"Constantly poke the bear" - why Vapiano's boss shifted strategy and hasn't looked back

After almost two decades, the pizza-pasta chain's MD made a radical change to its business model - and is not looking back.

by Orianna Rosa Royle

It was an exciting moment to be alive when Vapiano’s landed on London’s Great Portland Street in 2008. The German pizza-pasta restaurant chain introduced an entirely new way to order food. Instead of sitting down and waiting to be served by a waiter, customers were handed a radio frequency identification card (RFIC) as they entered the restaurant. It felt like the future of casual dining. You would order directly with the person cooking your meal and each diner had a personal tab eradicating the need for that awkward “who pays for what” conversation at the end of a group meal. 

It was ruthlessly efficient and separated Vapiano’s 130 restaurants globally from the sea of pizzerias. But like many restaurants during the pandemic, Vapiano’s had to change its service model to meet new health and safety guidelines. It moved to a more traditional table service style albeit with scannable QR codes to order and pay.  

Despite Covid-19 seemingly no longer being a threat to businesses, Vapiano’s managing director Craig Goslin tells Management Today, why the brand never looked back. 

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