In a scenario, where competitors like Slice of Italy, and Domino’s are experimenting with the menu and introducing a variety of dishes that have nothing to do with pizza, two-decade-old Pizza Hut wants to stick to the staple – pizza.
In the past Slice Of Italy has introduced Salads, Calzones, Flappies, Submarines on their menu, while Domino’s came out with Burger Pizzas, Parcels and Tacos to capture the bigger share of the market. However, Pizza Hut, instead of introducing new range of dishes, believes in concentrating on new ingredients, crusts and flavours to retain its strong foothold in the highly cluttered market.
MD – India Sub Continent, Pizza Hut, Unnat Varma told Indiaretailing Bureau, “We don’t believe in too much of non-pizza innovations. So while the burger players are launching pizzas and the pizza players are launching burgers, we still believe in the pizza business and will go ahead with the same. This is what is going to be Pizza Hut’s strategy.”
And the company believes that a lot can be done with international as well as Indian flavours in terms of pizza.
“So at this point of time we believe there is a massive business to be had with international and Indian flavours and Pizza Hut plays that balance beautifully well in India,” said Varma.
Back on Track
The pizza chain, which is a pioneer of localising the menu in India and known for constant innovations, has started gaining momentum in business after experiencing a brief lull of two to three years owing to its unmatched taste and competitive prices.
“Of late, our performance has been quite encouraging. After a bit of a lull for over last two or three years, we are now beginning to report positive sales and we see the consumers coming back. The frequency of consumption is growing and all that is happening on the back of improved products,” said Varma.
He further added, “We went back and corrected our recipes. So what we launched Pizza Hut with in India almost 20 years back, we have the same taste of pizza and prices now. So the combination of the best pizzas and best prices is helping us get the momentum back in business.”
Pizza Hut, which runs 150 full service restaurants welcomes competition with open arms and does not see any threat from international players entering the Indian market.
Varma said, “Pizza Hut’s current size is more than double the next ten players put together and the tail is extremely long. For any player coming in to India, it is easy to open 15-20 stores but the real magic of the brand, the business model and the consumer proposition starts to work when you start thinking beyond 20 stores.”
He further added, “It will be great to have more players but it takes time, it takes investments and it takes patience to reach at a position.”
At present, Pizza Hut has 360 outlets in India and 450 outlets in the Indian Subcontinent.