It's probably better off sticking with jazz
Agreed. Except we’re not talking about rap music but wraps of the edible variety. PizzaExpress is - quite literally - rolling out a new range of pizza wraps in a bid to pull in younger diners and take a bigger slice of the lunchtime market. The wraps are part of broader changes at the nearly 500-strong casual dining group, including an overhauled brand identity and a new loyalty app.
Slice? That reminds me of something...
That would be the casual dining giant’s ill-fated pizza-by-the-slice concept Za. Launched in 2019 and shuttered less than a year later, it was a play for a similar market with managing director Zoe Bowley saying at the time she wanted to keep PizzaExpress “relevant in a fast changing market”. Fast was then and still is the operative word, with grab-and-go and fast casual restaurants growing much quicker and in general performing better than its casual dining peers.
What about the wraps themselves?
Available from Monday to Friday until 4pm, the five wraps are based on existing PizzaExpress pizzas, including the American Hot, the Padana and the Sloppy Giuseppe. It’s not yet clear whether the wraps - which bear more than a passing resemblance to McDonald’s Apple Pie and are packaged in a similar way - will be made in-house or produced centrally (one suspects the latter given the need for speed). They are currently available for collection and delivery only but will be available to eat in from 1 March.
What’s the damage?
The wraps are priced competitively at around £6 each or £9.50 with a side salad. Going by calories, a wrap is roughly half the size of a standard PizzaExpress pizza. In a further and presumably linked play for the lunchtime market PizzaExpress has launched a separate virtual brand called Lunchbox by PizzaExpress which offers a tight selection of lunch time deals. The proposition is equally competitive, offering a 9” ‘piccolo’ pizza with a side of doughballs and a salad for just £8. At the time of writing the wraps aren’t featured but it seems likely they will eventually be part of the selection.
Are the wraps likely to be a success?
They could well help PizzaExpress take on the many brands that are currently able to undercut it at lunchtimes and also make its offer more appealing to people that are in a hurry. But by giving diners a much cheaper lunch time price point the brand risks cannibalising its average spend per head. We’re also not sure about the need for a more ‘hand held’ take on a product that many people already eat with their hands.