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Pizza Express: come here often?

posted 10 Dec 2010, 05:07 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Dec 2010, 05:10 ]
UK restaurant chain Pizza Express has engaged a communications expert to teach staff the art of seductive conversation.
UK-BUSINESS-FLIRTINGThere aren't many companies where staff are encouraged to flirt with the customers.

But at Pizza Express it's part of the training.

Many of the restaurant chain's young staff are experts at social networking via the internet but some aren't so hot on face to face chat.

Communications expert Karl James has been running a series of workshops teaching staff like Ruth Minkley the art of conversation.

Karl James, conversation expert, director & founder of The Dialogue Project, saying:

"It's about contacting people, you know really being with them and so lots of the skills we've been talking about describing things really well, listening to people. These are quite seductive things to do to people, we're not doing them because they're seductive, we're doing them because we're interested, genuinely interested in the individuals that walk in here."

Karl says it's also important to strike a balance.

Karl James, conversation expert, director & founder of The Dialogue Project, saying:

"When you walk into a restaurant if you're greeted like you're a long lost member of the family that might be a bit too much particularly if you're British so actually some of the well intentioned hello hello hello welcome, it's like whoa too much too much, give me some time, so we talk about navigating, stepping in and stepping out of the conversation. There are times when its best to leave people alone."

With austerity measures being introduced in the new year attracting - and keeping - customers is crucial.

So Pizza Express is investing in new ways to keep ahead of the competition.

Marketing manager Emma Woods says it's not all talk.

Emma Woods, marketing director, Pizza Express, saying:

"We're trying out lot's of different things here so we're trying out acoustics to try and take the noise out, we've got these acoustic parobolic's where you can sit under a very tightly controlled space so we're taking noise out of the dining occasion."

 Male diner, saying:

"It's absolutely important for the whole overall experience. You wouldn't go back anywhere you had a bad experience from before."

With its new charm offensive, Pizza Express hopes its pushing the right buttons to keep customers coming back for more.

Hayley Platt, Reuters.