Pizza Express planning to open 50 new restaurants

Pizza Express said it was “on track” with plans to open 50 new restaurants to recover from the heavy burden of the pandemic.

The restaurant chain, which entered the pandemic with heavy debt, has cut more than 70 restaurants and around 2,400 jobs since the Covid break-in as part of restructuring efforts to get them on the road to sustainability.

The group completed a £ 335 million refinancing in July after being acquired by bondholders.

It hired former Wagamama boss David Campbell as CEO and former Asda boss Allan Leighton as chairman to lead its turnaround plan.

Mr Campbell said the group “traded heavily” through its delivery and click-and-collect services during the last lockdown.

He added, “2021 was an unusual year, but one that was transformative for Pizza Express.

“Our core business, dine-in, has developed well since the restrictive restaurant was reopened.

“We are very encouraged to see that the combination of product innovation, improved service, better marketing – especially on digital platforms, lower discounts and prices at the 2019 level – has driven our outperformance compared to the market.”

The company said it had sales of £ 182.5 million in the eight months ended September 5.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were £ 22.2 million.

The company said it is on track with its plans to open 50 new restaurants, with a new Cannock location slated to open later this month, and 300 existing restaurants over the next three years.

Pizza Express highlighted that its Hong Kong and UAE stores are now trading “profitably” but expects these to remain under trade restrictions for the remainder of the year and the potential to continue into the first half of 2022.

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