Pizza Express will ramp up production of supermarket pizzas as it faces the prospect of zero revenue from its restaurant operations until the coronavirus crisis is over.
On Friday evening, the 500-strong chain closed all its dine-in pizzerias but continued to offer delivery and takeaway in 274 of its pizzerias in line with the latest government advice.
However, as events unfolded over the weekend, and with the increased social distancing being mandated, UK managing director Zoe Bowley (main image) said the chain no longer believe it remains in the best interests of its customers and teams to continue to operate in this way.
“With this in mind, we’ve now taken the decision to temporarily close all our UK Pizzerias including our Deliveroo, Click & Collect and Takeaway service, effective immediately,” she confirmed.
Ms Bowley said Pizza Express would reopen its sites “as soon as it is safe to do so” and, in the meantime, focus on its retail offer.
Few people realise that the company actually sells more pizzas through the supermarket channel each year than its restaurants.
It typically serves up 21 million pizzas a year in its restaurants, but sells more than 35 million boxed pizzas via the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
“We’ll continue to increase production of our At Home range in order to enhance availability of our pizza in supermarkets during this time,” said Ms Bowley.