Tag Archives: pizza

Pizza Point Takes on Pizza Hut

Pizza Point is yet another clone of Pizza Hut that has been on Karachi’s foodscape for over a year now but only recently got in the limelight with it’s special deals which it is promoting through scrolls as part of cable TV advertising.

It seems Pizza Point is confident of making it big in the cutthroat food service industry of Karachi, as is evident from the fact that it has already churned out three outlets at strategic locations: Gulshane Iqbal, North Nazimabad and DHA.

The location of the North Nazimabad outlet is by far the best, situated on the Donisl and Cool 90s food street in Block H. The Gulshan joint is the most subdued, an open-air cafesque joint on the road leading to Gulshan chowrangi coming from Mukka chowk –Aisha Manzil.

We visited the North Nazimabad outlet sometime back before they hit the cable TV circuit and we were most impressed by it. Not only is the outlet enormous in size, with two floors and a private dining room unheard of in this part of town, the attention to detail is exquisite. While the interior is not exactly baroque, having the usual pizza parlor arrangement, they’ve made an effort to project an aura of an upscale pizza joint with its elaborate designs.

At the time we visited, Pizza Point was offering the ‘Buy one Large pizza and get a regular for Rs.99’ only through coupons printed in the Homexpress magazine. Either the penetration of Homexpress isn’t much or people have stopped reading it altogether because there weren’t many customers when we visited it.

Pizza Point is yet another clone of Pizza Hut that has been on Karachi’s foodscape for over a year now but only recently got in the limelight with it’s special deals

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 22 Januari 2012

Now they’ve made that deal open to all devoid of any coupon requirements and promoting it through cable TV scroll along with its Triple Damaka offer as part of its Anniversary celebrations.

Now two deals at the same time is not the most effective option. For one, it gives the impression that the brand is desperate to lure customers in and is coming up with all sort of deals because the product itself is maybe not good enough. Secondly, you cannot measure the impact of the individual deals, which one was effective and which one wasn’t.

We opted for their buy one get one for Rs.99 deal and chose their Super Max and Arabic Green Pizza.

The Arabic Green, although not Arabic by any stretch of the imagination but rather more Mexican, was a combination of supposedly Arabic chicken, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos and of course mozzarella cheese. What’s more, it was a delight in every way. Not only was the crust oozing with loads of topping, the taste as well was out of this world. Was the extra rich flavor a result of the garlic mayo sauce on top or a combination of the ingredients, we’re not sure, but the outcome was smashing.

Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan
Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan

One thing though, it was spicy as hell. Although there were jalapenos there, but we feel this was a result of local spices added for good measure. So if you’re looking for a unique ‘unpizza’, you can’t have it better than Arabic Green at Pizza Point.

Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan
Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan

In contrast, Pizza Point’s Super Max equivalent to Pizza Hut’s Super Supreme was a disappointment. It wouldn’t have been had they named it something else or branded a pizza Super Max which was worthy of this name, things wouldn’t be so bad. That’s because a Super Max or a Super Supreme is supposed to be an embodiment of a perfect pizza which has all the ingredients.

Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan
Pizza Point Karachi Pakistan

This wasn’t it. Pizza Point’s Super Max was supposed to comprise of smoked chicken, chicken sausages, pepperoni, beef, smoked veal, mushrooms, green peppers, olives and mozzarella cheese. Just look at the images. Although you’ll see the rudimentary ingredients, not all were there. Even if you ignore their absence, the sparse topping as is evident from the pics is inexcusable.

One of the problems Pizza Hut has been having lately is the lack of covering near the corners. Pizza Point has an excellent opportunity to cover those ends as well with the topping and then promote this as a USP over Pizza Hut.

Taste-wise, Pizza Point is quite similar to Pizza Hut, but not as much as Penny Pizza. We feel the confidence Pizza Point is projecting with its huge set-up and  investment is probably because it has Pizza Hut ex-staff on its team who knows how Pizza Hut make its version, plus it is also banking on the fact that the Pakistani consumer is still enamored by the Pizza Hut’s version of pizza.

Price-wise Pizza Point is quite expensive, almost at par with Pizza Hut. A regular pizza for Rs.620 is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. At this price, why would you go to Pizza Point when you can have the same thing at Pizza Hut?

Maybe this was the reason Pizza Point hasn’t really gone through the roof as yet in spite of good pizzas and maybe this is the reason they’ve introduced these cost-effective deals which have been going on for quite sometime. The question is, will the customer continue to return in the absence of deals and at the actual price?

Pizza Point would also do well to introduce some deals to promote their other products like lasagna, pasta and the sandwiches.

All in all Pizza Point is a good place to devour a Pizza Hut like pizza in an upscale ambience.

Pizza Point Menu

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 21 Januari 2012

Pizza Point’s comprehensive and update menu of pizzas, salad, pastas, lasagna, sandwiches and desserts for Karachi,Pakistan.

pizza point menu 1

pizza point menu 1

Papa John’s Pizza Resurrected

Papa John’s has come up with a new outlet on Rashid Minhas Road and some new deals akin to Pizza Hut to revive its fluctuating fortunes.

