Pita Pit opened its first store in 1995 in Kingston, ON. The brand now has in excess of 500 stores across North America with over 150 in Canada. They have stores in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the UK. Pita Pit specializes in a health focused, quick meal combining fresh ingredients in a pita wrap. Pita Pit is clearly a success story but growing that fast was not without its challenges.
By 2011 Pita Pit had grown itself into a significant brand management problem in Canada. With an annual spend of less than $20K on corporate approved marketing material, the bulk of the marketing spend was being controlled by individual stores. This resulted in the brand being presented in widely divergent ways (from business cards to signage to promotional programs), often because of both unprofessional design and production methods driven by the desire to minimize costs.
A recently completed overhaul of brand standards was failing to gain traction with franchisees resulting in mixed brand images in the field.
This lack of control and consistency needed to be reigned in and new processes introduced if the brand was to have a chance at sustaining its growth.
Errington Integrated Marketing recommended to the client that the best solution would be the creation of a central, web-based, marketing fulfillment centre. This centre would have several objectives:
Corral rogue buying by franchisees that often compromised the integrity of the brand
- Restricting access to print-ready material
- Franchisees could only make minor changes to approved art work such as the adjustment of an address, price or time
Enforcement of the new brand management standards that would ensure that the Pita Pit brand would be represented in a corporately approved manner across the franchise network
- Compelling franchisees to order only corporate approved materials in controlled quantities
- This ensured that brand integrity was maintained and that materials costs were properly managed
- ErringtonIM became responsible for most of the materials production to ensure brand management compliance
- Optimizing the ordering quantities to provide appropriate and consistent price breaks while matching the franchisee campaign objectives
Establish a materials fulfillment process to optimize usage, selection of the correct materials for the business objectives, and ensure timely materials delivery nationwide – while watching the costs of production
As these changes were implemented, Pita Pit franchisees were mentored on how to associate their particular needs with a particular communications piece or program. This resulted in more efficient use of available resources and more successful and confident franchisees.
ErringtonIM’s further contributions were to provide creative design services, participate in campaign development, and take on full responsibility for production and shipping of marketing materials destined for Pita Pit franchisees across Canada.
In particular, we collaborated with Pita Pit to re-launch their School Lunch program. This included processes, marketing materials, order forms and a unique enveloping system that removed cash handling for school administrators.
Spend on marketing materials grew chain wide in Canada by 8 times in the first year of the program while contributing to a year-over-year growth of corporate revenue of 9% - 3 times the QSR industry growth average.
Brand consistency was significantly improved and, for the first time, allowed chain wide campaigns to be fostered and executed.
School lunch programs grew, with a national launch during the second year of the engagement, resulting in participating per store average increase of gross sales revenues of 15% or more.