Pizza Hut to double outlets to 700 by 2022 in India, beef up online sales

Yum Brands-owned pizza chain Pizza Hut India plans to double its outlets to over 700 in the next five years, based on the growing popularity of western fast-food in the country, a senior company executive said.

"In the long-term, India is one of our most important markets. In the medium term, we plan to double the number of outlets. We currently have 360 restaurants across 100 cities. We will double that to over 700 in the next five years," Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut (India Subcontinent), Yum! Restaurants told PTI on the sidelines of India Retail Forum.

The pizza chain runs a franchise model in the country, where investments come from franchise partners, Varma added.

In 2014, the company had ramped up aggressively and opened over 80 restaurants. Now, they are in a consolidation phase, he indicated.

A recent study undertaken by the company showed that pizza had become the biggest food category in the country, overtaking other fast food categories including burgers, giving impetus to the company's growth.

"Five to six years ago, the western food format stood third in preferences after Indian and Chinese, and within that pizza was the highest. Recent studies show pizza is the biggest category and has become the most accepted food across all consumer categories," he said.

Pizza Hut is also focused on growing its online sales, which has seen a ris, especially since demonetisation last November.

"Nearly 30 per cent of our sales comes from deliveries, and about 50 per cent of that is through online compared with call centres," he indicated.

There has been a recent spurt in quick service restaurants in the country, however, pizza is not a simple category to enter as entry barriers are high and scaling up can be difficult, he said.

"While there are several new food brands that are also doing well, not all can sustain for 10-20 years. The more players the better for the category," he said.

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