Q&A: Pizza Patron’s Andrew Gamm on new frozen pizza packaging

Latin pizza chain Pizza Patron has just announced its foray into the frozen pizza retail market at Texas grocery chains, with plans to enter other southwestern markets soon. Company president Guillermo Estrada said he believes the product could attract Hispanics to try the food category who are not currently frozen pizza eaters.

That puts a lot of pressure on product marketing to convey the trusted brand's meesage at off-premise stores. Brand manager Andrew Gamm gave PizzaMarketplace.com a little insight into how the concept will achieve that.

What will the packaging be like? No doubt the iconic Patron will make an appearance, but what other distinctive branding can we expect?

The packaging was designed to make a quick and strong impression in the aisle by featuring our PATRÓN icon prominently on the box. In the background of the box, we also incorporated our familiar and distinctive PATRÓN wall image -- it is part of our restaurant trade dress and is also used in all of our marketing and advertising materials. We wanted to keep the look very familiar to our existing customers, and to make sure new consumers would have a consistent experience if they ever ventured into one of our retail locations.

How did you choose the flavor lineup? Was it based on your own bestsellers or on market research of highest-selling flavors in the frozen pizza segment?

Our strategy on the development of the varieties was two-fold. First, based on market research, we chose three of the most popular pizzas in the frozen category to ensure broad, mass-market appeal -- these are the pepperoni, cheese and meat trio (sausage, pepperoni & canadian bacon). Second, we wanted to offer three of our most popular specialty pizzas as a point of differentiation in the freezer -- these are the deluxe Patrona (green bell peppers, canadian bacon, beef, sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, onions & black olives), the Mexicana (beef, chorizo, green peppers, onions & jalapeños) and the Hawaiana (pineapple, canadian bacon and mozzarella cheese)

There has been some concern among franchisees that this move may cannibalize the pizza sales in our retail stores, but we are very optimistic that this will not happen. History has proven time and again that restaurant brands who successfully enter the consumer packaged goods channel see store sales improve as a result of the increased brand awareness.

Why did you choose Texas as your first retail market for frozen pizza? Is it simply because it's your home base? What secondary markets are you looking at?

Texas was the natural choice because it is ground zero for us. We are able to keep a close eye on the distribution and retail execution as we get this new product into the market. Our plan is to have this product available nationwide eventually, and we are exploring expansion into multiple southern states right now.

Have you all considered other off-premise forays into retail like take 'n' bake or even sauces?

We are actively exploring a number of other options to determine what else makes sense for us. We are currently market-testing take-n-bake pizzas in El Paso and Las Vegas with two objectives in mind. The first is to satisfy a demand in the market to accept EBT cards at our stores from customers who are on the government's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). The second is to perfect the process so we can consider other potential sales channels.

 

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