Getting the right slice: 1441 Pizzeria’s founder on changing pizza consumption, business expansion, and more
Everybody loves a good pizza.
While you may not be able to travel to Italy for an authentic wood-fired pizza, Mumbai-based 1441 Pizzeria brings those flavours to your doorstep.
Founded by Krishna Gupta, Managing Director of Lloyd Industries, 1441 Pizzeria launched its first outlet in 2016. It has now expanded to Pune, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad, besides further expanding its reach in Mumbai.
Krish's Pizza - thick crust is a best-selling pizza by 1441 Pizzeria
Speaking to YS Weekender about the growth of his F&B business, Krishna says:
“The pandemic has been game-changing. Not only did we have to redirect our vision and align it to new strategies for our business plans to survive and thrive, but we also did it all remotely with half the resources available as we shifted our focus from only dine-in, to delivery and takeaways, in a short span of time.”
Presently, 1441 Pizzeria has two delivery locations in Mumbai it started in December 2020. So far, the brand has 16 outlets, including three ‘X’ series outlets of dark kitchens, or delivery-only cloud kitchens in Pune.
Compared to 2018, when YourStory last spoke to Krishna, 1441 Pizzeria’s revenue has grown by up to 50 percent. “In 2018, we were breaking even at the store level, and were at a loss at the corporate level. This year, we are looking at 15 percent EBITDA at the store level, and a breakeven point for the corporate level,” he adds. In the next three years, the company is targeting Rs 50 crore topline, and achieving a 15 percent EBITDA Margin.
Krishna Gupta, Founder of 1441 Pizzeria
Here are the edited excerpts from Krishna’s interview with YS Weekender:
YS Weekender (YSW): What do you customers prefer more — wood-fired thin crust or thick crust?
Krishna Gupta (KG): We introduced a thick crust pizza during the pandemic and it has been quite popular with our customers. The thick crust pizza also stays warm longer, so it is preferred during deliveries.
YSW: What is the best-selling pizza?
KG: Krish's Pizza. It has been one of our best-selling pizzas since we started.
It has a mix of smoked and regular mozzarella, the sweetness of caramelised onions, and the spiciness of jalapenos and chillies, along with other toppings.
YSW: What is the USP of your pizzas?
KG: Our ingredients are our main differentiators, along with the entire process and supply chain, which enables us to offer the same pizza experience and consistency across all outlets. We import our flour from Italy, which is exclusively made for us with unique properties giving our pizza the lightness like no other.
We also use the finest Italian tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil as well.
The concept of making your own pizza is still extremely unique to 1441 Pizzeria and probably the only one where you can add on unlimited toppings for one price.
YSW: How many pizzas do you sell every day?
KG: We sell up to 1,000 pizzas every day, with the average billing size being Rs 350-450 per customer for dine-in; and Rs 600-700 for deliveries.
Virgin olive oil by 1441 Pizzeria
YSW: What are the few trends that you noticed during the pandemic?
KG: A lot of at-home experiences have sprung up. This includes virtual parties and DIY kits. We introduced one of the first DIY Kits for a pizza brand this pandemic, allowing our customers to make pizzas at home.
YSW: How is 1441 Pizzeria catering to changing consumer preferences?
KG: Consumers are looking for more variety, ease of use, fast pace, lower costs, and faster deliveries. This has been the highlight of the pandemic.
We are aiming at increasing our menu with some new, fun food ideas, and concepts. We are also looking at ways, through new concepts, how we can reduce the costs and still give the customers a great quality Italian pizza.
YSW: What is the future for 1441 Pizzeria?
KG: We are looking at expanding the brand to several verticals, including the introduction of corporate-owned stores in new cities, and franchise growth throughout the country, delivery-only outlets in select metros, and 1441 X and pizza pods in Tier II, III, and IV cities.
Through all of these, we are looking at reaching 50 locations in the next couple of years. Additionally, we are looking to develop and grow a line of retail products including our signature homemade extra virgin olive oils, sauces, and more.
Once we achieve this and have a good hold within India, we will surely look at expanding overseas.
YSW: As an entrepreneur, how important is it to make the business a part of your life?
KG: Extremely important. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, I believe you need to make your business your life in every way.
The best way to succeed and grow your business, especially a consumer-facing business, is to know what you are doing inside out.
YSW: Do you struggle with work-life balance or do you get your fair share of day-offs?
KG: It is important to take some days to yourself and enjoy parts of your life. That way, you get a breather and can reset every once in a while. Of course, since everything is digital, we are always connected if anything requires personal attention.
However, we have built teams and processes in place for daily management to continue at all times.
YSW: What are your hobbies and interests, beyond business?
KG: Travel and food is something I am extremely passionate about. I enjoy exploring and seeking inspiration from pizzerias and Italian restaurants in every city that I visit.
I have also recently been very interested in pursuing scuba diving as more than just a hobby and try to get more certifications and dives wherever I can.
1441 Pizzeria's thick crust pizza
YSW: Who is your inspiration?
KG: As cliche as it may sound, my father. I have seen him hustle and work harder, even at this age, than most people I have met professionally.
And he does this while maintaining a great personal life balance, and being able to take time out for the things important for him.
YSW: Any sport that you play?
KG: I used to play cricket and some football, but not anymore due to some injuries.
YSW: Provide us with a glimpse of a day-off in your life.
KG: Recently, I have been trying to improve my health and fitness and have been trying to get almost 10,000 steps a day. I start my day with a good walk and go through some news. Healthy and light start with liquids in the morning.
Head to work around 9 AM and have a full day of work between the different brands, reviews with each store and team, franchise meets, and also store visits every few days. I get back home in the evening for a good workout and a light dinner.
I try meeting friends and other family members on weekends and go for weekend getaways once in a while.
YSW: What is the one regret you have?
KG: That I did not pursue more personalised education and work experience outside our family business.
YSW: Tell us one of the proudest moments of your life.
KG: Being a part of Forbes 30 under 30, twice.