Despite inflation challenges, PITA Mediterranean Street Food, the fast-casual Mediterranean food franchise led by founder and CEO Nour Rabai, is experiencing increased sales and attracting new customers.
“Considering we have been in business for over a decade, this is a unique phenomenon to encounter and is counterintuitive to what you would expect,” says CMO Mike Carino. “Here we have rising inflation weighing on consumers’ purchasing power, yet we are seeing increased sales and a change in consumer behavior.”
The company began noticing the demographic change in its customer base in April. “Our weekend traffic began picking up,” he says. Because of PITA’s price point, the casual restaurant falls neither on the lower end nor the higher end. “We fit nicely in the middle, and we are attracting a higher income consumer that typically goes out to eat on weekday nights or weekends to their local Mexican restaurant or favorite pizza joint,” says Carino. “This is often a family or a big group of friends getting together, and they consider us an affordable option.”
Carino attributes PITA’s Mediterranean cuisine as being a drawing card as well. The uniqueness of Mediterranean dishes is sparking interest. “When consumers get a little tighter with their food budgets, they tend to want to look for something new and different. Basically, consumers start to explore the options, and we’re capitalizing on that right now,” Carino adds.
Although PITA Mediterranean Street Food’s highest concentration of casual-style dining options is in the suburbs of Atlanta, other locations in Covington, Carrollton, Macon and beyond also are seeing the demographic shift and increased sales.
“We expect to see sales continue to increase as people return to the office and get back into routine. We anticipate that our lunch business will grow across all locations as this happens,” says Carino.