United Pizza eyeing 200 India sites, many in fuel stations

July 23, 2003

AHMEDABAD, India -- Bangalore-based United Pizza Restaurant Pvt Ltd wants to increase its Indian unit numbers nearly tenfold over the next few years.

According to the Business Standard, the company has 24 outlets across the nation, including four at Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) fuel stations.

Its next plan is to add at least 50 franchised pizzeria outlets across the country, 10 of which will be Mumbai, and the others in Vadodara, Surat and Anand.

"This year, our thrust will be on smaller cities such as Ahmednagar, Pune, Nasik, Vadodara, Surat in the western region, while we may look beyond Bangalore in the south," said Akbar Khwaja, managing director of United Pizza. "Our target is to double the sales turnover in the next two years from Rs 22 crore (U.S. $4.8 million) last fiscal to at least Rs 45 crore (U.S. $9.7 million) by 2004-05."

Over the next two years, United Pizza also envisions opening 150 pizza outlets at fuel stations run by HPCL.

"After test marketing in the last six months in four (stations) in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, we have now decided to go along with the petroleum major in at least 150 new 'Express Pizza' (counters) across the country," Khwaja said. "We will start introducing similar concept in the north, including Delhi, and in major cities in the east such as Kolkata, Guwahati and Silliguri next year."

The Express Pizza stations serve pizzas in three minutes for Rs 30 (U.S. 65 cents) each.

As part of its initiative to set up sites on business campuses and institutions, United Pizza will open an outlet at the Indian headquarters of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in Mumbai, where it plans to sell pizzas for Rs 20-40 (U.S. 43 cents to 86 cents).

Also in United's sights, according to Khwaja, are school canteens, as well as large commercial office buildings, in which it wants to put takeout counters.

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