While Pizza Hut closes 29 restaurants
Fresh from shedding restaurants and close to half its value, Italian chain Zizzi is following its High Street ancestor Pizza Express into supermarkets. It brings three frozen pizzas into Sainsbury’s, comprising of a margherita, the same pizza topped with pepperoni, or the same pizza topped with jackfruit pepperoni.
The diversification is an insurance against COVID-19’s impact on high streets and their restaurants, though Zizzi, its sibling Ask, and particularly Pizza Express were particularly vulnerable not to a pandemic but to a fragile business model which leveraged private equity debt against restaurant expansion. For the last three years, through a combination of increased rent and business rates, rising food and labour costs, increased competition, and Brexit, their number and status was already diminished. Pizza Express’ own, much more extensive foray into supermarkets with its dough balls and the majority of its pizza range likely took the shine of its restaurant experience, alongside the heavy discounting and voucher bonanza that it introduced through the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Another pizza competitor is also being diminished further, as Pizza Hut closes 29 restaurants at the cost of 450 jobs, according to the Guardian. Three of the 29 are in London. [Guardian]
And in other news...
- Tooting Market reverses the eviction of Caribbean food stall The Lone Fisherman. It had originally evicted Chris Smith’s Jamaican fish specialist at three days’ notice, after a police drug raid at the market.
- Sir Terence Conran, a London restaurant visionary, has died at 88.
- Bloomsbury restaurant and wine bar Noble Rot’s new Soho restaurant will be run by Alex Jackson, former chef-owner of Sardine, the Provençal restaurant in Angel.
- 66 Wetherspoons employees test positive for coronavirus across 50 pubs, while founder Tim Martin maintains that they are safer than being at home. [Sky News]
- Boris Johnson’s “illegal, but, you know, whatever??” actions with the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement have prompted a tit-for-tat with the EU over U.K. food exports. [BBC]
- Private equity firms’ next great hope after ruining restaurants? Hovis. [Sky News]
- Good tweet:
I love IPAs!!! Your palate isn’t a personality why do we do this— alicia kennedy (@aliciakennedy) September 13, 2020