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PizzaExpress eyes growth through new format



PizzaExpress, the ‘Britalian’ chain has been in India for a while, having launched their first restaurant in 2012. The company recently launched their 100th international restaurant in Bengaluru’s Mall of Asia and ET HospitalityWorld caught up with the team to find out what was new in a brand which has been cautious in its growth so far—26 outlets in eight locations.

Gourmet Investments Private Limited, the food and beverage venture of Bharti Family office, holds the master franchise rights for India and its COO Ajay Singhal began by saying, “When we first launched Pizza Express in 2012, we went for A catchment and A locations. It was more of a rational positioning for us. And then, Covid-19 happened! We wanted to get the right business model to expand in the country and so we went back to the drawing board.”

What emerged from nine months of intensive research on brand and expansion strategy was that they wanted to be a pizzeria and café focusing on gourmet pizzas, he said.

They opened their first restaurant in the new avatar in Gurugram while the pandemic was still on and have not looked back since.

“During the pandemic, we opened two (new format) restaurants in Gurugram (December 2021) and Mumbai (March 2022), followed by six more in the next year—in Pune, two in Delhi, two in Mumbai and one in Bengaluru,” he said stressing that, “now we got the right investable business case for the brand with the right size, right menu, right positioning and right service style.”

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