Today brought a series of tweets from the fabulous pizza chain, Naked Pizza Kenya that communicated their exit from the pizza business.
- It’s with sadness that we closed for the final time yesterday & wanted to say a BIG THANKS to our fans, customers, suppliers & Tribe!
- For 3 years, 6 months, 1 week & 4 days, we had the pleasure of serving over 200,000 pizzas and made more than 100,000 deliveries on time.
- We’re incredibly touched by the kind words & memories so many of you are sharing about getting Naked*. Asante sana!
- We’ll miss (most of) you, but all good things must come to an end! 🙂 And for the record, our operations are being taken over by Pizza Hut.
This was bit of a shock, as Naked Pizza was one of my favorites pizza places in Nairobi. They had fresh pizza in which you could taste all the real the ingredients and this was backed by friendly staff and efficient service They employed a super delivery model that promised and delivered pizzas with a target of 15 minutes.
A glance at their witty Twitter account showed a living breathing company in touch with its products, services, and most important, its customers. The tribe (staff) handling it were fluent in pizza, engaging in chats about their pizzas, delivery locations, ingredients (pineapples from Thika), and health aspects (gluten & fat content, and suitability for people with diabetes). They also celebrated high-profile guests, deliveries to customer offices, and their vendors (kopokopo, safaricom etc.)
- We don’t deliver to Gigiri – unless you work at the UN or US Embassy! We just can’t get to the rest of it in 15 minutes ( Jul 17, 2013
- Today we start delivering to State House & Arboretum (in addition to the other areas we get people Naked*)! cc: @sunnysunwords (*Pizza) Aug 23, 2013
They also tweeted their challenges like when police arrested their delivery bike riders, when their generator or phones lines failed, or when armed county health officers raided their restaurant a few weeks after they opened.
But clearly, they had challenges, starting with their location. They had just one location in there first, horribly situated in an office block with no parking, and far from any other mall. I’d often park at Sarit Center, have errands and meetings, then walk to Fedha Plaza, about 1/2 Km away as the building had no parking. They did well with the site and they later opened a restaurant at Mombasa Road to serve the other side of town. While right from the start, they had demand from customers, near and far – with requests for pizzas from as far as Kiambu, and (the state of) Rongai, they never got to reach them. If a location did not fit their 15-minute radius, they turned down orders.
They also did not have the discounted or free pizzas that many Nairobians demand and which other chains do on some days (Terrific Tuesday, Pizza Friday), or evenings (happy hour).
When they raised their prices last October, I emailed Naked Pizza and Ritesh Doshi wrote back with some interesting insights about the evolving pizza market in Nairobi, one which he said bigger brands would survive. More on that later ..