In 1995, Nelson Lang was operating a small pizzeria in Ontario, Canada, when he identified a local need for healthier dining options. So he teamed up with deli owner John Sotiriadis and hatched the idea for what would eventually become Pita Pit. By Jessica Jones
In 1995, Nelson Lang was operating a small pizzeria in Ontario, Canada, when he identified a local need for healthier dining options. So he teamed up with deli owner John Sotiriadis and hatched the idea for what would eventually become Pita Pit.
Basing their entire concept around a Lebanese-style shell, the duo delved into the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) realm by offering a healthy alternative to fast food. Their idea and its delivery was ahead of its time.
“They started with one store in Kingston, Ontario, positioning it right next to Queens University and immediately found their niche,” noted Bill Wilfong, vice president of franchise development for Pita Pita USA. He detailed how several more stores opened in the Lake Ontario corridor before the brand officially franchised in 1997. Their Mediterranean-style menu hit the U.S. market in 1999.
“The U.S. Pita Pit franchise launched in Syracuse, right in the shadow of Syracuse University,” Wilfong said. “In the past two decades the company has built about 70 restaurants in the U.S. – most in close proximity to college campuses. The brand’s healthy, open-late concept really developed a cult-like following with the college population and the company has been able to build upon that.”
Today Pita Pit has more than 650 stores in 14 countries. Locations in the U.S. total 170. Lang is currently the sole franchisor – he bought the rights from Sotiriadis in 2009.
“In the U.S. we are coast-to-coast,” Wilfong said. “But there are still at least a half-dozen states where there is no presence.”
Dominated by grilled meats, veggies and zesty sauces, the Pita Pit menu can be customized for each order. Each pita is made in front of the client, topped with ingredients like roasted peppers, feta cheese or fresh avocado. And the company’s franchise system is extremely personalized too.
“Our startup costs and royalties structure are reasonable and affordable,” Wilfong concluded. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide quick-service consumers with healthy foods – a concept which will continue to stay on trend for a long time.”
For more information on franchise opportunities, visit pitapitusa.com/franchise.
– Jessica Jones