Pizza Express’ kitchens served up some 21 million pizzas in the UK last year, the equivalent of more than 57,000 a day, its managing director has revealed.
The chain famously uses three-deck electric ovens from Swedish manufacturer Sveba-Dahlen, which is now supplied by Jestic in the UK, and the kit has proved itself more than capable of coping with the huge daily throughput demanded of each site.
“We now operate 475 restaurants in the UK and Ireland, and we employ over 11,000 employees. We serve four million Piccolo [children’s] meals every year, so huge importance to the family market. Last year we served over 21 million pizzas in our restaurants. That’s just for pizzas in restaurants, it excludes delivery and it excludes other main meals.”
Pizza Express’ dough balls have acquired iconic status in the casual dining market and Mrs Bowley said that 40 million of those were baked in its kitchens last year.
Perhaps more remarkably, she revealed that it sold 35 million boxed pizzas via the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s. “Ironically we now sell more pizzas through supermarkets than through our restaurants, so we’ve got a huge grocery business in its own right.”
The first Pizza Express opened in Soho 53 years ago and today it operates six equity markets after buying back franchises in places such as the UAE, China and Hong Kong when Hony Capital acquired the business in 2014. On top of that it operates 46 branches in seven countries for franchise operations.
“We are truly moving towards being a global business and we have got a global CEO and a global CFO and then dedicated teams running the market,” explained Bowley, who was speaking at yesterday’s Casual Dining Show. “We are more connected internationally than ever before, but in the UK we have a big responsibility, as the home market, to ensure that we are relevant for the future both here and in our international markets.”