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Open kitchen takes centre-stage as Pizza Express unleashes new ‘test and learn’ format

Pizza Express Global Innovation Centre 3

Pizza Express today unveiled a new brand proposition that places revamped open kitchens at the very heart of the concept.

Having being one of the first to make its kitchens visible to customers, the new set-up will see the kitchen repositioned to take centre-stage at the heart of the restaurant, bringing the theatre and authenticity of its pizza-making to the fore.

Hues of gold will surround the pizzaiolos at work, with white marble tables and teal and rose furnishings coming together across the main dining area, which surround the kitchen, to make the space inviting for diners.

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The new configuration will be seen first at its Langham Place, Oxford Circus pizzeria, which reopens today after undergoing significant redesign.

The ‘test and learn’ format will also be rolled out in Leeds, as the brand opens its 10th pizzeria in the city. Located next to Leeds Arena, the pizzeria will officially launch in April using the same template as the Central London site.

Both openings will be bolstered by the launch of the brand’s spring menu, which continues to demonstrate Pizza Express’ innovative and forward-thinking approach to its food offering.

Extensive customer research has driven the latest changes, with Pizza Express using the exercise to explore innovation across design, food and drink, and customer experience.

“In-depth consumer and market research has helped us develop a new offering, which not only stays true to our incredible heritage and [founder] Peter [Boizot’s] original vision for the brand, but also helps us understand the critical elements to ‘future-proof’ the business,” said UK managing director Zoe Bowley.

“We’re extremely excited to be unveiling both our Langham Place, Oxford Circus and Leeds Arena pizzerias and look forward to taking learnings from this launch.”

The company’s four key pillars of food, drink, music and creativity are clearly defined at the revamped Oxford Circus site and will inform future openings and refurbishments based on learnings from the launch, the chain said.

The pizzeria will also be one of the brand’s first to introduce a defined bar space, which has been co-created alongside lifelong partners Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Positioned by the entrance adjacent to the main dining area, the bar area will cater for up to 30 covers and has been designed to increase its appeal as the destination of choice for not just pizza, but drinks as well.

THE BIG INTERVIEW: Jane Treasure, F&B director, Pizza Express

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Andrew Seymour

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