• PizzaExpress boosts pie sizes amid customer complaints of shrinkage

LONDON -- In its latest attempt to invigorate sales, PizzaExpress increased the size of its pizzas by almost 1 1/2 inches.

The move effectively marks a concession to long-time customer suspicions that pie sizes had shrunk over recent years.

According to the Times of London, the 300-store chain does not plan to raise prices as a result.

Ironically, the pizza size increase came just a few weeks after Hugh Osmond (who helped take PizzaExpress public in 1993) made a failed takeover attempt of the company (See "Twigway withdraws bid to buy PizzaExpress"). Osmond declared he'd increase the size of the company's pizzas immediately upon acceptance of his bid.

The Times cited an unidentified PizzaExpress insider who insisted the company had tested the larger pizzas in its Irish restaurants for months prior to Osmond's declaration. "In fact, Mr. Osmond probably got wind of the idea from our staff."

Buying larger pans to accommodate the new pizzas will cost the company about £200,000 (U.S. $314,000). Cleverly, however, PizzaExpress won't change its current plate size, which will allow the new-size pizzas to creep over the edges slightly, amplifying the larger look.

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