going to get a semi-liquefied puddle instead of the plump masterpiece on the left.
The profiteroles are also a lot messier looking, although we suspect most people will be more than happy with the extra lashings of sauce. Otherwise, the desserts don't look as awful as we were anticipating.
Taking the effects of transit into account, we'd almost be willing to give these products a thumbs up -- if it wasn't for their diminutive size. The advertisement fails to illustrate just how small these desserts are. They're positively tiny, with the tiramisu easily finished in two bites.
We strongly suspect Domino's is using miniaturised utensils in the above picture instead of a regular bowl and dessert spoon. We used a tea cup saucer in our own photo and it looks roughly the same size.
We think this is a teensy bit dishonest on Domino's part. While the desserts are reasonably priced (you can get all three for $9.95) there's still no excuse for exaggerating the sense of scale. As for the taste, they weren't too bad but nothing you'd want to write home to Italy about.
Feedback on Domino's Facebook page has been decidedly mixed. Here are a few responses from disgruntled customers:
In conclusion, the Domino's Pizza Italian Desserts are a bit of a disappointment.
Truth Rating: 5/10
Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.