City News: MOD Pizza, gender pay gap and manufacturers’ industrial revolution

A US pizza chain backed by the Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone is ramping up expansion in the UK with plans to create 420 jobs over the next year.

MOD Pizza is set to open its flagship store in London’s Leicester Square next month, followed by 10 new restaurants in 2017 and 25 sites a year thereafter.

The company already has three sites in the UK – in Leeds, Brighton and Newcastle – and boss John Nelson is confident that the brand can compete with the plethora of rival pizza outlets on offer.

He said: “The market is flat, but if you can differentiate yourself and be fresh and funky at a decent price, then you can do well.

“We’re radically different from what’s out there in terms of speed. For a takeaway, you can be in and out in 12 minutes.”

Another radical feature is the fixed prices being served up. Pizzas can be bought for £7.87 in London and £7.47 outside the capital.

Founded by husband and wife duo Scott and Ally Svenson, MOD has more than 175 outlets in the US and the British arm is the result of a 50/50 joint venture with Sir Charles.

Sir Charles said: “MOD has disrupted the pizza industry in the US, and continues to expand across the country at a rapid pace and with great success.

“We are proud to be working with Scott and Ally and bringing MOD’s fresh and affordable pizza to communities across the UK.”

Firms ‘tinker’ in bid to close pay gap

Firms are “tinkering around the edges” in trying to close the gender pay gap by offering benefits such as flexible working, according to a new report.

A study by advice firm Korn Ferry Hay Group found that the biggest gender pay gap was in the East Midlands at almost 34 per cent, followed by the South East (30 per cent), and North East (28 per cent).

Ben Frost, of Korn Ferry Hay Group, said: “Overall, the headline pay gap across the UK shows that men are paid vastly more than women. However, the data confirms that a man and a woman in the same company, doing the same job, will usually be paid nearly the same.

“This shows that organisations still aren’t dealing with the real issue – which is that we need more women working in higher paying jobs.

“Firms are tinkering around the edges by offering benefits like flexible working to address the issue.”

Manufacturers’ revolution warning

Manufacturers are gearing up for a “fourth industrial revolution” but warn that the country could be left behind because of the pace of change, a report shows.

Research by industry body EEF revealed that most firms believe the next revolution (4IR) will happen faster than previous changes in manufacturing, with two out of five businesses worried about how to keep up.

The organisation predicted more high-skilled jobs through “smarter” production methods.

Chief economist Lee Hopley said: “Manufacturers are ready to do the heavy lifting, but their efforts must be supported across the sector and supply chains and backed up by Government through its new industrial strategy.

“If we get this approach right then the UK can expect to be at the forefront of this global industrial wave. Get it wrong and the UK will be left trailing in its wake.”