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We expect to be a top 3 pizza brand in India by 2025: Mahesh Reddy, CEO India, GOPIZZA

Thursday, May 26, 2022, 17:49 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

GOPIZZA is a new age pizza brand that uses a mix of AI technology and Robotics to create a fully baked pizza in a few minutes to serve its customers. The Korean brand already has a foothold in the Bengaluru market and is now looking forward to opening several stores across India. In a conversation with Asmita Mukherjee, Mahesh Reddy, CEO India, GOPIZZA informed that going forward the brand will be following the COCO model with strong centralised backend operations across all cities to support outlets ranging from 150 sq.ft. to 2000 sq.ft. of different verticals from Transport hubs, Malls, Store in-store, High street & Residential areas.
 
How are you planning to compete with other global pizza giants who already have a foothold in India in the same segment?
 
Global giants like Dominos & Pizza Hut are well known and established and yes, they do already have a foothold in India. However, these giants have been ruling the market for two decades and we actually compete with fast food brands rather than pizza brands. Be it the size and shape of the pizza, the serving method or the pricing, ours is completely different from any pizza place. 

The brand’s focus is primarily on dine-in with almost 80 per cent of its sales coming from it. It is not a fancy restaurant, but it's like a fast-food joint, where one can go and have the superior quality pizza within minutes after ordering. 
 
In which Indian geo locations are you planning to introduce GoPizza (Tier- I, Tier -II) and why?
 
Our vision is "Wherever customers want pizza, there will be GOPIZZA". We have more than 140 stores in 4 countries (excluding Japan) now. We recently expanded to Bangalore, India and in the next few years, we aim to consolidate our presence across India with stores in Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and some key tier-II cities including Chandigarh, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Kochi and Kozhikode. 
 
What is the USP of GoPizza?
 
Our USP stems from our innovative pizza operations. We invented everything from dough to oven to topping table to robots. With our technology, we can make pizzas faster, and easier, in smaller spaces than any other competitors in the world. This lets us scale up quickly while maintaining quality standards. 

Our pizza prices in India are as low as INR 99. We are already the number 1 brand in the personal pizza market in Korea and we expect to be a top 3 pizza brand in India by 2025. 
 
The F&B industry has become avid users of technology, much more post Covid. Seeing this trend, which new technologies have you adopted in the last 2 years and planning to launch?
 
We use a mix of AI technology and Robotics. The GOVEN, a patented oven just for GOPIZZA Smart Kitchen, can automatically bake an artisanal pizza in 3 minutes and more than 100 in an hour. Its temperature, over 400 degrees (C), and cooking time are regulated through IoT technology for optimal baking quality. GOPIZZA AI, Robotics Technology GOVIS Vision is an AI system that tracks and monitors the quality of the toppings in real-time. It can classify and segmentize all types of toppings and evaluate the quality based on input recipes.

GOPIZZA HQ can track every single pizza quality in real-time globally. GOBOT Station is a pizza processing station with a collaborative robot, called GOBOT. The processing station receives the pizza from GOVEN, classifies the product type (pizza/pasta / other) and recognizes the exact product name, evaluates product quality, and cuts the pizza automatically. GOBOT then drizzles and powders the right sauces according to the menu. Then the pizza is kept warm within the station before it’s served to customers. All the technology we use is developed in house. More than 30% of our HQ personnel specialize in R&D of many different technologies we are developing. We have GOPIZZA Future Lab (for AI and robots), GOPIZZA Parbake Innovation Center (for dough R&D and production), GOPIZZA GOVEN Tech (for GOVEN R&D and production) 
 
Since the Indian F&B industry is ruled by technology nowadays, do you have any plans to launch new technology in that space?
 
For the Indian market GOPIZZA introducing a ‘SMART’ kitchen - every step of Pizza making is redesigned to enable one manned operation in a small kitchen. The SMART kitchen consists of Par-Baked Dough, you just take it out and it's good to go, AI Smart Topping Table, enables AI guided toppings making sure all pizzas are made exactly the same, Goven 2.0, ensures that the pizzas are baked in 3 minutes and the GOBOT Station, a robot that cuts the pizzas and drizzles the sauces. 
 
What are your key short-term and biggest long-term plans?
 
GOPIZZA has a goal to expand to more than 300 locations in the next 2 years. The brand is growing exponentially and plans to have 30 stores this year and over 100 next year in India. With new investments coming in, the company aims to open at least 200 stores within the next two years and is set to be the most accessible pizza in the world. 
 
What are your investment and global expansion plans?
 
Pre-series A, Series A, Series B - every single year we got a new investment. So now we have around 150 stores and we are talking to 50 stores across five countries. Also, it is raising Series C, one-third of which will be invested in India. With that money, the company aims to open at least 200 stores within the next two years. The focus will also be on B2B expansion, wherein the brand partners with businesses like movie halls, and airports, among others. 

asmita.mukherjee@saffronsynergies.in

 
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