Do vouchers help Pizza Express?

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Pizza Express may well be as famous for its vouchers as it is for its pizzas. In this post, I want to look at what consequences that may have for the restaurant.

Have you ever paid full prize at a Pizza Express?

I do not think I have. Voucher use is so ubiquitous that I do not even think it is a button on their till. Their staff seem to become angry and confused when you do not have a discount to apply.

I tried to pay full price once. The waiter asked if anyone was on the Orange mobile network, as that got us half off. I explained nobody did. He insisted on putting through as an Orange Wednesday anyway.

This was most annoying. I was not paying for it; the lunch was going on a corporate account. However, I then felt obliged to tip generously because he thought he was doing my a favour. My free lunch ended up costing me money.

Pizza Express presumably introduced the vouchers as a technique to get people into their restaurant. However, it may now be backfiring.

Vouchers are great if you think you are getting a high quality product at a cheaper price. If it is a choice between going to a £10 restaurant, or going to a £20 restaurant with a 50% voucher, most of us will choose the latter. We pay the same, but get a meal with a higher perceived value.

However, in the case of Pizza Express, does anyone really think their list price is the actual price anymore? Does anyone think their £11 pizza actually costs £11?

I do not, because I am so used to paying around £7 for it after my voucher has been applied. That is the way it has been for as long as I can remember. By permanently lowering the price, Pizza Express have set a new anchor as to how much I expect to pay for their food.

Worse, it may actually put people off. If I do not have a voucher to hand, I do not go to Pizza Express. I do not want to pay full price when everyone around me is paying half that. What an idiot I would feel being the only person in the restaurant paying the list price.

Vouchers may have been a useful promotional tool for Pizza Express at one point. Today however, they may hinder more than they help.

Posted 22 September 2016 18:20