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With a six inches diameter of assorted flavours, Pizza Hut’s success story is no secret. In an exclusive interview with Nusra, Unnat Varma, MD, Pizza Hut India talks about Pizza Hut's growth as a franchise brand in India.
After splitting franchise for the business in India how does Pizza Hut growth looks like?
For us the business was always franchising. We had two great partners for 20 years, in North and East we had Devyani International and in South and West we had Dodsal Group. Then, Dodsal was looking at exiting the business so Samara Capital which has established Sapphire Foods had taken over the business at that part. We have been fully franchised in all these years.
As a leading global QSR brand globally., what is unique about Pizza Hut’s franchisee strategy?
Franchise model is a fantastic model where you are able to leverage and partner with local businessmen who have great knowledge of running business, building the business, leading the organisation, building a very strong culture and people, and we are able to provide them the global brand and global learning, so it is a fantastic combination and for Pizza Hut it is getting great around the world and in India. We have partners who have signed up for growth, have partnered to expand rapidly.
How much does franchise model help in growing business in a region?
Franchise model helps a lot, I think around the world most brands operates with franchise model and it is critical for a company/ brand growth to have a franchise model in order to get quick returns.
How have you mastered the art of selecting and retaining the right franchisees?
For us the match has to be at two or three different levels-
How many outlets are there in Pizza Hut system today?
We are fully franchised i.e 400 outlets are franchised. It is 70:30 split between Devyani and Sapphire Foods.
What is your expansion plan?
We have entered close to 100 cities, including many tier II and III city and the objective is to open outlet in centre of that town. We are seeing little slow down in retail and the kind of numbers we were expecting in terms of consuming class coming and eating could not be seen. We are trying to make sure to make successful stores and will focus on 1000 stores by 2020. But the focus here is to consolidate and then we will want to take it forward.