Pizza Hut, a division of US-based Yum! Brands Inc, is betting big on India which has been identified by the fast food chain as one of the key markets for its future global growth, says a top company official.
The company, which today opened its 9,000th restaurant outside the US in Mumbai, has already lined up plans to double its outlets in India to over 700 over the next five years.
"Pizza Hut is in 105 countries across the world and we choose India for celebrating this milestone because it is one of the key countries for accelerating the global growth," Pizza Hut International President Milind Pant told PTI.
Presently, Yum! Brands has over 350 stores of Pizza Hut spread over 100 cities in India and are operated by its two franchise partners -- Devyani International and Sapphire Foods India.
"India now has five consecutive quarters of same store sales growth and it's on cusp of accelerating growth. It's always been a big potential market for us," Pant added.
In the July-September quarter, Pizza Hut reported over 7 per cent of system sales growth in India.
Reiterating the potential in India, he said, "There is a huge potential if you take the number of Pizza Hut per million of urban population. Today we have one Pizza Hut for every million people in India. There are regions such as South East Asia where we have 10 Pizza Huts for every million people."
Pizza Hut, which opens a new store every 18 hours, has a global network of 16,500 stores. The 9,000th store outside the US is operated by Sapphire Foods, Pant added.
Besides Pizza Hut, Yum! Brands Inc operates two other brands here - KFC and Taco Bell, and competes with Domino's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts operated by Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd.
Asked about issues faced by rival McDonald's in India with one of its franchise partners, Pant said for Pizza Hut a good partnership with franchise is critical for its success.
"We are in 104 countries where Pizza Hut operates in. We are a 99 per cent franchise model. All our growth is delivered through our long standing franchise partners across the world," he said.
The newest Pizza Hut store in Mumbai shines a spotlight on the growth of the Pizza Hut Fast Casual Delivery Business in India and globally.
"Pizza Hut has grown stronger in India over the last 20 years, and we believe our digital-centric delivery and contemporary, open kitchen restaurants will build the next generation of pizza lovers to further reinforce Pizza Hut as the most loved and trusted food service brands in India," said Unnat Varma, Managing Director, Pizza Hut (India Sub- Continent).