PizzaExpress MD: "a brand can never stand still"

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

The redesigned PizzaExpress Oxford Circus
The redesigned PizzaExpress Oxford Circus

Related tags Casual dining Restaurant Pizza

PizzaExpress UK managing director Zoe Bowley has spoken of the need for the restaurant group to ‘elevate’ its offer after 54 years in business.

Speaking at the launch of its redesigned Oxford Circus restaurant​ yesterday (29 March), Bowley said that though many customers were nostalgic about PizzaExpress, it needed to evolve.

She said: “A brand can never stand still. Everyone has a story about PizzaExpress or a residual fondness, but that doesn’t guarantee you fondness in the future.”

The Oxford Circus site and PizzaExpress in Leeds Arena will act as test beds for the redesign of the brand, which includes a larger bar area, that will evolve on a ‘test and learn’ strategy.

Bowley said PizzaExpress wanted to create the ‘sociable pizzeria for the future’, allowing its 11,000 team members to ‘be themselves’ in the restaurant rather than following a strict 10 step service plan.

She added that the group would continue to ‘innovate’ its menu and wanted to remain relevant to more health-conscious consumers. Its spring menu, which launched this month, includes vegan rosemary and garlic flatbread with houmous; a barbacoa pizza with pulled beef; and a vegan mezze pizza.

“We will always lead on pizza, that’s where we have an authority.  [But] we will continue adding to the vegan range to ensure we are relevant to the future customer.”

PizzaExpress is also planning to introduce more ‘curated playlists’ in its restaurants which Bowley said will better ‘match the experience’.

PizzaExpress operates over 600 restaurants worldwide.

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