PHOTO: Pita Pit. SUPPLIED
According to STUFF Pita Pit outlets seem to be closing here, there and everywhere, but its management says it’s not the end for the fast food franchise.
At least two Christchurch Pita Pit outlets have closed recently, as well as a handful in Auckland, including one in the popular Sylvia Park mall complex, two in Wellington and another in Redwoods, Rotorua.
Some Pita Pits, including the Warkworth outlet, are also temporarily closed.
But while the chain appears to be going through a shake-up, chief executive Duane Dalton says it is still committed to growth.
The permanent closures were due to shops coming to the end of their leases, the need for earthquake strengthening and – as in Sylvia Park – the impact of Covid-19
Warkworth Pita Pit had temporarily closed due to difficulties finding enough staff.
One Pita Pit worker said some franchises had been severely affected by Covid-19 and the reduced foot traffic in certain CBD locations that came from more people working from home.
Christchurch had been particularly affected but Dalton said there was no truth to talk of Pita Pit exiting Christchurch by the end of next month.
Dalton said the Christchurch business had “changed greatly over the years”.
“We bounced back extremely strongly from the earthquake with a great group owning multiple stores, however, there has been a rationalisation of stores,” he said.
Some former employees had become owners. Pita Pit re-opened its Sydenham store in Christchurch last month.
Pita Pit had plans to reopen up to six more outlets in the next couple of months, and the business was committed to growing its retail footprint, Dalton said.
Despite the ebbs and flows, Pita Pit had a “great year” in 2022 and had recorded its highest turnover week since it started – and its highest average same-store sales year-on-year.
Like many businesses, Pita Pit had grappled with reduced foot traffic and trade, particularly with outlets located in CBDs, as office staff worked from home more often, Dalton said.
“Unfortunately, we are not immune however we have diversified through Covid successfully resulting in some of our best financial figures to date, but also saving the closures of more than 10 locations.”
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