Entrepreneur set to take a bigger pizza the action with new sites

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A Derby-based restauranteur who set up a New York-style pizza takeaway in the city during the first national lockdown, says he is now planning to build the brand and open more outlets after it proved to be a big hit.

Easton Andrea says that he is set to expand True Pizzas, formerly Honest Pizzas. Andrea Eand wife Anastasia are planning on opening more takeouts in and around Derby – with free pizza for punters when each site opens its doors.

To move the business on, it has had a rebrand with new uniform for staff members, bespoke boxes and a delivery service.

“These are exciting times for True Pizzas,” said Andrea, who also runs the gastropub, House of Darwin, in Chellaston.

“Running True Pizzas is fun; the scalability of the brand is massive and the people of Derby have been thoroughly enjoying our pizzas during the last 10 months. We’re the number one-rated place for takeaway pizza on TripAdvisor and we’ve worked hard to achieve that.

“I do, though, have to pay tribute to the amazing team I have working with me. True Pizzas is like a family; we have been through so much together since opening and, as we grow, I’d like to think of True Pizzas as being somewhere that can provide jobs for local people and that we can create fantastic opportunities for the team we have here.

“We have a strong female-led team at True Pizzas and, for me, I think it’s inspiring to see them doing so well in a traditionally male-dominated industry.”

Michaela Binova is the driver co-ordinator at True Pizzas and, once the new venue opens, she will replace Sarah Allsopp as manager of the Manor Road venue. Allsop, meanwhile, will move to the new site.

A former bank worker from the Czech Republic, Michaela moved to England four years ago to work in the hospitality industry as she wanted “to work with humans and not computers”.

She has spent the last 18 months as general manager at House of Darwin and sees the move to True Pizzas as a challenge.

“The uncertainty of the past year-and-a-half was difficult but, for me, the hardest bit about running a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic was not being able to have a proper conversation with our customers,” she said, “I’m a people-person and was used to chatting to the rest of the team and customer. I always made time for a chat as I think it’s so important.

“I’ve been working as driver co-ordinator at True Pizzas for the last few months and have really enjoyed it; we like to provide the same customer service experience in our take-out that you would expect in a restaurant and that, for me, is why True Pizzas has been such a huge success.”

Allsopp, who worked as general manager of Frankie and Benny’s – the former residents of the site on Manor Road – said that being appointed manager of True Pizzas was “like coming home” and that the relationship which the ‘close-knit’ team has helps with its success.

“It’s a bit of a cliché but, like Easton has said, we’re like one big family and work so well together,” she said, “I love the idea of True Pizzas, its company ethos and plans for expansion. I can’t wait for the new site to open and to really push True Pizzas on.”

Easton is quick to point out how important social media has been to the True Pizzas brand.

The company has more than 25,000 followers on Instagram, the social media platform which revolutionised the way in which we think of food.

“It’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t take a quick picture of our food and post it on social media before tucking into it,” added Andrea, “Instagram is huge for us; to be successful in our business, you have to have a good following on the platform and create a community.

“Social media is about so much more than selling your business. Collaborations between brands can be lucrative and great exposure. This is something which we’re hoping to explore more in the future, with trips to New York pizza restaurants planned for later in the year, when we can travel, and something which we’re very excited about.”