Fyodor Ovchinnikov (left), founder and CEO of Dodo Pizza, at the company's tenth anniversary event.
Dodo Pizza is the fastest growing pizza chain in the world, according to market researchers Technomic. Ten years after its founding in Russia, there are already two more brands, and many more are to follow - all based on the company's own digital platform Dodo IS. The company is set to go public in three years. Maxim Kotin, Head of Communications at Dodo, answers FOOD SERVICE 's questions.
The start of Dodo Pizza
In 2011, founder and CEO Fyodor Ovchinnikovch
opened his first pizzeria
in the Russian city of Syktyvkar
with an initial investment of around $50,000.
Ovchinnikovch himself had no equity, only his credit card volume and debt that came from his previous business - a bookstore. A partner invested most of it. From day one, the Dodo team started developing Dodo IS
- its own digital platform, the very business idea.
The three biggest milestones
- October 2011: the launch of the very first module of Dodo IS, the tech platform for managing a foodservice business.
- In 2014, Dodo Pizza opened its first pizza store outside Russia - in Brasov, Romania.
- In 2016, Dodo Pizza became the largest pizza brand in Russia.
The three biggest challenges
- In 2013, Fyodor wanted to raise two to three million dollars to drive Dodo Pizza's growth. But after months of negotiations with venture capitalists, he couldn't find an investor. So he set out to raise money through equity crowdfunding. Experts predicted he would fail because no one in Russia had raised that much capital through crowdfunding. But the campaign succeeded: more than 130 private investors backed Dodo Pizza.
- In 2018, Dodo Pizza launched its first nationwide advertising campaign on television. It coincided with the launch of the Dodo mobile app and the 2018 World Cup - and propelled the brand's growth to new heights with 40 percent like-for-like sales year-over-year. But that rapid growth put a lot of pressure on Dodo IS, the internal tech platform that wasn 't designed to handle such volume. Stabilizing the system was the biggest challenge of the year.
- "Of course, the onset of the pandemic a year ago was also pretty tough for us, with all the uncertainty of closures and economic turmoil," Maxim Kotin said. "Fortunately, we weathered it well and quickly adapted to the circumstances. For example, we launched hot drinks for delivery in just a week, which became our only sales channel for a few months."
10th birthday booth
"As always, our key metrics are live at https://dodobrands.io
," Kotin says. Current: 706 units
(including two Drinkit shops and one Doner 42 location) in 14 countries
. Dodo Pizza system sales for the past twelve months: $400,455,067
Looking ahead to 2031
"We see ourselves as a globally successful group, operating a number of strong brands powered by our technology, across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa - and not just in hospitality, but in other areas too."
A brand with digital-first hotels? Anything is possible, he said
New roof Dodo Brands
"We decided to go beyond pizza in the fall of 2019. Because our expertise is not just in pizza. We know how to create retail concepts, merge IT and operations, build a franchising system and work with strong entrepreneurs. So we will be launching new retail concepts
," Kotin said. These concepts will be based on the Dodo franchising platform, which includes the Dodo IS
digital platform, "our delivery network, quality control, training, communication, financing for franchisee growth and many other things." They're talking coffee shops, sushi bars, bakeries and even bed-and-breakfasts or dry cleaners
. "In 2020, we created Dodo Brands as a holding company and launched our new concepts: Drinkit (coffee shops) and Doner 42 (kebab shops)
"We have something we call Plan 333: 3 Years, 3 Brands, $30 million EBITDA
. This year we're launching in Vietnam and Poland - and we're also looking to grow in the UK, where our first company-owned unit
is showing good results. By the end of this year, Drinkit and Doner 42
should be ready to scale through franchising in Russia
Stock market plans 2024
"In early 2024, we will go public and secure $50 million to $100 million
. Dodo's team members who participate in the stock option plan will get a share in the success of this company. The shares will be liquid and their price will be determined by the market. We will invest the money from the IPO in further development of our business in Russia, China, the UK and other countries of the world, as well as in technologies and the team to build
an innovative, open, global consumer company from Russia," says Maxim Kotin
Plans for the German market?
"Currently, we are focused on our first unit in Munich
. Despite a slow start, it is now
showing promising figures
in terms of weekly sales. Opening a second store in Munich this year is still an option."
Fyodor Ovchinnikov gives a deep insight into the past and future of the fastest growing pizza chain in the world in his speech on the occasion of its 10th anniversary - with big plans in other disciplines as well.