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With its easy-to-remember name, Pizza Mizza has already become one of the favourite places among pizza lovers in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Pizza Mizza can now pride itself on rising sales, a growing staff and an expanding base of customers who love its Italian cuisine. With support from EU4Business and the EBRD, this chain of pizzerias in Azerbaijan has boosted both brand awareness and customer loyalty. 

When strict quarantine measures were introduced in Azerbaijan, Pizza Mizza was one of the chains that responded the quickest. Offering 24/7 delivery with a contact-free option and diverse discount campaigns allowed Pizza Mizza to keep growing, perfectly demonstrating how a small business can thrive, even in a crisis, by taking a sensible approach and adapting quickly.

Finding the best marketing approach?

Kamran Mirzayev, Deputy Director of Pizza Mizza, explains why pizza is loved by so many people: “With so many different toppings, pizza is arguably one of the most popular comfort foods out there. It’s tasty, it’s a great addition to a gathering of family or friends, and it’s the perfect ingredient for an evening in front of the TV.”

The first Pizza Mizza restaurant was opened in 2014. Since then, the company has expanded both eateries and employees steadily every year. Over time, Pizza Mizza management could see that further growth was going to need both a comprehensive concept and consistent delivery.

“This sector is saturated and we are competing with established international brands,” notes Mirzayev. “So we needed to establish a brand identity and a memorable concept.”

This prompted Pizza Mizza to seek assistance from the EBRD business advisory programme with support from the EU4Business initiative. Experienced consultants helped the company identify an optimal marketing strategy. Understanding preferences and analyzing the competitive landscape led the owners to reconsider the original Pizza Mizza concept and adopt a different approach to its customers.

“The most important question for us was to identify our customers,” recalls Mirzayev. “By profiling visitors, we were able to gather information and devise a unified approach to deliver one experience in all five Baku locations. One logo with distinctive corporate colours would generate top-of-mind awareness of our restaurants and an association with the best pizzas in town.”

Mirzayev adds: “With ambitious growth plans on the horizon, we are striving to become one of the top pizza restaurant chains in the country and go international, bringing the best home-made pizza recipes to Turkey, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and even the UAE!”

Growing despite a pandemic

As a result of the project with EU4Business and EBRD, Pizza Mizza’s orders increased 30%, turnover jumped 50%, and the company expanded its staff by 82%.

Pizza Mizza has been able to work successfully even during the pandemic and even launched a new branch. During the quarantine period, Pizza Mizza staff were able to respond more swiftly, since they worked only on a takeaway basis. Customer satisfaction was always Job 1 for them.

Pizza Mizza is now ready to break new ground and go digital. The pizzeria plans to broadcast the pizza-making process live. In short, the brand is doing everything it can to be even closer to its customers, who watch the process from any digital device. Mirzayev says this is the best way to draw attention of a large number of people to the Pizza Mizza brand.

To date, more than 300 SMEs in Azerbaijan have benefited from the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme with support from  the EU4Business initiative.