AB Gupta, an accomplished hospitality entrepreneur, has demonstrated a history of working in the hospitality industry for the past nine years. He completed his Bachelor’s from the prestigious Lancaster University in Management and Entrepreneurship. His past experience working in the hospitality industry in India and abroad gave him a deep-rooted understanding of the market on a global level. Gupta is not an ordinary hospitality entrepreneur.
It all started with two Bangalore boys’ visiting Delhi. AB Gupta, along with his brother Nikhil Gupta went on a pizza binge and tried pizzas from a bunch of different places in Delhi. Soon, they realized that there was a dearth of good gourmet pizzas in Bangalore. Then came the realization that he should start with something for the Bangaloreans. AB, with Nikhil Gupta, started with their own pizzeria known as The Pizza Bakery in 2017.
The Pizza Bakery brings a host of authentic pizza styles to the growing pizza-loving audience in Bangalore.
In Conversation With AB Gupta Of The Pizza Bakery
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, AB Gupta talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind The Pizza Bakery, challenges in running the business, marketing strategy and a lot more.
The Story Behind The Pizza Bakery
The Pizza Bakery serves up the Original Neapolitan 11-inch hand-tossed Sourdough Woodfired Pizza. Not many people have heard about this particular type of pizza. In addition to their signature pizzas, they serve a range of gourmet appetizers, pasta & desserts.
According to Gupta, he decided to set up The Pizza Bakery in Indiranagar because when they started, Indiranagar was coming up as a high street and they saw the opportunity where they could flourish efficiently.
There were not many outlets at that time serving pizzas, so the product positioning also made sense. Product Positioning helps the sellers to communicate the attributes of their product effectively to the target customers. It is the value of the products which helps it to stand out in the competitive market keeping in view the customer’s demands.
People don’t usually get excited when it comes to dealing with a boring set of legislation. Obtaining licenses and permits is very time consuming and prevents you from focusing on growth. Another reason why it is beneficial is to guarantee the stable and strong financial health of your business. According to Gupta, dealing with various government departments to acquire licenses is a task. The licenses range from the basic FSSAI License to Signage License to market your restaurant.
Another challenge is staff attrition. A high turnover rate can be costly. When you think about your investment in recruiting and training employees and only having them stay on for a short period of time, you are not getting back a return on your investment.
According to Gupta, word of mouth marketing works best for them and is the most cost-effective and productive way to attract and retain customers. In a world that’s grown increasingly tired of traditional forms of outbound marketing, the recommendation of a friend or customer can be far more compelling than a banner advertisement or TV commercial.
The food industry is up and prospering with the support of technology. There is a massive development of technology which aids the restaurants and food delivery businesses alike. Every business owner in the restaurant sector aims to have a highly organized mobile application and impressive online presence so that they attract large numbers of people in a short time span.
The food industry is no longer a solitary venture. With the rise of several online players in taking/delivering ordered food to the doorsteps of the customers, the restaurants can sit back and relax while the third party delivery apps make it easier for them. Integration with online platforms such as Zomato has helped them to attract customers. Zomato helps the restaurants to build their online presence which further aids in digital menu viewing and online ordering.
‘Patrons usually discover new restaurants on Zomato,’ says Gupta.
They have also done event-based marketing and promote their dishes through Instagram as well. The Pizza Bakery has a monochrome theme which is Instagram worthy. It has a nice airy ambience, bolstered with peppy music. The urban vibe of the place and the location is unmistakably good.
Gaining Customer’s Trust
Customer satisfaction is all about understanding the needs of the customers and providing them with what they expect without being too intrusive.
According to Gupta, the primary importance should be given to the food. Even if restaurateurs lag behind in other departments, it is important to offer good food. Serving quality food can earn your restaurant a good reputation and compel your guests to return.
‘Customers are very forgiving,’ says Gupta.
The patrons are mainly concerned about the food. They would ignore the wait time taken for preparing the food even if it is too long if the food offered is of premium quality and gratifying. So, it is important to get your food right.
The decor and ambience is an add on to good food. It helps in enhancing the overall customer experience.
Creating An Experience Around The Product For Customer Success
Opening a fancy restaurant does not create any significant differentiation between the restaurant and moreover, it is not a lasting recipe for success. It is important to create an experience for the customers around the central product of the restaurant rather than only focussing on creating a fancy experience for the customers.
‘In order to succeed in the foodservice industry, it is imperative to create experiences around the product,’ says Gupta.
Gupta believes that they are doing justice to their product positioning and revolving their menu about the central product of the restaurant, which is pizza. The Guptas were clear that they wanted to make a Neopolitan style sourdough pizza just as they have in Naples. They have an Italian chef Antonio from Sicily as a consultant. Antonio helped them with their dough, they were told that they use a very little box of yeast, have their own starter for a live culture for their secret dough, custom-made flour, and they rest the dough for 24 to 48 hours for its welcome puffiness. This helped the pizza to be more authentic.
Gupta explains that he wants The Pizza Bakery to be an internationally recognized gourmet pizza chain with high-quality pizzas at an affordable price. Gupta concludes the conversation by saying that he plans on expanding The Pizza Bakery and their outlet at RMZ Ecoworld is open now. They are soon to open in Colombo, Sri Lanka as well!