Pita Pit, a Canada-based quick-service restaurant chain, specialising in wraps and salads, launched its first outlet in India at Gurgaon‘s Cyber Hub in November 2013. Nelson Lang, Founder and Canadian chef, shares information about the brand‘s marketing and pricing strategies.
How did the concept of Pita Pit evolve?
In 1995, my business partner, John Sotiriadis and I felt that the market place was missing a fresh and healthy alternative to the standard fare. We felt that we should introduce a fresh offering that was nutritious as well, and that could be made quickly in front of the customer and as per his/her preference. We wanted to offer food that did not contain the typical lower quality, processed ingredients. So, we opened Pita Pit (that served pita sandwiches) in Kingston, Ontario. Today, Pita Pit has a presence in over 425 locations in countries such as Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea, and France.
What marked your decision enter the Indian market?
We received many enquiries from various business groups in India, and post our consultations with experts, we knew that Pita Pit would do well in India. We wanted to collaborate with people who would understand and replicate our business values, including exceptional customer service and engagement. We joined hands with Mentor Hospitality as Pita Pit’s Indian franchise partner. Mentor Hospitality is being promoted by directors Ishann Dhawan and Anun Dhawan.
Has the menu been customised for the Indian market?
Menu customisation is the key area where our Indian collaboration plays a crucial role. From selecting spices to vegetables, to the protein and flavour – our Indian team works with us to create the menu for Pita Pit India.
How competitive is your pricing strategy?
We charge around 10 percent more than our competitors such as Subway. But we use best quality meat, toppings, vegetables, and a variety of sauces. In every bite of our sandwich, customers will get the taste and flavour of the filling, right from beginning to the end, unlike other brands. Our sandwiches are rolled differently from those offered by traditional British or Lebanese joints, where they just put filling in the middle and roll it. We open only 40 percent of the pita bread for inserting the filling and then we roll the pocket from all sides.
What are your long-term plans for India?
At this time, our main focus is to build the brand starting with the first location in Gurgaon. Ultimately, we expect to have both company-owned locations and franchised locations. Going ahead, we plan to have 100 stores in the next 5 years. India is an important market for us in all respects. Our Gurgaon outlet is 500 sq.ft. in size, but we are looking at places where we can get a slightly bigger property. Around the world, our outlets range from a small ~ 300 sqft to very large ~ 2,000 sqft format. It all depends on the demographics in the markets.