We believe franchising is the best mode to expand- Raj Rao, MD, NYC.PIE
We believe franchising is the best mode to expand- Raj Rao, MD, NYC.PIE

NYC.PIE is a registered and trademarked brand owned by Double AA Restaurants Pvt. Ltd., a New Delhi based company. Raj who has over 30 years of experience working with the hospitality industry was personally getting sick and tired of eating pizzas from the brands in India. A one inch thick ‘maida’ crust with low quality ingredients was not his idea of a good pizza. But one didn’t have much of a choice. It was either this or getting into the car, fight traffic and head to a restaurant or a hotel for a decent pizza. Not great, but decent. Being a hotelier with a Food & Beverage background, he decided to open a pizzeria offering the real deal. And that’s how NYC.PIE was born. Targeting at revenue of 30 lakhs a month, Rao is looking for potential franchisee to grow and expand his business in Delhi and neighbouring cities. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

You were having a successful career with some of the top hotels globally. How and when did you plan to open a restaurant of yours own?

I always wanted to own a restaurant of my own and be an entrepreneur. It was two years back when I together with my partner, Deepak Datwani came with the idea of Fat Lulu restaurant serving pizza similar to the New York taste.  And then I parted my ways from Fat Lulu starting my own restaurant NYC.PIE serving authentic New York styled pizza where nothing has been Indianised.

How is the response so far? What is the average footfall?

Response has been good in the last one and half year, we are running two outlets now in Bani Park Gurgaon and Defence Colony market, Delhi. People are appreciating our product as people are bored with the regular Domino's pizza and pizza Hut etc.  Today they want something authentic and different kind of Pizza which gives them value for money.

Do you see any competition from the local market?

I believe competition is good for any business. It helps to create things. And, we are doing different kind of pizza. We are also upgrading our menu, next month we are coming up with 4 new pasta and 8 pizzas. Every three months we do menu sales summary based on the customer review.

What is your expansion plans?

We are planning to open over 50 outlets all over the country, and by 2016-17 we are also planning four franchised outlet.

How friendly are you with Franchise model of the business? 

We have our second restaurant in partnership with the franchisee partner, Seven World Foods who are running the Defence Colony outlet. We believe franchising is the best mode to expand your business as there is an advantage of not putting in your capital in the expansion of the business. We are in talking terms with several franchisees and have shortlisted locations like GK2, Hauz Khas Village to open our outlets.

What are the support that you’ll give to your franchisee partners so as to keep the food authentic?

We will train the top management for two months, approve all the raw materials, hire the chefs and focus on delivering the best quality food.

What are the pricing range of your pizza and pastas?

Our price is 15 per cent higher than Domino's as we don’t use cheap quality products in our menu. We use good quality products as our customers are willing to try authentic food, since they are well traveled and willing to experiment.

How is the food and beverage scene in India changing?

In the past seven years, there is a huge rise in the restaurant openings and food hubs like Cyber Hub which which earlier didn't exist. This has led to the decline of Hotel food beverage scene but free selling restaurants are increasing like The Wine Company, Soda Bottle Openerwala.

Are you working on any new concept or model to expand your business?

We have couple of ideas but at first we want to scale the brand and take it forward. We have two concepts, one is small inventory model and the other one is full restaurant model.

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