When I heard Hatsun (owners of Ibaco & Arun Ice-cream brands, Arokya milk and other Hatsun products) was venturing into Pizza business, I was taken back. Except the fact that they can have their own cheese, nothing else made sense. Later the brand was launched and called Oyalo (earlier used for their sweets as well). Seriously…. Oyalo! for a pizza…. they must be kidding, I thought. We have heard all sorts of fancy names and Italians words used for Pizza brands but this was a new. But when they opened their outlet, I understood the market which Hatsun was targeting – it was definitely not the elite or the urban class. As seen today, Oyalo has made great inroads into the southern parts of the state and has become one of the most favourite pizza for middle and lower middle class.
Oyalo outlets are small joints with limited (or just 1) seating. I have not seen any exceeding more than 15*15 sq feet in size. I have passed through their outlets many times but was never inclined to enter and buy one simply because I thought they dint sound like “Pizza people”. But I was very keen to understand their model. I went to one of their outlet and was surprised to find they were actually selling frozen pizza. Frozen pizzas were already famous in the west but we Indians were always conscious of frozen foods. I was wondering how this worked.
Since it’s frozen, they also had option of having one slice of pizza in the menu. How many times you would have desperately wanted to eat a pizza but ignored it just because you may have to eat one all for yourself? Hatsun had a solution for you. They had several varieties of Veg Pizzas (including some exotic ones with Zucchini, Mushrooms etc). I ordered one slice of Tandoori Paneer which cost around Rs 45/-. They had full pizzas at even more competitive and mouth-watering rates. Only concern was they did not have non-veg pizzas and it made lot of sense considering the frozen model. The set-up was very easy. All the staff had to do was pick up the pizza slice from the freezer box and leave it in the rolling oven with a pre-set timer. Ready to eat hot pizza was out in few minutes. I realized the entire business model made lot of sense.
Low setup cost for franchising
Can be setup even in a small gully catering completely to a different set of customers
One can have just one slice or different varieties of pizza slices
All this has resulted in a very competitive pricing starting from Rs 45 per slice.
Full pizzas are available in 5 inches and 8 inches costing between Rs 55 to around Rs 160.
With rampant expansion by food delivery aggregator's like Swiggy, Food Panda and Zomato, it makes lot of sense to cater to the online customers.
Now coming to the taste, I was surprised again. If you dint know it was a frozen pizza, you can hardly differentiate this one with freshly made Pizzas. The cheese was fresh, yum and melting. Wonder why Hatsun does not have their own Cheese yet in the market! The veggies used were fresh and rightly seasoned. The pizza base was not bad either. It was soft and crusty on the edges. Overall, the value was worth the price, infact better. Few days later I ordered couple of full pizzas online through Swiggy and paid through Amazon (further discounted price and cashback too). Imagine getting two 8 inch pizzas for around Rs 180/- delivered to your home! My kids loved the pizzas and I loved the price. Since then I preferred Oyalo anytime and always ordered online. Except for one instance when the box was damaged, otherwise the pizzas were neatly packed and delivered with condiments. No wonder their outlets these days are crowded by delivery guys than customers.
I always used to wonder why should one pay around Rs 300/- bucks for a medium size pizza…..it was largely for the ambience and the infrastructure. If you had a model to cut down the cost of the infrastructure then you definitely had a great business alternative. Hatsun seems to have cracked this. However, they have to ensure the quality of the product anytime especially considering the franchisee model. Not sure, if they will consider non-veg pizza’s in future. That can definitely increase the customer base. It may be too early to estimate Hatsun’s market share in the Pizza segment in TN and other Southern states, but am sure they are going to give some nightmares to the likes of Dominos and PizzaHuts.