Pizza in Korea is a unique experience compared to other countries. Pizzas in Hong Kong were generally more premium and had more of a focus on sea food. Pizza in Korea was remarkably different:
- Packaging – unlike the UK or most other countries I have been to for that matter, pizza can come in a four-colour patterned box. Part of the reason for this is cultural, Korea like Japan puts a lot of emphasis on presentation of products from product packaging design to the fit and finish of clothing. A second reason for the quality of the packaging is intense domestic competition: in addition to food mega-corporations Dominos Korea and similar brands also has its own giant brand: Mr Pizza with 350 branches in South Korea
- Product – whilst UK pizzas follow US influences at the low end of the market and faux foodie Italian accents for ‘posh’ pizzas, Korean pizza options incorporate local foods including kimchi and bulgogi on the menu. This is especially true for this brand, though foreign brands like Pizza Hut try to adapt to local tastes too.
About the company
Mr. Pizza was founded in 1990. They have one branch in the US, one in Vietnam, 15 in China and some 350 branches in South Korea.
They created a mockumentary video The true origins of pizza as a satirical viral campaign to promote their brand, (presumably internationally). It considers the dish to be a Korean national treasure. However it did touch a nerve amongst other Asian countries as it’s similarity to Korean nationalist fringes meant that some of the film’s satire was lost to the audience.
The company looked to further differentiate itself to eat-in diners by developing a new store format and sub-brand called MIPIHAUS. The concept of MIPIHAUS is to mix an art gallery environment with their restaurant. MIPI is a contraction of Mr. Pizza and the HAUS is a reference to the Bauhaus art movement.