After finding inspiration in Florence, the Founder of 1441 Pizzeria aims to change the way we eat pizzasSindhu Kashyaap
Started by the Managing Director of Truefit & Hill, 1441 Pizzeria serves up fresh, wood-fire oven pizzas. It has five outlets in Mumbai, and is aiming at 100 stores in eight cities in the next five years.
Startup: 1441 Pizzeria
Founder: Krishna Gupta
Based out of: Mumbai
There is something about freshly baked wood-fired oven pizza, where the hot bread melts in your mouth. So when Krishna Gupta and his father tasted a pizza during a visit to Florence, they couldn’t help but wonder why they couldn’t just get that kind of pizza at an affordable price in India.
It was love for this pizza that led Krishna to come up with the idea of 1441 Pizzeria.
“We thought about the concept about two years ago before starting the first outlet. We took that much time to plan and eventually, our efforts led to things falling in place,” Krishna says.
Krishna spent the first six months finding the perfect spot. This meant that they had to look all over town for the perfect place. Krishna says he knew the importance of finding a place with the perfect rent, so that they did not “suffer a monetary inconvenience and are able to sustain ourselves”.
Finding the spot
“We found a great place in Lokhandwala and soon after in Fort, which we felt was the right fit. The biggest challenge though was spreading awareness about our brand, our new concept, and how to get people through those doors for the first time to experience the deliciousness of 1441 Pizzeria,” Krishna says.
Apart from founding and running 1441 Pizzeria, Krishna is also the Managing Director of Lloyd Industries, Truefit & Hill’s parent company in India since 2013. It was due to this that setting up 1441 Pizzeria wasn’t difficult.
Once he had the idea, Krishna knew he had to get a professional chef who had the knowledge and skill of running a food business.
The team found him Chef Renato Viola, an International Pizza Master Chef online when he was offering consultancy. “Within the first meeting, he recognised my passion, and I knew that it had to be him,” Krishna says. Renato helped them with the recipes and in training the internal staff.
Creating the differentiator
“To make it feel and look different we did a lot of research on what we should and shouldn't do. To reach the position we are in, we spent a lot of time, effort and money. Our staff underwent rigorous training, because what we wanted to give our customers was an excellent and a memorable experience. That's how we built our first outlet,” Krishna explains.
He adds that the flour for the pizzas is imported from the best farms in Italy, and the tomatoes are sourced from San Marzano.
“Even our oven is made in Italy, since they are the finest at making wood-fired ovens. We also allow our customers ‘Make their own Pizza’ with unlimited toppings. This doesn't require too many inventions from our side, but we do have a few festivals like a Cheese Festival, or a Sea Food Festival to cater to a larger and also specific audience spreading a great buzz and generating brand recall with all of our customers,” Krishna says.
The restaurant business
The restaurant business in India is fast growing. According to the National Restaurant Association of India, the Indian restaurant market, which was valued at Rs 20,400 crore in, 2016 is expected to touch Rs 51,000 crore by 2021. Apart from QSR (quick service restaurants) outlets like Pizza Hut, Dominos and few other brands, the number of pizza chains is growing.
The 1441 Pizzeria team focused on promotions of its brand through social media, and got several bloggers and influencers to review and go through the entire experience.
This really helped 1441 Pizzeria get people to walk in through the doors for the first time. “It was the job of our staff to sell and make them have a memorable experience, which attracted customers and made them want to come back.”
“All of this was backed by our signature desserts like the Nutella Pizza, our ‘Make your own Pizza’ concept and the quality of the pizzas, not to mention our unique unlimited toppings concept and our bottomless Coke refills. We positioned ourselves as different,” Krishna says.
The team refused to share revenue details, order size, or the number of walk-ins. However, the average cost of a meal for two is between Rs 700 and Rs 845.
1441 Pizzeria currently has five outlets in Mumbai, and is opening two outlets in Pune. The team is also looking to expand into Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
“In terms of our future plans, we intend to open 100 stores in the next five years in eight major cities of India,” Krishna says.