Manhattan Pizza – which has locations in Ashburn, Leesburg, South Riding and Herndon – and luv'nberry have just announced plans to expand operations to India this year, through their international affiliate, Manhattan Pizza Company International Inc.
The company has signed a master franchise agreement with a prominent business group based in Hyderabad, India to enter the Indian Food and Beverage Market, according to Jack Azar, Manhattan Pizza’s CEO. That means an entreprenuer overseas wants to operate under the Manhattan and luv'nberry names.
“We think this may be the first time in Leesburg's history that a pair of our beloved Leesburg restaurants have expanded operations to India or perhaps anywhere outside the U.S.,” said Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd. “I am truly excited for Jack and his partners and I look forward to hearing how successful they are as they expand their Leesburg venture internationally.”
Manhattan’s menu includes items other than its New York Style Pizza, including subs, salads, sandwiches, calzones, souvlaki, gyros and pastas. The same menu and interior design concept will be available at the new franchise locations in India.
Manhattan's more recent addition, luv’nberry Frozen Yogurt, will also be part of the operations in India.
The company is working with an international design firm out of London to develop its concept and brand image, Azar said.
Azar said he’s confident the restaurants will find success in India.
“We are not just another pizza joint,” he said. “We are your friendly neighborhood pizzeria where the food is always fresh and hot and the servers are always friendly.”
The master franchise team from India visited local operations in Leesburg and Ashburn recently to prepare for the pilot launch in Bangalore. They learned business procedures and systems training, observed daily preparation work, got some hand-on experience and met supply chain partners, Azar said.
They also had met with Ashburn Supervisor Ralph Buona, Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd and Loudoun County Department of Economic Development Director Thomas Flynn.
The agreement calls for 35 dine-in and 15 express and food court outlets in five years within the master franchisee’s territory.
Azar plans to travel next month to India to find the initial location and get the process moving. He is also meeting with two groups – one in Mumbai and one in Delhi – that have expressed an interest in becoming franchisees.
“The timing looks optimum and the market still remains an open ball park, even with the head start a [other] few chains might have had,” Manhattan Pizza International Franchise team wrote in a statement.
“We see a lot of scope to grow not only in Tier I cities but also in Tier II cities. We are optimistic and excited to launch Manhattan Pizza into India.”
Manhattan Pizza opened its first restaurant in 1997 in Ashburn.
Azar announced that they will be opening another restaurant at George Mason University in September 2013.