Pizza Express is to reopen 13 London restaurants for delivery only in the next 10 days as it tests the water for a national return to business.
Zoe Bowley, the managing director of Pizza Express for the UK and Ireland, said the casual dining chain would begin with an edited menu from restaurants in “London villages”, including Balham, Fulham and Notting Hill, where it had high demand.
“We will do this to test and learn, and then it will enable us to programme the rollout and ultimately pave the way for dine in the future,” Bowley told the industry newsletter Propel.
“There has been huge rigour around all the right safety protocols so our teams feel comfortable, and then we can really demonstrate to customers how we are looking after the teams and ensure they trust the quality of the pizza they receive.”
Pizza Express was forced to temporarily close all its UK restaurants in March as part of the coronavirus lockdown.
This week, the Moto service station business said it was also beginning to reopen some of its brands, including Burger King and Costa, for takeaway.
On Thursday, it will open a further seven Costa drive-throughs, by which time it will have reopened 27 Burger Kings for takeaway. Greggs and KFC will reopen next.
McDonald’s is to reopen all of its drive-through restaurants by early June, while Subway is reopening 600 of its 2,600 stores across the UK and Ireland. Greggs has reopened a handful of shops in north-east England.
Burger King, KFC, Nando’s, Starbucks and Pret a Manger are also reopening stores through phased programmes offering takeaway and delivery only. The Five Guys burger chain has opened 47 of its 104 UK restaurants.