"Prezzo lost its focus" says executive chairwoman

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Italian restaurant chain Prezzo lost its focus" says executive chairwoman

Related tags: Casual dining, Italian restaurant chain, Italian food

Prezzo executive chair Karen Jones says she is on a mission to restore the struggling Italian brand and “make customers love it again”.

Speaking yesterday (19 September) at MCA​’s Restaurant Conference, Jones said Prezzo had lost its focus on hospitality, and that it was no longer serving customers, something she said she was working to restore.

Jones, who co-founded Café Rouge and who is also the former chief executive of the Spirit pub group, said a key part of this turnaround was being clear about the values the brand stood for, and inspiring staff to be ambassadors for Prezzo.

She also insisted that boldness and change were required to wrest a brand such as 18-year-old Prezzo from its malaise.

“I like tough times – I think your best thinking and work happens when things are really difficult,” she said.

“It separates people who are in it for the love and people who are in it for the money – you don’t do it for an easy buck.”

Jones took reins at the company in April this year, replacing chief executive Jon Hendry Pickup, driven by a desire to turn around Prezzo’s fortunes. “I thought it was a business where the focus on hospitality was somewhat lost,” she said.

“Events had slightly overwhelmed them. Customers have an innate fondness for the brand, but it was not serving them very well. That was the main driver, I really wanted to restore that, make us all proud of the brand, and make customers live it again.”

She added that the turnaround would be focused on key areas – people, customers, differentiation, environment, quality, value – as well as re-establishing Prezzo’s core values. “What are our values? How are we going to work together and how are we going to make sure everyone that works within Prezzo is an ambassador for those values, even when its hard?,” she asked.

“You have to do something different. The thing about if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, it’s true.

“If you want to make a change you have to be bold. Not everything is going to work, but you have to be into the idea of doing things better.”

Related topics: Business

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