Krishna Gupta is a young entrepreneur and has a big role to play throughout 1441 Pizzeria's journey. In three years, the brand has grown and gained visibility in three different cities i.e., Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. 1441 Pizzeria was established to bring the authenticity of Italian wood-fired pizza to India.
In an interview with Restaurant India, Managing Director of 1441 Pizzeria, Krishna Gupta says he is considering expanding the pizza brand with the franchise model.
‘It’s the flour that makes a pizza taste better’
I found out the importance of using the right kind of flour - without that you just cannot make the best pizza dough. We tried 5 different flours, all locally produced with a French method, some Swiss, some Italian, after which we finally decided on the one we use currently. The difference was immediately notable, securing my belief that the flour makes the pizza.
I have also noticed that many Pizzerias in Europe use the same flour as we do - It is very obvious in the taste, texture and authenticity of the pizza.
Developing a Right Training Model Was a Challenge
I think the biggest hurdle was product consistency and training to get it right. We had created a model to ensure consistency at all our outlets by obtaining our raw materials from a central kitchen. With everything coming from one source, we didn’t have to worry about the taste, hygiene levels and other factors at all 10 different outlets but could put all our focus on just the main kitchen.
Training was essential but we overcame that by giving customers the opportunity to make their own pizzas with ease, thus, eliminating the need for a professionally-skilled chef. The current training model allows our staff to learn the job in just a weeks’ time. After that, it’s all practice.
Key Accomplishments in Last Three Years
I think the rate at which we have grown is our biggest achievement. We started out with two outlets and now there are 11 outlets - not just in Mumbai but in Pune and Bengaluru too!
We also hold a consistent 4.2 and above rating on Zomato for each outlet ever since we first started. This shows that we are able to keep up well with the standards of exceptional pizza making.
Disrupting the Industry Segment with 1441 Pizzeria
The industry is mainly divided into three segments - QSRs like McDonalds and Dominos, Casual Restaurants and Fine Dine restaurants.
People go to QSR chains for low-cost options and prompt service. They visit Casual and Fine Dine for the high-quality food and service that they provide.
With the entry of 1441 Pizzeria into the industry, we introduced a new segment - Fast Casual. We not only provide prompt and efficient service but also high-quality pizzas. We offer one of the best pizzas in the market - Italian flour, wood-fired oven, a chance to make your own pizza, unlimited toppings, and all of this at a very reasonable price of around 350-400 INR per customer. For dine-in customers, gourmet-style pizzas are at their table in just 5 minutes! I strongly believe the fast-casual segment is going to be the next big thing in the food industry.
Pizza Market in India
According to me, the pizza market is second only to the bar market in India. Pizza is the most consistent food that people prefer to order on any occasion be it a get-together, birthday party, sporting event, after party food. The difference, however, lies in the fact that until about 7- 10 years ago, nobody ever expected to get pizzas of exceptional quality because the larger market share was always taken by QSRs. Recently, this has changed - consumers are now more particular about the taste and quality of the pizzas that they eat. Unfortunately, India is still a price sensitive market which makes it difficult to reach a large segment, hence, the introduction of fast casual.
Unique Marketing Strategies of 1441 Pizzeria
1441 Pizzeria is a unique brand that offers services that are distinct from the usual and believe in letting our product do the talking. Our focus is on getting people through our front door. For this, we use experimental marketing and a high social media presence after which it is our quality of service and products that lead our customers to spread the word.
We usually try to sell on our unique incomparable features, which are:
- Unrestricted unlimited toppings
- Specially-customized pizza flour taking into consideration climate and concept, all the way from Italy
- The concept of Make Your Own Pizza with an open kitchen
- Unlimited Coca Cola
To get repeat customers one should maintain – quality, service and offerings.
As of now, it is 75% dine-in customers and 25% delivery. While we are trying to increase the percentage, we also need to make sure our quality doesn’t suffer - our pizzas are the best when had hot and fresh out of the oven.
Expansion Plans in the next two years
Through franchising and corporate-owned stores, we plan to open 20 Pizzerias in five cities in the next two years.