Regardless of the region or climate, age or ethnicity, pizza has become one of the most loved fast food item across the globe. As piquant as a pizza can get, the reality is that Indian market offers a limited range of varieties at over-the-top prices. Determined to find a place that offers a wide range of pizzas to choose from, I started the pizza quest with my fingertips gliding on my PC which ended up taking me to InstaPizza. Looking at the wide range of pizzas that came with a desi twist, I was elated and ended up reading the backstory of the Gurugram based pizza startup!
In August 2014, InstaPizza was opened in Gurgaon’s Galleria Market to compete with three other firmly pizza joints that were already well established. But it didn’t take long for InstaPizza to make crowds flock at their outlets with their desi-fied, healthier, and cheaper options.
“The brand’s core philosophy is ‘India ka Pizza, India ki Values’. Everything about InstaPizza stems from a deep-rooted desire to embody India’s traditions, values, diversity, and uniqueness. From the crusts, flavours, menu choices, and nomenclature to packaging and pricing, everything reflects the brand’s local values and native culture” says Ashwin, Co-founder and Director of Insta Restaurants Pvt Ltd, which owns and runs InstaPizza.
After working for six years as an investment banker in London, Ashwin Jain who was born and brought up in New York, decided to turn his love for pizza into a business. Ashwin’s love for pizza runs deep, he was always spotted either eating a pizza or talking about a pizza, he practically grew up eating pizzas. After returning to India in 2012, he started Instapizza after experimenting with the recipe. After preparing 400 batches of dough, he cracked the perfect recipe and eventually established the chain of Instapizzas in Delhi and Gurgaon.
“I’m not a burger guy, I’m not a taco bell guy, I’m a pizza guy! Pizza has been a part of my life since I was a very young child. When I returned to India, I noticed that there was no innovation in this wonderful food. It was local cuisine for all practical purposes, but all brands seemed westernized,” Ashwin says.
The startup claims to have 14 micro-kitchens across Delhi and Punjab, and a 160-member team. InstaPizza offers pizza that cost as low as Rs 95 while not compromising on the taste and managing to offer the entire spectrum of crusts. Their pizzas are made from fresh mozzarella cheese and one slice is all it takes to fill one’s guts. The many offerings of InstaPizza include New York Style Pepperoni Pizza, Monster Deep Dish, Thin Crust Specials, Chorizo Special, and a healthy Ragi Crust Pizza.
One factor that helped InstaPizza stand out from other food joints was its unlimited topping without charging customers extra, and different crusts from thin to thick to ragi. Ashwin believes that dough is the key ingredient when it comes to pizza.
“It is the starting point that is often overlooked but provides for the integrity of the entire product. It’s like the foundation of a house. I wanted to do the whole unlimited toppings because I want everyone to get what they want without having to pay extra and they walk away with personalized pizza experience,” says Ashwin.
Also, they are very popular for serving the deep dish pizza in Delhi! The idea hit Ashwin when his friend tagged him in a pizza post and asked him to try it out. Ashwin came up with the dish and later added it into the menu permanently due to the positive response received.
Till date, InstaPizza has delivered about five million pizzas and managed to satiate the pizza cravings of traditional and experimental pizza lovers equally. Ashwin says he has put Rs 16 crore so far in the company, and recently raised Rs 10 crore from a group of NRI and HNI angels for expansion. By the end of December 2020, the founders aim to establish 40 InstaPizza locations across NCR and Punjab, including some dine-in outlets.
“We will seek external funding early next year, and our hope is to raise around Rs 35 crore to take us to our goal of 200-250 outlets in 2021,” concludes Ashwin.