Pizza Express is to hire 1,000 new employees as it prepares to welcome customers into its restaurants from next month. The recruitment drive comes as the UK’s second largest restaurant operator eyes a rapid recovery following a devastating year in the face of pandemic restrictions.
The nationwide recruitment campaign across the group’s 360 UK restaurants will include 300 posts under the government’s Kickstart initiative.
The company reopened 118 restaurants for al fresco dining on 12 April, and it said that their “gardens and terraces are busy during periods of good weather”.
A further 24 PizzaExpress restaurants in England will reopen for al-fresco dining on 29 April. Restrictions will start to be lifted in Scotland to allow indoor dining from 26 April.
All 360 PizzaExpress pizzerias in the UK will reopen for indoor dining in May in line with local government guidance, and customer numbers are projected to increase further as social distancing measures are due to be relaxed on 21 June.
Zoe Bowley, PizzaExpress’s managing director, said: “We’re expecting millions of people to flock back to restaurants as restrictions are eased, so we are delighted to be in a position to be able to recruit a thousand new team members to help us serve customers at PizzaExpress. We are also very pleased to support the Kickstart initiative. Our restaurants have been the beating heart of our local communities and neighbourhoods for decades. As well as helping locals to get together with friends and family, we support 360 local economies across the UK as an employer for anyone looking for a fun, flexible and rewarding career. Our pizzerias are a great place to work, and our teams love welcoming new colleagues.
After all the challenges and uncertainties of the last year, we’re very excited to be open and recruiting again.” The new recruitment drive follows a challenging year for the business which, in the wake of the pandemic, closed 73 outlets via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The closures resulted in the loss of 1,100 jobs while a further 1,300 redundancies were announced as part of cost-cutting measures.