PizzaExpress to roll out redesign to 15 further restaurants

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

The redesigned PizzaExpress near Oxford Circus
The redesigned PizzaExpress near Oxford Circus

Related tags Casual dining Restaurant Pizza

PizzaExpress says it has scaled back expansion and is focusing on upgrading its existing UK restaurants in the face of “intense competition” in the casual dining market.

The group, which has been owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital since 2014, says its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 7.7% to £32.4m in the six months to the end of June. 

Total UK and Ireland sales increased 0.5%, but like-for-like sales were down 0.2% which the company blamed on 'industry-wide cost pressures'. 

PizzaExpress has been refurbishing its UK estate under its FutureExpress project,​ introducing a more defined bar space and updated service style and uniforms, since March.

Seven restaurants in Marylebone, Chertsey, Wokingham, Blackheath, Putney, Loughton and Richmond have so far been converted to the new model, and PizzaExpress plans to roll it out to a further 15 sites in the second half of the year.

A spokesperson told BigHospitality​: “PizzaExpress is pleased with the performance of the FutureExpress sites so far, although it is still early days. There are around further 15 refurbishments lined up for H2 and the business will take stock over the next few months and plan 2020 accordingly.”

Operators across the casual dining sector are updating their offer in the face of tough trading. Carluccio's launched a £10m Fresca revamp programme​ earlier this year, while Byron will trial a brunch menu and new design​ at its original London restaurant in the autumn. 

PizzaExpress was founded in London’s Soho in 1965 and now operates over 490 UK restaurants, and around 600 worldwide.

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