ASA Ruling on PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd
PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd
30 January 2013
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
ADAM & EVE
A radio ad, for PizzaExpress restaurants, included a voice-over that stated, "At PizzaExpress, your order is our start gun. Only then do we chop, knead, tear, season, drizzle and bake. Because, whether it's a classic American with extra anchovies, or added olives, it's only made fresh from the moment you order. PizzaExpress, we don't start without you".
A listener challenged whether the ad was misleading, because she understood some food preparation, such as chopping, was done before orders were placed.
PizzaExpress said they did not make any pizza until they received an order; they were entirely customisable and not pre-prepared, to ensure they could provide the freshest food to order and provide for customers' personal preferences. They said all dough had to be hand-stretched and tossed into several different styles of base, which was done to order in the majority of cases; customers could view that as a result of their 'open kitchens'. The only occasion when dough was not stretched to order was in the busiest restaurants at the two busiest times of day, when it was allowed to pre-stretch dough up to a maximum of 20 minutes before use. Any bases that were left to stand longer than 20 minutes had to be thrown away. Similarly, while all fresh ingredients were chopped throughout the day, the busiest restaurants would chop high volume items such as mushrooms, onions and peppers twice daily in preparation for the two peak periods. However, even the busiest stores chopped to order outside of those periods. PizzaExpress said ham and chicken were the only ingredients that were torn and that was done to order in every instance. Pizzas were seasoned with oregano and black pepper immediately before baking and any drizzling of oil or dressing took place before serving. They said all pizzas were made to order and believed the ad was not misleading.
The RACC believed the average consumer would understand a degree of pre-preparation for busy periods was necessary and therefore also considered the ad was not misleading.
The ASA acknowledged that the preparations described in the ad were generally completed to order. We considered, however, the ad, in particular the claims "your order is our start gun", "Only then do we chop, knead, tear, season, drizzle and bake", "it's only made fresh from the moment you order" and "we don't start without you", would be understood to mean those preparations began only after an order was received. Because that was not the case, and pre-preparation took place in certain instances, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.12 (Exaggeration).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told PizzaExpress to ensure future advertising did not exaggerate the degree to which food was prepared to order.