A few weeks ago I slagged off a former employer of mine, American Apparel, but now the tables are turning on my current bosses at Pizza Express.
A lot of people think Pizza Express is a top quality, Italian-made, stone-baked, freshly-sourced pizza restaurant with it's swirly gothic wrought iron logo. But it is in fact far closer to the awfully mis-guided rebrand to 'PizzaPizzaPizza' below - shit.
Anyone can become a Pizza Express chef, you need no experience or skills, as everything you need to know is in a big laminated bible. I wish I had a real photo of this as it is simply hilarious, it is full of pictures for the mentally impaired, pointing out the shape of parsley leaves and tells one how hold a knife "not by the sharp part, but by the handle". It might as well have a colouring in section at the back or a free jigsaw puzzle of a pizza...
Ok, so although the chefs are all idiots, at least they make it all fresh? No. Pretty much everything is made in 'Pizza Express HQ' and magically arrives in the post, tinned or frozen. When you eat in Pizza Express you can see the chefs working in the kitchen but then there must be a bit out the back where they make the sauce and dough etc? Nope. What you see in the restaurant is all there is, there is only ovens, no hobs, so it's a bit like having a giant microwave ONLY. But I've seen them making the dough?! No you haven't. You've seen them getting the frozen dough balls out, spraying them with water, waiting for them to defrost before rolling them out and plonking them in a tin.
The pizzas are ok I suppose, the tinned tomato base is shipped over from Italy and 20% (just) of the toppings are freshly chopped, including the cheese that comes in a plastic sack... But the lasagnes, the risottos, the cannelonis, the bruschettas, don't touch them, they are frozen ready meals and are kept in appalling conditions so bad we should maybe set up a concert or trek up a mountain to raise money for these under-privileged foil-packed pieces of flavoured ice.
Seriously, you would not believe how bad this place is, the exterior just doesn't let on to how shocking it is. Even the lettuce and mushrooms is chopped by a machine. Every single item of food is caked in stickers stating the best before date, so you would think everything is fresh but in fact they regularly cut the mouldy bit off and plonk another sticker on for next week. This is a restaurant, not student accomodation! You don't expect to be told by your manager "don't touch the brie it's so old it'll melt down your arm!"...
So far I haven't even mentioned the personal problems I've encounted in the last 6 months that have brought me to writing this post. I haven't been paid properly, I haven't been trained properly, I haven't received payslips (illegal), I haven't been informed of last minute rota changes, and I haven't had any replies to my letters of complaint. It's a joke, and I can see it getting worse.