The Invercargill Pita Pit has won a joint franchise of the year 2012 award with a Palmerston North store.
Management and staff at the Tay St store celebrated with Pita Pit's Canadian founder Nelson Lang and Canadian chief executive Chris Fountain today.
The store was judged by Pita Pit master franchise licence holders for New Zealand and Australia Chris Henderson Duane Dalton, who looked for overall excellence in customer service.
The store was inspected a few times during the year to observe customer service, complaints, comments and cleanliness and food supply.
Mr Lang said the Invercargill store scored highly in every evaluation and he was proud of the Invercargill store for looking after the brand.
Mr Fountain said the connection with its community was the key to the store winning the award.
''When customers come in, it's not just a meal, it's a moment,'' he said.
Pita Pit has 27 trading stores in New Zealand and there were plans to open another 20 during the next year, he said.
New Zealand was the third biggest country the business operated in.
Invercargill franchise owners Neil and Denise Andrews, of Invercargill, were delighted to have beaten other stores, particularly those in big cities like Auckland.
''Go the provinces,'' Mrs Andrews said.
She praised the staff and said they were the reason the store had won the award.
''We couldn't have done it without them,'' she said.
She said it was a community involvement that made the business such a success since it opened in November 2010.
Mr and Mrs Andrews will open the first Dunedin Pita Pit in February next year.
- The Southland Times