Papa John’s opened up with much fanfare 8 years ago at the Do Talwar intersection Clifton. Unfortunately for them, Pizza Hut had already seeped into the psyche of the Pakistani consumer so much so that Papa John’s brand of pizza was rejected largely by the populace.

Unable to afford the exorbitant cost of real estate at Do Talwar, Papa John’s moved into an obscure location on Khayabane Rahat where it gradually carved out a niche for itself.

Recently Papa John’s has shifted gears, opening up a new outlet on the happening Rashid Minhas Road almost adjacent to Pizza Hut, in addition to coming up with a slurry of promotional deals to match Pizza Hut, not to mention a buy one get one free coupons in the Homexpress magazine.

Papa John’s has come up with a new outlet on Rashid Minhas Road and some new deals akin to Pizza Hut to revive its fluctuating fortunes.

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 19 Januari 2012

Although the location is good, the exact position is not the greatest, in fact quite amusing. Papa John’s is housed on the 1st floor of a building, and ironically sandwiched between two ominous organizations: Agha Khan Laboratory and Metlife Insurance.

We tested the facility on a Saturday night, a time which is a rough barometer of the success of a food joint.

The place, although not completely deserted, wasn’t bustling with activity either. This could mean one of three things:

1. the target market is not yet aware of its deals,

2. the deal itself is not that lucrative, or

3. consumers still don’t like Papa John’s version.

The last point is gradually losing steam. There are four types of pizzas en vogue in Karachi: the bakery type, the Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Domino’s. All the rest are clones of these types, with Pizza Hut being cloned the most, and is thus losing its allure.

People want something different, and Papa John’s and Domino’s are the shining knights in armour offering that change. And to ensure that, both Papa John’s and Domino’s are furiously emulating Pizza Hut’s strategy of deals and stuff to capture a substantial chunk of the consumer’s heart.

Major differentiating factor between Papa John’s and Pizza Hut is the dough. While Pizza Hut’s crust is all fluffed up courtesy generous use of baking soda, Papa John’s seems to be completely devoid. It is more like the desi roti which comprises of two layers. The topping is more or less similar to Pizza Hut’s.

The promotional deal Papa John’s is offering right now has a couple of shortcomings, the biggest being you cannot choose of their star pizzas like Super Papa, All Meat and Little Italy with that deal. It’s a bad strategy because if you’re not going to allow your potential customers a trial of your best offerings (which is the real purpose of any deal), how are you going to make them fall in love with your brand for life?

Secondly, the scheme has been going on for too long now. The longer it lasts, the more people will come to take it for granted and refrain from trying out the real menu at the actual prices.

Coming back to our epicurean expedition, we opted for their special deal ‘Papa Choice 2’ which comprises of two regular pizzas (9”), two garlic sauce cups, a pitcher of soft drink, and four peperrocini peppers at a price of Rs.892 inclusive of tax.

For the two regular pizzas, due to deal restrictions we chose Pepperoni Pizzaz which is supposed to be loaded with pepperoni and extra mozzarella cheese, and New Orleans Jazz which comprises of fajita chicken, green peppers, onions, garlic sauce and red pepper sprinkled on top.

Papa John Karachi
Papa John Karachi

The garlic sauce wasn’t really a garlic sauce. It was melted butter with garlic essence. Although it wasn’t bad, it was extremely rich as you would expect butter to be and not for the faint of heart. Sauce would have been a far better option. Peppers were good.

We also tasted their salad bar not part of this deal at Rs.173. It was the usual, the same type you are used to at pizza hut or any other pizza parlour, right down to the sauces, but taste-wise Papa John fared better than pizza hut.

Finally the pizzas. If you look at the complete picture of the pizzas, it will appear that the topping is scarce. Now look at the images of the individual slices and you’ll see the topping is sufficient. Yes, the ends of the crust could have been covered easily with topping. At least then Papa John could have claimed to be one league above Pizza Hut in the toppings department.

Now the taste. The Pepperoni was a bit of a disappointment. One reason was that the pepperoni was razor-thin unlike any we’ve seen or tasted so far, and it didn’t taste fresh enough. Papa John would do well to slice fatter pieces. Secondly the description claimed that the mozzarella was extra but we didn’t detect any generous topping of it compared to our other pizza.

The Jazz fared better than the Pepperoni, although we didn’t detect the garlic sauce essence claimed in the description.

Papa John has a distinct taste which should appeal to the palette of our ‘ever searching for the new culinary experience’ public. Although it has finally realized the potential of marketing its brand, it would do well to market its distinctiveness more aggressively if it is to compete with the likes of Pizza hut and Domino’s.

Papa John’s Menu

Papa John’s updated Menu of pizzas, salad, pastas and sandwiches for Karachi, Pakistan.

Updated menu of Papa John's Pizza

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 19 Januari 2012

Pizza Hut Flavors of the World

Pizza Hut’s Flavor of the World theme is the newest Pizza Hut campaign to hit Karachi. Pizza Hut is offering four different flavors from four different countries under the Flavor of the World theme:

  1. Pesto Italiano- Italy,
  2. Sour Cream and Onion – France,
  3. Mega Pepperoni and Mushroom- America,
  4. Shanghai Chicken – China.

