Pizza Express plans 150 delivery sites as it takes on Domino’s and co at their own game

HOVE, ENGLAND - MARCH 31:  British Conservative Chancellor George Osborne (L) takes a pizza he made from the oven as staff member Will Jessell (R) looks on during a visit to a Pizza Express restaurant on March 31, 2015 in Hove, England. Campaigning, in what is predicted to Britain's closest national election, started yesterday. Polling day is on May 7, 2015.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Pizza Express is upping the ante in the UK pizza market by launching a delivery service that it plans to rapidly scale over the next five years.

The service will initially be available to customers in certain central London postcodes, but the chain’s plan is to roll out the concept nationwide.

The initiative got underway this week at several existing restaurants, but it intends to open up to 150 dedicated delivery sites before 2020.

Pizza Express has hired staff to deliver orders on Italian-style battery powered scooters designed for low emissions. It is thought that its move into the delivery market could create as many as 2,500 new jobs.

Customers will be able to trace their order through GPS tracking and will receive a text when the driver is two minutes away.

Richard Hodgson, CEO of Pizza Express, said: “This is an enormous growth opportunity and by extending what we are already famous for — delicious pizza, great service and excellent value — we can bring about a step change in delivery.”

The pizza delivery market has traditionally been dominated by rivals such as Domino’s and Papa John’s, but Hodgson feels there is a gap in the market for the type of pizzas it is renowned for.

“The pizza delivery market is dominated by American-style, thick-crust pizzas,” he said. “Thanks to advances in technology we don’t have to compromise on the quality of our thinner-crust pizzas when in transit and can now proudly bring to customers’ homes the pizzas they love.”

Customers will be able to order from Pizza Express’s regular menu, although several items will not b available after trials found they were unsuitable for delivery.

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