This International Pizza Day, thousands of Londoners will order their regular deep-dish straight to their door.
Mobile delivery apps like UberEats have transformed the market in recent years, with Deliveroo named the UK’s fastest-growing business in 2017.
But Jim Winship, director of the Pizza and Pasta Association, predicts Google and Amazon will revolutionise an already competitive delivery industry.
“The consumer industry is now driven by convenience, and nothing will change that audience drive,” he says.
“Modern time pressures mean consumers want it now.”
But two independent pizzerias in south west London are proving him wrong.
“There was no McDonald’s growing up, so we ate pizza for our school lunch,” says Guglielmo ‘William’ Lausi, co-owner of Figli del Vesuvio in Earlsfield, which opened in 2015.
“I’d rather eat a pizza than a full English fried in the same oil.”
Both William and business partner Fabio Iermano hail from the Rione Sanita district of Naples.
William, 38, moved to London in 2001, while Fabio, 30, emigrated nine years later.
They didn’t know each other, but a mutual friend put them in touch.
William agreed to look out for Fabio once he arrived in the UK, setting him up with a bank account and job working in a Fulham pizza kitchen.
Three years later they had become good friends and spontaneously decided to open their own pizzeria.
The duo’s attitude to business is relaxed, to say the least. They proudly describe their lack of business plan – just last year, they rejected a substantial franchise offer from a Surrey investor.
“What he could do for us in 10 years, we can do in five with no one else,” says Fabio.
“We don’t want competition, or adverts. We don’t need them! Our customers are from all around here.”
Their loyal fan base is visible on a Friday night. A doting father sits with his young daughter, trying to navigate a slice in her mouth while a mother comes in to collect her family’s weekly order.
Pizza Bocca, in Brixton, is showing how the dish is more about family than convenience.
Owned by Rukshana Hoque and husband Kowsar, the delivery-only business is named after ‘pizza mouth’, the smear of red tomato sauce they would wipe off their two young sons when feeding them dinner.
Behind an innocuous facade on Coldharbour Lane, Rukshana oversees a military operation, moving pizza to bocca in under half an hour.
Family values guide the business.
“I’m a mother, and my drivers here are quite young,” Rukshana says. She is standing in front of a large screen telling us the GPS location of every moped.
“Safety is first and foremost–nobody should literally die for a pizza.”
Their eight pizzas are all the same size and price–the one size-fits-all policy is essential.
“Pizza is a guaranteed result every time, whether it’s eaten over a break-up, make-up or hangover,” she says.
“A margarita is a margarita.
“Whether delivered to Norbury or Notting Hill, a guy in a suit or a guy on a skateboard, we always extend our hand.”
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