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Pizza makers want a bigger pie

New Delhi, Nov. 27: US-based pizza majors—Pizza Hut and Domino’s—are busy tossing plans to expand the number of outlets in India.

The market for exclusive pizza outlets in the country is about Rs 150-175 crore and is growing at a rate of about 25 per cent, with Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Pizza Corner sharing a large slice of the market, senior consultant on food retailing at KSA Technopack, Kapil Chugh said.

Speaking about the pizza chain’s expansion plans, Domino’s Pizza India’s CEO Arvind Nair told The Telegraph that the company plans to open about 10 new outlets in the next 12 to 15 months. The outlets will be owned by the company and will cost about Rs 80 lakh each. The funding for the expansion of outlets will be internally generated, he said.

Domino’s which began its operations in India six years back, has about 90 stores across 24 cities. Of these, Mumbai and Delhi have about 20 stores each, Calcutta has six, and Chennai and Hyderabad have about five stores each. Ahmedabad, Pune and Lucknow also have two outlets each.

Domino’s Pizza India Ltd, promoted by Jubilant Organosys group, is the master franchisee for India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The other US based Pizza chain—Pizza Hut—has an ambitious plan to expand to 100 outlets in the country by the end of 2004. Currently, the pizza chain has 38 outlets spread over the country, mostly in metro cities. “By 2003, there will be at least 50 outlets, which means an addition of 12 outlets by that time,” a company spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the average cost of an outlet is between Rs 1.5 crore to 2 crore. Unlike, Domino’s, all Pizza Hut outlets are franchisee-owned. Pizza Hut is part of the US-based Yum! Restaurants International Ltd.

Yum! (previously Tricon Restaurants International) has under its umbrella, apart form Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Long John Silver and the A&W chain of eateries.

Both the US-based pizza chains are cagey about giving out their turnover figures on the grounds that the companies are not listed.

Among Indian pizza chains, there is the Chennai-headquartered Pizza Corner with close to 30 outlets. Then there are Indian restaurants which are not pizza outlets as such, but where this Italian delicacy occupies pride of place on the menu. Delhi-based Nirula’s, for instance, which claims it was one of the first to initiate the Indian palette to the pizza way back in the seventies, does not rule out the possibility of opening a pizza-only outlet.

“In the future there can be a pizza-only outlet but there are no plans right now,” Nirula’s spokesperson Taran Deep said. However, she adds that pizza is one of the most popular items in most Nirula’s outlets.

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