Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Royal China’s Ishann Dhawan Spearheading Global Pita Sandwich Chain’s Indian Foray

By Sourish Bhattacharyya

SUBWAY has competition round the corner and it is shaping up in the soft-launched DLF Cyber Hub, the food-only mall in Gurgaon with 44 brands vying for your palate and wallet. Kingston,
Pita Pete is the central character of the Pita Pit
marketing campaign. The Canadian pita sandwich
chain is making its national debut in India at
the Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, in November. 
Canada-headquartered Pita Pit, the QSR chain that has turned freshly made pita sandwiches into a global commercial opportunity, is opening in November at an advantageous spot at the Cyber Hub — at the ground floor level in the company of Dunkin Donuts and Zorawar Kalra’s Made in Punjab.
Being brought into India by Royal China restaurant’s co-promoter  and University of Manchester alumnus Ishann Dhawan, Anun Dhawan of Mentor Hospitality and Virat Mohan, Chief Executive, Perfect Ice, the chain is hugely popular among students and young professionals, especially those who are up working or partying till late at night, because its outlets offer hot and fresh hunger-busters at wee hours.
Founded in 1995 with a store in Kingston, Ontario, by Nelson Lang and John Sotiriadis, Pita Pit is famous for its low-carb and whole-wheat pitas, which it packs up with fresh vegetables, falafel, cheeses, babaganoush and hummus as well as grilled meats (from chicken souvlaki to black forest ham) and a choice of dressings (from Thousand Island to Ranch). Pita Pit expanded into the United States in 1999 and now has 425 stores worldwide in countries as disparate as New Zealand, Panama, South Korea, Trinidad & Tobago and Brazil. It is now in the process of expanding its footprint to locations in Australia, France, UK and India, where Mentor Hospitality is the master franchisee for the north and east.
“Most people desire a healthy lifestyle but never find the time, money or dedication required to achieve it,” says Anun Dhawan in his LinkedIn profile. “This is where Pita Pit comes in.” Anun has degrees in business and finance from the London School of Economics and Cass Business School, which is affiliated to the City University London. Virat Mohan also has the same degrees and, as the Pita Pit website informs us, they have completed their stint together at the chain’s international training centre in Kingston, Ontario.
Will Pita Pit be able to able to replicate Subway’s Indian success story with its competing fresh and healthy brand positioning? Keep on reading Indian Restaurant Spy to find out more.