Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Indian Pizza Chain Set For Rapid Expansion

indian pizza Aiming for a pan-Indian coverage, United Pizza Restaurant has announced plans of expanding the number of outlets from the current 58 to 150 by the end of 2008. According to Akbar Khwaja, its managing director, the focus will mainly be on tier II and tier III cities.

Explaining the company's investment plans, he said, "Till now, all our investments were through internal accruals. For the first round of expansion, we have tied up with a private equity partner. Post that, we will be funding primarily through franchises and internal accruals."

Currently, United Pizza has a presence in 27 cities, and according to Khwaja, plans are on to expand to 60 cities by the end of 2008. The main cities that the group plans to focus on in the next quarter will be Indore, Gandhidham, Raipur, Jaipur, Karnal, Gwalior in the north and Kannur, Kochi and Hubli in the south. United Pizza is also looking into expanding internationally.

"We will first expand within Sweden and Norway. However, the back-end will be in India. We also plan to move into China and the Far East. We would finish expanding within India first and then focus internationally," said Khwaja.

United Pizza has also entered into corporate tie-ups with HPCL, Accenture, Wipro, Dell and other companies to set up its franchise. Khwaja said that the chain is looking at tie-ups with theatre chains too. "However, we would be working more on their capital than ours," he added.

In keeping with the company's motto of healthy fast food, United Pizza is also setting up a fast food R&D centre in Bangalore which would be headed by the founder chairman, Vahid Berenjian.
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