PizzaExpress planning to launch pasta delivery brand

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

PizzaExpress planning to launch pasta delivery brand to help recoup Coronavirus losses

Related tags: PizzaExpress, Pasta, Coronavirus

PizzaExpress is reportedly planning to launch a pasta delivery service in a bid to try and mitigate some of the losses caused by the Coronavirus crisis.

According to the Financial Times​, the group is considering introducing the delivery-only service as a separate brand to its pizza business.

It is said to be eyeing a UK launch of the brand within the next couple of weeks, and plans to operate the new service alongside an existing delivery agreement with Deliveroo.

This follows reports last week that PizzaExpress is believed to be considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which would allow it to exit some or all of its loss-making sites.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the group said that fewer than ten of its 470 UK restaurants were loss-making. However, the ongoing crisis is understood to have forced the firm to evaluate options for ensuring its future viability, and a CVA is one of several possibilities being considered. 

The future viability of the company has been in question since May 2019 last year, when filings showed that the group made a pre-tax loss of £55m in 2018​.

It was also revealed that PizzaExpress had debts of £1.12bn, including around £400m from a loan provided by its parent company, the Chinese-owned private equity group Hony Capital.

Responding to the reports last week, a PizzaExpress spokesperson told BigHospitality​: “Our priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic remain clear - to look after our teams, to protect the business for the long term and to re-open successfully when the time is right.

"While planning for the future, we will undertake a comprehensive review of our business encompassing our restaurants, including the roll-out of Future Express, and planned digital innovations.

"When complete, and hopefully with greater clarity around how our restaurants can re-open safely, we will take the right steps to ensure PizzaExpress’ next 55 years are as successful as the last 55 years.” 

Having closed its entire UK estate back in March due to the Coronavirus lockdown, PizzaExpress has begun a phased reopening of its restaurants​, with a select number of its sites in and around London reopening for delivery last week. 

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