Sri Lanka’s Harpo’s to bake pizza across South Asia

The homegrown Harpo’s is famous for its wood-fired Italian-style Pizza. Source: Harpo’s Photo.

ECONOMYNEXT- Harpo’s, the homegrown Sri Lankan pizza and pasta chain, will be expanding into the South Asian region with a franchise, founder and chief executive Harpo Gooneratne said.

“We are already in discussion with potential franchisees, and the opportunities are promising,” Gooneratne said, speaking to EconomyNext.

“An international brand manual is currently being created to list our standards for franchise,” he said.

“Once the brand manual is complete, we will be ready to franchise both locally and internationally.”

Harpo’s is initially targeting neighbouring India and Bangladesh for franchise operations.

Standards will be maintained with constant quality checks, Gooneratne said.

Harpo’s wood-fired Italian-style pizzas and pastas became popular rapidly, and was the first homegrown pizza brand to compete with international franchises like Pizza Hut and Domino’s in the local market.

In turn, it is now one of two local restaurant chains to begin its own international franchise, building on the brand’s four restaurants in Ethul Kotte, Ja-Ela, Nugegoda and Mount Lavinia.

Gooneratne, a former highly sought after DJ, founded the Harpo’s Group of Restaurants in 2004, drawing on his hotel school training and a hospitality and event management career that spanned across the globe.

Harpo’s Group of Restaurants Founder and Chief Executive Harpo Gooneratne

The pizza chain, which was formed in 2007, will continue to add to the brand’s local momentum with the expansion of its fully-owned mobile food truck operation and the launch of smaller pizza parlors.

“Rather than investing in big restaurant spaces, we will be setting up multiple pizza parlors and get more trucks running,” Gooneratne said.

The trucks are available for both private function hires and public events.

The food trucks will expand from Colombo into major suburbs like Ratmalana, Moratuwa, Thalawathugoda and Malabe.

Gooneratne has plans for further expansion of his other brands, such as The Commons Coffee House.

The Commons Rotti Cart, which sells flatbread at the café, will also be open for franchising and further food trucks, Gooneratne said. (Colombo/Dec15/2019)