The Extreme Pita, best known for its fast, fresh, nutritious and large selection of pita sandwiches, is set to launch an aggressive U.S. expansion plan to dominate the healthy dining market.

Started by brothers Alex and Mark Rechichi in 1997, the franchise has grown to 152 locations in North America. Gobbled up by customers throughout Canada, the company also has seven locations in the U.S., and expects to have 180 by the end of 2008.

A Menu For Success
The changing marketplace presents a great growth opportunity for The Extreme Pita brand with fast food hamburger and sub shops over saturating the industry. Unlike traditional fast food restaurants and sub shops, The Extreme Pita does not offer foot-long loaves of bread with just the typical options for filling. Instead, they offer a 2,000-year-old traditional bread staple – the pita. Highly nutritious and versatile, pita is thin and strong enough to be packed with a variety of fillings. The Extreme Pita features a “no rules” menu and can customize every rolled pita to suit the individual tastes of its health conscious customers. Only offering non-processed cheeses, meats, and sauces, all pitas are served fresh or sautéed right in front of the customer.

Popular menu items include the Greek Chicken Colossus, Extreme Club (turkey, ham and real bacon), Philly Cheese Steak, Beef Bistro, Grilled Chicken, Chicken Caesar, and Falafel, and are affordable and convenient for all age groups, with a regular sized pita priced from $4.29 to $6.99. In addition to a pita sandwich menu, The Extreme Pita offers a variety of flat baked pitas, fresh salads, soups, drinks, catering services, and a kids menu. In addition, detailed nutritional information is available on The Extreme Pita website, so that diners can make informed decisions and feel good about what they’re eating.

Extreme Pita’s ongoing success is largely due to a winning corporate team and a close working relationship with its franchise partners. The company has grown at an industry leading double-digit growth rate, making The Extreme Pita one of the most successful franchise operations in North America.

“We have tourists from all over the world in our restaurants asking when we plan to enter their market,” said Alex Rechichi, president of The Extreme Pita. “Our customers are always surprised that Extreme Pita is a Canadian brand. Rarely do brands go south of the border. Usually, we see U.S. brands and concepts go north.”

An Extreme Opportunity

With a franchise fee of $20,000, the initial investment to own and operate an Extreme Pita location is typically $180,000-$225,000 for a standard 1100-1500 square foot location to accommodate 26-30 customers.

Prior to a location’s launch, each franchise partner goes through an extensive four-week training process that covers food preparation, cost management, customer service and profitability. Days before the opening, a store opening team arrives onsite to oversee the whole launch process. The corporate office continues to support franchises by assigning a Business Development Consultant to each location. The consultant spends one day per month in the location in addition to providing ongoing support in all aspects of the business.

Extreme Pita helps its partners boost profitability by utilizing volume-buying power from various suppliers. Their purchasing department is able to secure lower prices for its franchises by negotiating discounts and services from national vendors, allowing franchisees to dedicate more time to their location and other aspects of the business.

Evenly balanced in strip mall/power center settings with a strong anchor chain, high traffic office areas, strong retail and residential areas, Extreme Pita locations are strategically chosen to optimize lunch and dinner traffic. The company has also started opening its doors to the college crowd and recently formed a partnership with Aramark – a leading food service provider to the university market.

The Extreme Pita environment is fun and vibrant. As all food is prepared right in front of customers in an open kitchen setting so employees are not stuck in a hot and greasy kitchen. Sit-down dining usually accounts for 50-60 percent, creating an interactive atmosphere for the entire staff. Locations usually employ a staff of six to eight people.