industry rakes in dough ...2
20 February 2001
Pizza Hut format with the other two chains, Mr.
Rajesh Shah, managing director of Pizzeria Pure Foods
Restaurants - the franchisee for Maharashtra (excluding
Mumbai), Chennai and Pondicherry - says, "Unlike
Domino's Pizza and Pizza Corner, ours is a full-fledged
restaurant with our own kitchen."
Though, the marketing strategy of the three chains differs,
the credit should go to Pizza Corner for bringing in some
interesting concepts that are now being followed by others.
is the only chain that started operating with a call-centre
concept. In Chennai and Bangalore, it got an easy-to-remember
telephone number, common for all its outlets. An outlet
that is nearest to the customers place executes
the booked order.
tried to introduce the toll-free concept. However, this
was not very attractive as that of Pizza Corners,
since it had a ten-digit number, difficult to remember
Again, Pizza Corner was the first chain to use the Internet
to take orders and have a play zone for kids in its dine-in
restaurants. "Our marketing strategy is to reach
every Corner of the Indian market by supplying a WOW product
and a WOW service, where WOW, for us, is to exceed the
expectations of the guest. We want to reach families through
kids and we are continuously trying to implement lots
of very interesting strategies to attract kids and their
parents in our outlets," says Mr. Bakhache.
In order to attract kids and to run down competition,
it also started publishing a comic book with the hero
character, Zzapi Nercor (anagram for Pizza Corner). He
triumphs over evil aliens called Paz Thuzi and Minodos
(anagrams for Pizza Hut and Domino's). Pizza Hut, for
its part, has added play zone for children in its restaurants.
With all things remaining more or less equal, the clinching
factor for pizzas to become like rotis and dosas
or at least like Maggie Noodles' is the price.
Currently, pizza prices are as high as the Leaning
Tower of Pisa, restricting frequent purchases.
According to Mr. Bhatia, fast food chains succeeded by
offering the price-performance proposition. Domino's Pizza
decided to offer Cheezwala hunger,
a regular hand-tossed pizza for Rs. 39. Though Pizza Corner
offered one pizza free with every purchased pizza for
some time, it is still reluctant to slash its prices.
"Pure food cost is around 35-40 per cent of the selling
Promotion and overhead are also to be taken into account,"
argues Mr. Bakhache. But two years down the line, prices
are likely to go southwards, he adds. Mr. Shah of Pizzeria
Pure Foods also had a similar view on the pricing aspect.
Probably what they don't want to admit is the lesser bargaining
power they have with their suppliers due to lesser number
of outlets compared to that of Domino's Pizza.
The other marketing strategy adopted by Domino's Pizza
and Pizza Hut is Indianisation of the Italian dish
by introducing regional varieties like Chicken Chettinad,
Channa Batura, Chicken Tikka, spicy Korma,
However, Mr. Bakhache rubbishes such tactics, saying,
"Would you eat dosas with a strawberry jam?
A dosa should be eaten with sambar and chutney
or with the specially-made chilly powder."
Inquiries at one of the Dominos India's Chennai outlet
reveals that the demand pattern for regional flavoured
pizzas is unpredictable and the outlet is not able to
indent its requirements properly.
Adding further, Mr. Bakhache says, "Tinkering with
original tastes will affect the whole industry. In the
long run, we will survive. Our guests would continue to
eat the real pizza while my competitors would be eating
brave words apart, what is clear now is that the pizza
chains have developed an insatiable appetite for growth.
And they are pumping in money. With prices coming down
coupled with market growth, it is just a matter of time
for pizza chain owners to taste their success recipe.
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