Today we talk to Sky Qian, Director of Operations at Annie’s, one of the longest-serving Western restaurants in Beijing and still in contention for the championship in this year’s balloting.
What’s your style/pizza philosophy?
Pizza has to be round, this is our main philosophy.
In a market crowded with over 100 different pizza shops, what do you do to stand out?
In any market what really works always is quality, innovation and the right promotion. Take care of your customers, new and old. Be confident and don’t be afraid to change. We have almost 16 years of experience – we opened our first restaurant back in 1999!
As Annie’s is a company that runs nine restaurants, we have the necessity to import large quantities of food, and we are able to choose high quality ingredients that would otherwise be too expensive. Also, having a huge staff allows us to provide a substantial catering service. Last, but not least, in 16 years of activity, Annie’s has developed a unique experience tailored to the taste of Beijingers. We grew up with our customers as a company, which for us is the meaning of family. Some people might think that running a big company like ours is like running a factory but that is simply wrong, for all the reasons I listed previously.
What would you say your style is?
Roman, the classic Italian pizza. What we want to offer our customers is a family restaurant environment: Very laidback with homemade style dishes.
What’s the secret to your sauce?
It is a secret, if I tell you it won’t be anymore! Alternatively, the secret is LOVE. Also, we import our sauce directly from Italy.
What kind of cheese do you use?
Imported mozzarella cheese directly from Italy is a must for us. We want to keep it traditional!
Tell us about your standard pizza.
Name: Margherita thin crust.
Thick or thin crust? Thin.
Type of sauce? Italian imported tomato sauce.
Type of cheese? Mozzarella.
What other things make it special? Fresh basil leaves. The margherita pizza is handmade, very basic and simple, so as to allow all of the ingredients to come through.
What sizes does it come in? Small size, 22cm for RMB 38, and big, 30cm for RMB 48.
Tell us about your most unique pizza.
Name: Annie’s Pizza.
Thick or thin crust? Thin crust.
Type of sauce: Italian imported tomato sauce.
Type of cheese: Mozzarella cheese.
Additional toppings: Sausage, bacon, salami, grilled onion, and chopped up chilli peppers. It’s the meat lover’s pizza!
What sizes does it come in? It comes in small: 22cm for RMB 56; and big: 30cm for RMB 66.
Hungry for more? Compare and contrast some of Beijing’s best pizzas in the Beijinger’s ongoing Pizza Profiles series.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on November 13, 2015.
Photos courtesy of Annie’s