The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Topping times for the pizza platter
- Sales double in a fiscal, rivals ready to serve up more from more outlets

Calcutta’s appetite for the once Italian, now global icon – the pizza – is growing voraciously.

Between Dominos and Pizza Hut, the city served up nearly twice the number of pizzas in 2002 than it did the previous financial year. From less than Rs 5 crore in 2001, the pizza platter has grown to Rs 8 crore, with a quarter of the fiscal left, according to market estimates.

While Pizza Hut has already opened two centres, with another two coming up by mid-2003, Dominos is warming the oven for a couple of counters, in addition to the six it already has.

Proof of the mozzarella mania: The New Empire counter (which will, by next week, be upgraded to include delivery) has repeatedly broken “Euro-Asian records for the take-away with the highest weekly sales”, says Shivaji Ghosh, regional manager, Dominos.

But both international brands are relying on differing retail strategies. Pizza Hut’s focus is in-restaurant dining, though it does also have take-away and delivery services. The Camac Street 170-seater restaurant — the chain’s largest outlet in India and one of the highest-selling at “400 tables served a day” — will start home-delivery from next week, while the smaller Ballygunge centre continues to concentrate on delivery.

The two new branches — at Forum on Elgin Road and City Centre, Salt Lake — will host sit-down meals. “At Forum, we will be part of a food court, but the City Centre branch will be a 130-seater restaurant,” explains Virag Joshi, CEO of Devyani International, franchisee holder of Yum! Restaurants, which owns the Pizza Hut brand worldwide.

Pizza Hut, with its Indian line of “masala pizzas having graduated to the international markets”, believes in tailoring its menu to the Calcuttan tastebud.

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