A renowned name in QSR biz, Pizza Vito based in the United States is expanding in the UK, US and India. In an interaction, Joe DiBartolo, Chairman and Co-Founder, Pizza Vito shares the brand’s further expansion plans in India via franchising.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Tell us about the concept and origin of the brand. What is the USP of the brand?
Joe DiBartolo (JDB): Headquartered in the United States, Pizza Vito is a premium quality high end Pizza brand. We offer an economically priced wide ranging menu that comprises products like pasta, salads, paninis and variety of pizzas from dinner pizza, New York style pizza, European based baked pizza and stuffed pizza. The USP of our brand is that we use finest ingredients and high quality toppings for our product preparations. Besides, our pizzas are not doughy and people will like to have more regularly. Moreover, we are also considering to customise some of our menus to suit the local palate. Our pizzas are not heavy on meat based items and also include variety menu for vegetarians. Pizza Vito will focus on comfort, cleanliness and hygiene to provide the best customer experience. We aim to give the best in quality and the brand’s motto is ‘Better Quality, Better Value!’
NB: Kindly share the brand’s current presence in India. What is the potential of Indian market for the brand?
JDB: Pizza Vito’s India foray is marked by launching of two of its outlets in Delhi/NCR region by the end of 2012. We are beginning our expansion from northern India. The first outlet opened in Gurgaon this January, followed by Noida, Delhi NCR in the month of February. Indian QSR market is rapidly growing and this business segment is booming. There are not many players in this segment particularly in the Pizza business. Moreover, the country’s growing middle class along with the changing social and eating out trends are benefiting the businesses.
NB: How do you plan to develop the brand in India?
JDB: We would like to position brand Pizza Vito in between a dine-in and a take-away concept and plan to develop our brand presence primarily via franchising. We have long term plans for India. After Delhi, we would like to extend our footprints in the key cities in southern region and to Mumbai, later on. In the coming future, we plan to reach out to Tier II and III Indian cities as well. We believe it will help us in controlling our rentals and that will add to our profitability.
NB: What is the franchise model of Pizza Vito in India? What are the brand’s store formats in India?
JDB: The Pizza Vito business model offers several options such as Master Franchise for a region e.g. South India, Sub-Master Franchise (for a territory or state), Area Developer (for multi-unit development). We currently have three formats (to be followed by a food court/BIB option) that include a) Casual Dining, which will also deliver and requires approx. 1,500-2,250 sq. ft of area b) QSR, which is approx. a 1,000 sq. ft store, c) Take-away format (exclusive delivery), which will just be delivery. It requires around 800 sq. ft area.
NB: What are the challenges for the brand in the Indian market?
JDB: We are delighted to extend our presence into the Indian market. There are challenges in every business and there are different ways of doing certain things in different markets that requires some adjustments.
NB: Kindly share franchise facts for Indian market?
JDB: We want people who have knowledge about the QSR business, people who are into the restaurant business and want to further grow it or anyone who has a desire to get into a QSR business. Pizza Vito is a well known brand with good products for those who want to get a good return on their investment. The franchisee needs to invest from USD 60,000-100,000 for an arrangement of a sub-master arrangement for the North and East territories of India on basis of the identified state. Format wise investment range is: a) Casual Dining - Between Rs 1-1.2 Crore as per store size and location, b) QSR- Rs 75-80 Lakh, c) Take-away (exclusive delivery) format- Approx. Rs 55-60 Lakh.
NB: What kind of training and support will be given to franchisees?
JDB: We provide four to six weeks of training to our franchisees at our corporate stores, which will be a rigorous training programme for store general managers and selected staff members of the franchisee’s stores. They will be taught every aspect of the quick-serve restaurant business that will include preparing pizza to its delivery to sale points. The franchisees will be given strict guidelines, what they need to buy, from where to buy and how much it will cost them. We have a robust IT system and a POS in place that will help in tracking all the critical costs like food cost, HLP, etc. We will be watching our franchise partners very closely to ensure the standardisation of products. We also conduct inspection in franchise stores from time to time. However, we will also provide flexibility to our franchise partners.