Bright and dynamic Krishna Gupta is one of the youngest entrepreneurs we have in India. Hailing from a renowned business house, the Lloyd’s Group, leadership and innovativeness are intrinsic qualities to this young man. In 2014, the self-motivated entrepreneur started a luxury arm, called Lloyds Luxury, with the aim of adding a spark to the luxury segment in the country. 1441 Pizzeria is the brainchild of this young businessman. Team Optimist spoke to this dynamic entrepreneur. Excerpts…
Team Optimist: How did you hit upon the idea of 1441 Pizzeria? Why did you choose this particular name?
Krishna Gupta: The idea came to me when I was on a trip to Florence, Italy, with my family. We were walking around and saw a restaurant which had a long queue of waiting customers. After waiting for 60 mins we saw that it was a wood-fire pizzeria serving only pizzas at 5 euros. The pizzas were amazing and I wondered why we couldn’t sell the best quality pizzas in India, cooked on a wood-fire oven, using Italian ingredients at an affordable price. That’s where the concept for the brand came from. The name, 1441 Pizzeria, is the coordinates, longitude and latitude of Naples, the origin of the first wood-fire pizzeria.
Team Optimist: It is often said that food items for Italian cuisine are costly for Indian consumers. How do you plan to make it affordable for the masses at 1441 Pizzeria?
Krishna Gupta: We’ve made it affordable already. If you see the quality of the ingredients we use, they’re the best. Our flour is made exclusively for our use by the best flour mill in Italy. We use the best quality Italian tomatoes in our pizza sauce and one of the best cheeses from Ireland. Besides, we offer unlimited toppings to customers at a single price, which no other restaurant brand does. We plan to continue our top-quality offerings and keep the price below Rs400-450 person, which is quite affordable.
Team Optimist: About 4 years ago, you pioneered the journey of Lloyds Luxuries. What’s your experience so far in the male grooming industry?
Krishna Gupta: It’s been a great experience and a unique one considering that we were the first-movers in this industry and still are the only brand which is operating in the male grooming service space. We’ve seen and dealt with a lot of challenges and have been able to create a brand in India which is synonymous to quality services and products. We’re currently available at 20 barbershops in 13 cities and hope to double that over the next couple of years through franchises.
Team Optimist: Are Indian food brands going to face stiff competition from foreign retail chains in the coming years? What’s your advice to these brands?
Krishna Gupta: My advice is to be smart about business decisions — mainly rentals and locations for the restaurants. Second, one should keep the concept simple. The only way to succeed in the long term and create a brand that will last ages is to be simple and offer the best-quality food. In the end, after all these discount platforms and discount aggregators, customers want good food.
Team Optimist: What are your plans for 1441 Pizzeria?
Krishna Gupta: We plan to expand to 20 more outlets over the next two years. We’re on track for opening 5-7 outlets in the next 2-3 months.
Team Optimist: As an entrepreneur, do you think sustainability is a huge challenge in India?
Krishna Gupta: There are many factors that throw up challenges to sustainability in India. Some are:
- High rentals and expectations
- E-commerce platforms that sell themselves and advertise furiously due to high private equity money for discounts
- Government regulations
Despite all this, it’s possible to create a long-lasting brand if we keep the concept simple and focus on quality food and service. Customers will come back and we’ll see higher brand loyalty and expectations of quality.