I have always been a big fan of Pizza Express. I think the food has always been of a high standard and in my personal opinion their pizzas are the best around. Meanwhile over the past year or two Pizza Express has become a very voucher oriented eating occasion. It seems to be a cycle they can't get out of. Pizzas for £1. Kids and adults eat for £10. 3 courses for £12 and so on... I understand why this was created, especially in the heart of a recession, but unfortunately for pizza express, the main reason for visiting has become some form of offer. This is made even worse by the fact that Ask and Prezzo are also always giving lots of discounts and vouchers!
They have tried to combat this trend recently through new menus, pizzas with salads in the middle and so on but nothing has really worked, especially on me personally. That was until recently when the Pizza Express in Stanmore was completely re-vamped. Now whilst it looks great, in reality it still serves the same food with the same moderate (at best!) service. What has made a big difference for me is the innovation for children, and it's so simple!
First, they have continued with the Piccolo menu which isn't bad value at £6.25 for dough balls, salad, pizza and a dessert. Then there is a box with a few books and games which anyone can take and enjoy at their tables. Pretty good for young children. But then there is the newest addition... an area opposite where the chef makes his pizzas, where children sit on stools and are given some pizza dough, some flour, a rolling pin and a selection of cutters to play with. When the chef has time he shows the kids how to make a pizza base or how to make dough balls. The children love it as its like Play Doh but with pizza dough! The cost is minimal, the engagement is huge and for me as a parent, knowing i can take my daughter to pizza express for food she will eat and an experience she will enjoy makes a massive difference.
The result is that Pizza Express is back on the list of family meals whether i have a voucher or not. The solution was so simple! Seems like a good trade off to me... a bit of dough from them in return for a bit of dough from me!