|— Iconic Italian-inspired pizza brand opens in the heart of Sanlitun
BEIJING, May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Iconic Italian-inspired pizza brand PizzaExpress makes its debut in Beijing on May 29, 2014. The global chain’s 500th restaurant worldwide opens in the heart of Sanlitun at Taikoo Li.
Established in London in 1965, by founder Peter Boizot who was inspired by his first visit to Italy, PizzaExpress promises “a real pizza experience” true to its Italian tradition of warm hospitality and traditional pizza making. Beijing is the brand’s stepping-stone into Northern China.
With open kitchens where skilled pizzaiolo pizza chefs take centre stage, PizzaExpress Taikoo Li seats 120 with another 120 outside on a spacious outdoor terrace with tables and deckchairs creating a relaxing sanctuary amid the hustle of Sanlitun.
Designers Plasterd8 have styled the venue with a local Beijing twist, from artwork adopting the iconic Beijing bicycle as a mascot to a traditional Chinese door God featuring pizzaiolos protecting the restaurant from evil spirits.
“We’re very excited about opening our first restaurant in Beijing with our unique offering of ‘pizza in style’ (delicious pizza, beautiful restaurants and great service) bridging the gap between fast food pizza and fine dining in the capital,” said PizzaExpress International Managing Director Neil Wickers. “PizzaExpress is also about ‘authentic Italian’ as opposed to American pizza”, he stressed.
“Pizza is everything to us. We’re obsessed with it. Inspired by Italy, every pizza we serve is freshly hand-made to order by our skilled pizzaiolos who train for a minimum of 12 weeks to learn the art of pizza making. We always use the freshest, highest quality ingredients that are delivered to the restaurant daily. Each pizza is also freshly made to order according to traditional recipes and flavours.”
The brand’s signature bases are thin and crispy Romana-style, as found in Rome. The tomato passata on every pizza base is made in Italy by the same Greci Family who have been making it for PizzaExpress since 1965 and imported to Beijing.
The menu “with something to please every member of the family” also includes signature pastas, desserts and soft dough balls beloved by children the world over, as well as one localised pizza – the Peking Duck Romana.
Takeaways are also available on certain products, “however we believe pizzas taste best when they are cooked to order and served hot straight from the oven”, said Mr Wickers.
“We have great ambitions for this market,” added Mr Wickers. “However, at this stage our plan is to focus on opening one restaurant at a time, doing things properly and ensuring every customer has a brilliant experience. We are currently looking for new restaurant sites and hope to open the second site soon in the Chinese capital.” PizzaExpress is one of the UK’s favourite brands, with 500 restaurants around the world. “But it still has the atmosphere of a local restaurant run by people who care about their customers,” insisted Mr Wickers.
“You’ll be served by teams that are full of personality, style and sensitivity, with great knowledge of the menu. We make a point to recruit for personality and train for skill.”