Pizza Vs Injera: Selling Italian Food In Ethiopia

Pizza Vs Injera: Selling Italian Food In Ethiopia

From How We Made It In Africa

When he returned to Ethiopia after studying abroad, award-winning pizza chef Cristian Dell’ Edera struggled to find a good pizza restaurant in Addis Ababa. So he started his own Italian-themed pizzeria 18 months ago. “I wanted to give Ethiopians real Italian pizza,” says Dell’ Edera.

But selling pizza in a country where traditional foods are very popular is no easy task. Ethiopian dishes comprising injera (a spongy pancake-like flatbread that doubles as cutlery) and spicy meat and legume-based stews are hugely popular across all age groups and social classes.

“The big challenge here is not a battle with other pizzerias. Injera is still the number one food here,” he explains.

At Cris’s Pizza patrons can enjoy pizzas and pastas with cheese and ham imported from Italy. It mostly attracts “people who don’t argue about the price” drawn from the city’s emerging middle class and elite. Large pizzas sell for between US$7 and $12.

“Our goal is not to attract high-income clients only. We want all people to be able to eat here so we have low-priced foods from 20 Birr ($1). We offer, for instance, a mini-sliced pizza the size of a book which sells for around 50 Birr ($2.50) and comes with a drink. It is especially popular among students. We have made sure that if you find any one pizza expensive, you will still have a choice of something else,” he says.

Fasting seasons

The chef also had to adjust his menu to fit Ethiopia’s social-cultural realities. Orthodox Christians account for a large percentage of Ethiopia’s 94 million population and they observe long fasting seasons. While fasting, they do not consume animal products like cheese and milk. As a result, during these times his restaurant receives fewer clients.

Read more at How We Made It In Africa