We tested two of the flavors – Pesto Italiano and Sour Cream & Onion. Price-wise they are the same as any other pizza on the menu.

Taste-wise as well, they’re not much different from the usual offering of Pizza Hut.

Pesto Italiano was scrumptious with pesto being used as the base instead of the usual pizza sauce. Pesto is a sauce consisting of usually fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated cheese.

Dikirim oleh Restaurants Uncut pada 19 November 2011

The sour cream and onion was a bit disappointing. And it wasn’t because of mediocre taste. It wasn’t up to the mark because the sour cream and onion which it was supposed to be having by virtue of its name was overshadowed by the addition of sweet corn. Or maybe it didn’t have the required sour cream and onion essence to begin with. We will never know.

Sweet corn in itself is not a bad choice for an ingredient but in this case it proved to be a damper.

The topping on both the pizzas was refreshingly substantial. In fact it would be fair to say that the topping was literally overflowing. It was that good. In fact the best we’ve ever experienced at Pizza Hut.

Overall both the pizzas tasted like any other pizza of Pizza Hut with minor variation. You can’t say the pizzas were different altogether, something you’ve never had before at Pizza Hut.

To set the record straight, we had complained to the floor manager beforehand about the meager toppings that we have encountered on previous visits.

Try Flavors of the World theme by Pizza Hut with a low expectation of uniqueness, because in spite of having a tantalizing taste, it is in fact very much what you’ve been having at Pizza Hut.

Kings & Queens Pizza – Still Standing

Kings & Queen started out as a pizza parlour way back when names like Pizza 2000 were the market leaders with Pizza Hut nowhere in sight. It has now evolved to offer subway type sandwiches,burgers, pasta and even shawarma. Although it claims to have many branches including one in Lahore, the one being evaluated here is a small joint nestled between Pie in the Sky bakers and a DVD shop in one of the obscure sections of the bustling Muhammad Ali Society Food Street.  Short to fame way back in the 1980s with the likes of Kaybees, Vimpy’s and Spinzer, it now has even KFC and Pizza Hut vying for a share of the pie.

Coming back to the location of Kings & Queen on this street, it’s not even on the main street, and if you don’t know what you are looking for, you won’t find it.

About the joint itself, it’s way too small, having just five tables of four jampacked into a small space. But the ambience is good enough.  The interior is aesthetically done with small 1’X1’ paintings donning one of the walls. There’s no question the joint is geared towards the millennial generation, however a family was spotted as well during one of the visits.

The menu should have been printed on a proper card instead of just in the form of a paper brochure. A menu is a crucial element of the brand positioning and it should be given as much importance as the other elements.

As far as the content of the brochure is concerned, it has been wonderfully done, especially the wording. Items have been branded in line with the brand essence of the Café, that is pack of cards. So you have names like Queen of Aces and King of Diamonds for the different burgers and sandwiches. Even the description of these branded items is written artfully to elicit a mouth-watering response just by reading it.  It is very much in the mold of the Copper Kettles and the Arizona Grills. Sadly, that’s where the similarities end as soon as you lay eyes on the food when it arrives.

The subway sandwich could easily have been made a bit bigger. Considering the hefty price tag of Rs.160, you expect something more filling than this. The quantity as well as the size of the French fries should also be better. Hell, they didn’t even coat the fries with the corn flour to make them extra crispy and bulky, something which many local fast food joints have picked up from their foreign franchise counterparts.

The Queen of Diamond burger with double cheese and fried egg on top was a big disappointment. Two problems stood out- one, it was way too small; two- it tasted like the burger of Hanifia instead of a ‘burger’ burger. The beef patty was too desi to support the brand essence of Kings & Queen.

Kings and Queen’s main item, that is pizza, is a mixed bag. The topping including the cheese is generous, the crust is quite good, markedly different from what you get at the big brands. However, there’s something amiss with the taste. One important factor is the cheese itself. Although sufficiently used, it tastes like some inferior quality, just not up to the mark.

We tried two of their flavors. Both were chicken, and one of the things wrong with both of them was that the chicken used was essentially the same one they used in their sub, their sandwiches and everything else. There’s just no difference in the way the chicken is marinated and cooked for different products. What this does is make all their products taste like each other. A branding guru would be proud of this remarkable consistency across product lines but a consumer won’t be amused. If he’s ordering something else, he wants something different. Period.

Their KQ Sandwich, which is supposed to be their trademark meal in the sandwich category, was a major disappointment. Although it’s description in the menu boasted of heaven, a four deck sandwich with sausages and chicken chunks and what not, the real thing belied the description. It had the most basic flaw, that of inadequate filling. This alone is enough to sum up the experience, an experience which cost Rs.155. 

Kings and Queen’s has done a good job of branding and is consistent with it with respect to time as well as location. All the three outlets at Boating Basin, Defence phase VI and Muhammad Ali Society offer the same value and ambience. What it needs to do is built upon this value by tweaking its taste a few notches up. Having a tantalizing aroma wafting through the dining hall alone could see the sales go through the roof.

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