Having started with wood-fired authentic Italian pizzas, 1441 Pizzeria has diversified its flavour repertoire to include tandoori offerings and a whole new selection of dips too.
Started in 2015 as a pizza specialist, 1441 Pizzeria brought the unique concept of authentic Italian wood-fired pizzas to Mumbai. Today, with branches in Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Surat and Hyderabad, it has extended its reach considerably. But with lockdowns inundating the restaurants industry across the last year, the brand has started looking towards diversifying its business with a new section on its menu and a whole host of new offerings.
It wasn’t the pandemic though, that prompted this shift, the brand had already established a digital presence before the outbreak. “We wanted to extend the scope of our direct reach long before the pandemic hit. In fact, we launched our mobile app a few months before the Covid-19 outbreak. We’ve been building on the technology and are today confident of our back-end, and going forward, want to engage our customers through our app,” says Krishna Gupta, Founder and Managing Director, 1441 Pizzeria.
The lockdown itself brought with it several changes to the restaurant’s business. Their pizzas, made in wood-fired ovens, don’t travel well and would take away from the experience. “We had to tweak our pizzas and innovate on the back-end, so not only would the pizzas be better suited to deliveries but also, the entire process from the order coming in, to the delivery partner picking it up, could be optimised and made a lot more efficient.”
One of 1441 Pizzeria’s USPs is the make your own pizzas concept. To stay relevant and stay connected with customers, the brand translated this into a couple of different versions. “When the lockdown was lifted, and gradually, people started to come back to restaurants, we wanted to make sure the experience remains novel and authentic. So, diners could still choose the toppings, sauce and other ingredients in their pizza, except, they did so through the app, without any unnecessary contact. But given how much the make-your-own-pizza concept is loved by our patrons, we also wanted to make sure that they can get this experience even at home. So, we introduced DIY kits for home too.”
Another major development through the lockdown saw the brand recently introduce Mama’s Dips. Krishna Gupta took inspiration for this from his mother, with whom he shares a close relationship. “My mother and I are very close, but what deepens our relationship is our mutual love for food. She channelled all her creative energy during the lockdown into coming up with these timeless dip recipes.”
The other major step for the brand came in the form of diversification of flavours. “We’ve always done new things and experimented with our offerings. Before the pandemic, we would regularly have themed festivals for diners. So, when this needed to be translated to the delivery model, tandoori pizzas were a great option. It’s popular in India, especially with those that prefer a degree of spiciness to their food. We did some surveys, both with customers and internally, and tandoori pizzas was something that could be introduced immediately. It also made sense from a resource optimisation perspective as most of the ingredients used are common.”
This writer had the opportunity to try out a delivery experience from 1441 Pizzeria with a range of offerings from Mama’s Dips and a pizza each from the new tandoori section and the recommended authentic pizza section.
The packaging was done well and the pizzas arrived hot. Although not usually fond of ‘Indian pizzas’, having enjoyed other offerings from 1441 Pizzeria earlier, I was keen to see what the brand had made of this new direction. And I was pleasantly surprised to have all doubts about authenticity dispelled. The crust, although not wafer thin like most premium pizzas these days, was soft, delicious and baked just right. I’m not one to eat the crust, but with these pizzas, every morsel was worth it. The Kadai Chicken pizza’s tandoori sauce, chicken tikka and green chillies made for a great dose of spice with every bite, balanced perfectly with the mozzarella. Krish’s Pizza, with both shredded and smoked mozzarella, basil, jalapenos, caramelised onions and sundried tomatoes, was more in line with the traditional flavours and provided an authentic experience. I would recommend leaving the tandoori pizza option for later, to leave a lingering taste, even once the meal is done.
Mama’s Dips fit right into the menu and pair extremely well with the pizzas. The cream cheese, jalapeno, pesto and peri peri dips worked excellently, especially with the aforementioned delicious crust. So good were the dips, in fact, that I was compelled to dig up a bag of potato chips to substitute for the pizza, once I was done with them.
While its products seem well aligned for a successful delivery model, the brand is looking to push its own app and technology to ensure logistics are taken care of as well. Aggregator platforms still bring in a sizeable portion of sales, although recently, their own app has been making an impression on patrons. “We’ve struck a reasonable balance with our delivery systems. Aggregators bring in considerable business but we’re also getting great response on our app. As we move ahead and further strengthen it, we’re confident it’ll play an important role in connecting with our patrons,” signs off Krishna Gupta.