With multiple dishes and cuisines on platter, Foodies have plethora of options ready to be explored. The wish list and tingling taste buds of these food mongers take them to restaurants and Bistros, offering delicious taste and variety of food. Out of various cuisine options, Italian gastronomy has really picked up pace among the diners in India. So much so, there are research reports that indicate that Indian consumers seem to be patronising Italian cuisine the most, gulping down Pizzas and Pastas.
A flashback reminds us that the first authentic Italian restaurant was Casa Medici on the roof of Taj, Delhi, which opened in 1978. Just because professional chefs and recipes were sources from Italy, it took a while for people of Delhi to get used to the taste and flavor. The modern Italian restaurant only came to India when the President Hotel in Bombay renovated their coffee shop and turned it into a casual dining Italian restaurant named Trattoria. It was indeed a great idea of merging traditions of Trattoria with Pizzeria. Tapping the growing percentage of diners having Italian cuisine, Mikel Rajani came up with Francesco’s Pizzeria.
Restaurant India interacted with Mikhail Rajani, founder of Francesco's Pizzeria to know about his brand and vision.
How did you come up with the innovative name for your startup?
The name Francesco's Pizzeria is named after my friend who happens to be my greatest inspiration.
What is the specialty about pizzeria?
At Francesco's Pizzeria, we serve and deliver the finest artisanal gourmet Italian pizzas. By artisanal, we mean our dough is hand-rolled and by 'gourmet' we mean our ingredients are hand-picked from the best markets. We use San Marzano heirloom Tomatoes for our Pizza sauce, we source our Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, Yeast from Japan, Mascarpone Cheese from Italy, extra – bitter Guayaquil Chocolate for desserts from Belgium, Lady finger biscuits from Italy for Tiramisu and the finest Arborio rice for Risottos from Italy. We also serve handmade pastas prepared using durum wheat, homemade artisanal breads and many more!
Please elaborate about the training process of your chefs and its uniqueness.
We formulated a special Standard Operating Module for each department in our company. For Kitchen SOP and training we begin with:
A) Kitchen Basics: Prevention of Accidents – First Aid, Personal hygiene, Equipment Hygiene, Product Hygiene
B) Kitchen Operations: Chef’s Standards, Culinary History, Kitchen Design & Structure, Culinary Equipment & Culinary Utensils
C) Food Knowledge: Basic Preparation Techniques, Food Supply, Conservation, Nutrition In Food, Additives, Ingredients, Herbs knowledge, Fats & Oils, Italian Ingredients
D) Beverage Knowledge: Coffee / Tea
E) Culinary Operations: Menu Planning
F) Kitchen Administration: Market List, Purchasing & Receiving, Handle Store Requisitions, Handle Repair Order, Log Book & Complaint Handling etc
How many outlets do you have Pan India? What are your expansion plans?
We have 3 outlets in Mumbai as of now, we will be expanding in the coming year to major Tier I and Tier II metros.
What is the business model of your startup?
We always follow product and customerfirst as part of our business strategy. Our brand is not about scaling; it is about capturing mindset and making customers our brand ambassador.
What are the eating options you serve at Pizzeria?
We offer a wide variety of authentic Pizzas and Pastas for our Italian food lovers, some of them being PERI-PERI PANEER/CHICKEN, made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon, this peri-peri mix is a sure shot hit. This is the best seller for our outlet at Lower Parel, The peri-peri mix is the ideal choice for our diners.
Other options are:
Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza For a true pizza lover, who appreciates quality, freshness and attention, we serve Francesco’s favorite Prosciutto and arugula! Topped with prosciutto and arugula handpicked from Italy, this cannot be missed.
Not only does Francesco's offer a wide variety of pizza, but it also delivers a variety of mouth watering pastas from the heart of Italy. A classic Italian dish with mushrooms, spaghetti and cheese!
Is there any tweaking according to Indian palate?
We specialize in authentic Italian Pizzas.
Have you raised any funding so far?
We are in the process of expanding and have been approached by investors. We are looking at this as a viable option. In case we do raise funds, we will consider the same for expansion and research & development for our products and also for key hires.
What has been your A-ha Moment in the business? (The high point)
Our A-ha moment was when we successfully delivered our first pizza using a drone; it was the first time anyone ever did that! Followed by this, were a number of instances when we opened our first dine-in outlet. Delivery vs. Dine-in is a huge market shift, for us it was about maintaining the experience in each.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling-up? How are you addressing it?
Maintaining quality and delivering excellent customer experience to diners is always a challenge for a hospitality company.
We want to speed up our Delivery Service and for the same we are mapping our delivery radius. We will be using new tracking technology wherein our customers as well as our operations staff can track the delivery orders and keep up with time.