In the competitive landscape of Singapore’s Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, one name has rapidly emerged as a force to be reckoned with – Gopizza. Touted as Korea’s leading AI-powered pizza brand, Gopizza has not only captured the taste buds of locals but has also left an indelible mark on the market in just three years since its launch. Recently, we had the opportunity to delve into the intriguing story behind its meteoric rise and its ambitious regional expansion plan
n plans, courtesy of an exclusive interview with Kelvin Sia, the regional CEO of Gopizza. Under Sia’s leadership, the company’s presence in Singapore has grown to an impressive 27 stores since its inception in 2020. It also recently opened a new store at Changi Airport Terminal 2 in Singapore. Focusing on innovation “The integration of cutting-edge AI technology throughout our pizza-making process has revolutionised our operations, allowing us to deliver consistent quality and speed, a crucial factor in meeting the demands of today’s fast-paced market,” Sia told Inside Retail. Every step of the brand’s pizza-making process is strictly controlled with technology, from the incorporation of its AI Smart Topping Table to the GOBOT Station and its latest iteration of GOVEN. “Further, strategically entering new markets while ensuring a robust presence in existing ones has allowed us to reach a wider audience, establishing Gopizza as a preferred choice among pizza enthusiasts globally,” he added. According to Sia, AI technology plays a pivotal role in revolutionising its operations and elevating the customer experience. “The AI-powered components, such as the Smart Topping Table, GOBOT Station, and the latest iteration of GOVEN, have transformed the traditional pizza-making paradigm,” he stressed. According to Sia, these innovations meticulously control and monitor each step, from ingredient selection to baking, optimising the quality and efficiency of its pizzas. “With pizzas traditionally requiring at least 30 minutes to prepare, the incorporation of AI tech has allowed the baking time to be dramatically reduced by 80 per cent to just a mere five minutes,” he explained. The speed at which its AI-powered processes operate allows the outlets to serve customers promptly, which is especially crucial in locations like Changi Airport, catering to travellers seeking quick, satisfying meals. “The significance of AI extends beyond just operational efficiency; it directly contributes to enhancing the customer experience. By leveraging AI, we can ensure that every pizza served maintains a consistent taste and quality, irrespective of the outlet or time of day,” he elaborated. Keeping costs low Another benefit of AI tech is that it reduces Gopizza’s staffing requirements. “A typical pizza joint will require about 10 workers to operate, from kneading to baking, while with the incorporation of the AI systems, a Gopizza outlet will only require a minimum of two staff,” he explained. Sia said that the brand produces its own pizza dough in countries within the region to keep costs competitive. “For franchisees, we have kept our set-up fee one of the lowest in the industry at S$10,000. This is a third of what is usually charged for franchise fees for brands of a similar nature,” he revealed. Through its innovative business model, Gopizza is also able to keep set-up costs economical, capping the typical capital outlay at approximately S$40,000 which is five times lower than what is typical in the F&B industry. “Our meticulous site selection strategy ensured that our stores were strategically placed in high-traffic areas with strong potential for customer footfall. This targeted approach to location scouting maximised our visibility and accessibility to our target audience, contributing to the rapid success of these outlets,” he added. The APAC market According to Sia, the company’s growth trajectory in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in emerging markets like Indonesia, is deeply strategic and focused on market penetration while maintaining the company’s hallmark quality and service standards. He said the expansion strategy involves a meticulous assessment of the local market landscape, including a thorough understanding of their dynamics, competition, and consumer behaviours. “By leveraging our technological prowess and operational expertise, we aim to establish a robust infrastructure that can support our growth while ensuring consistency in product quality and service standards across all outlets,” he stated. On the expansion front, Sia is actively pursuing strategic locations that align with Gopizza’s brand ethos and customer demand. This includes further penetration into key urban centres, airports, and high-traffic areas where its rapid service model can excel. “Our focus is to maintain the delicate balance between tradition and innovation, offering classic favourites alongside novel creations that resonate with modern palates,” he concluded.