Pizza Express has announced it is to reopen 150 more UK sites by early August.
Some 71 restaurants will reopen for dine-in experience and dine-out services on 30 July and an additional 88 on 6 August.
These next phases of Pizza Express’ reopening plan follow “test and learn” trials of delivery, click-and-collect and dine-in services at selected pizzerias since 9 July.
Further phases of UK restaurant reopenings will be announced shortly. The group also announced it will be supporting the governments ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme throughout August for dine-in customers.
Zoe Bowley, managing director at PizzaExpress, said: “It’s been very exciting to welcome customers back into our restaurants in the last fortnight, and our teams are looking forward to reopening hundreds more pizzerias in the next few weeks.
“Our top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers, and we are very grateful for the way that our customers have embraced our new procedures.”
She added: “The response to our online booking system, new digital menus and cashless payments has been fantastic, and we encourage everyone to use these services as much as possible as their local restaurant reopens.
“All of our open restaurants will be very happily supporting the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme in August, which will give our customers outstanding value for money. We’re working hard to provide the Pizza Express experience that our customers love in a safe and responsible way, as we bring back our freshly handmade pizza to even more locations as soon as we can.”
Earlier this month, Pizza Express was reportedly set to fall into the hands of its lenders, possibly as early as this month, which could lead to the possibility of store closures.
According to the Financial Times, its lenders are in talks with its Chinese owners Hony Capital for a debt-for equity swap with a group of investors in bonds worth £465m also reportedly in talks for a restructuring deal that would affect a “small” number of stores.
The FT also reported that with the debt not set for maturity until next summer there is a possibility that Hony could inject new equity into the company.