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people 04 Nov 2014

Timing is right for Sbarro to enter in India: Puri

In an exclusive interaction with Restaurant India, Puri shares his plans about the Ohio based Pizza Chain, Sbarro in the Indian market. At the same time, he points out the major cities on his radar for expansion, focusing more on the North India.

By Nusra Deputy Features Editor

Sbarro is known for handmade pizzas and value for money over the globe. What is your plan for the brand in the Indian market?

We are targeting our competitors from the globe in the Indian market, where we will be using high quality ingredients in making our pizza. We are also focusing in introducing value for money pizzas and products for the local customers, where pricing is very pocket friendly for the target customers.

How is the pricing done for Sbarro and who are your target customers?

Pricing is done keeping in mind the growing middle class and the younger generation in the age bracket of 18-30 years. We are starting at Rs 49 for a slice of pizza and a meal for an individual will cost Rs 125- 150.

Sbarro had earlier terminated its JV in 2009. Do you think that it will have a positive operation this time?

I think Sbarro will have better and successful operation this time as master franchisee is best operational model to enter a new location. Today, there is a huge opportunity in the segment and the timing is right for Sbarro to enter in the country because people have been experiencing old methods of QSRs for long. And now we will offer them a slice of pizza which is new to the Indian market. At the same time, we at JIFPL are in the food service operations and supply chain for the last 12-13 years. So, I think our experiences will also add on to their successful operation.

You are logistics and distribution provider for restaurant chains like Krispy Kreme and SubWay.  What is your supply chain planning for Sbarro?

We are going to leverage the network that we currently have. We are in the supply chain space for eight years now. And we distribute across 130 cities right now. So, we have a network where we can source the product locally to maintain freshness of handmade pizzas of Sbarro.

What is your marketing strategy to place Sbarro’s Pizza in India when brands like Pizza Hut and Domino’s are a success in the country?  Tell us more about your promotion campaign ‘My Life My Slice’.

We will focus more on online marketing and advertising including the online media. Apart from this, our value for money pricing is another strategy to place our pizza in the country.

‘My Life My Slice’ pizza is placed around the value for money pizza. When a customer comes to our outlet, he should feel that that what he has been offered at the restaurant is valuable while buying a pizza for a friend or family. And where he do not have to compromise on money and quality and that’s how; My Life My Slice’ came up.

What was the reason that you chose for the dine-in model of the pizza while most of the QSR brands are focusing on delivery formats?

Most of the other formats in the country have been for very long time. We as a new entrant in the country wanted to create a flagship store, where a fast food is being served in a dine-in model. We not only wanted to give our customer a taste of Pizza, but also wanted to create an ambience for them where they can come and experience it.

What are the benefits of roping in a franchisee for an international brand?

There is a lot of brand identity that comes in when working with a global brand. For example, Sbarro is there in the business for last 70 years. So, that kind of experience and identity helps anybody to leverage in the country. At the same time, it is easier to scale up your operation with a franchisee deal as the local partner has right knowledge about the local market.

What is your expansion plan in North and East India? Which are the major cities on your radar?

We are looking at about 40-50 outlets in next five years, where we will begin with Delhi NCR and gradually move towards other cities. Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Kolkata are the major cities for expansion within the next five years.

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