A Croydon man has followed his passion for pizza and is crowdfunding his own food business after losing his job in the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Robson from Croydon worked in advertising for years and had just started a new job when lockdown hit. He launched Penny’s Pizza after his new employers told him amid the downturn in revenue the that they couldn’t keep him on:

“The company lost millions...after my three month probation they told me: ‘look, we really want to keep you but we just can’t.’ It was a real blow.

"Suddenly I was in the middle of a pandemic lockdown and didn’t have a job and didn’t have income. I had a few interviews but they were receiving 300 even 500 applicants per role. Universal Credit doesn’t even cover my rent,” Alex described.

Your Local Guardian: Alex hopes to stand out from the crowd with authentic Italian ingredients inspired by his visits to NapoliAlex hopes to stand out from the crowd with authentic Italian ingredients inspired by his visits to Napoli

After that shock, he’d be cooking food with his girlfriend who posed the simple question regarding his passion for cooking: Why don’t you give it a go as a career.

Penny’s Pizza was born.

The start-up, for which Alex hopes to raise £5,000 in crowdfunding, was named after his mum Penny, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2015.

“I’ve always loved cooking. My mum Penny who the stall is named after taught me about cooking I loved cooking with her,” he described. “It’s an honour to name something after her, someone who taught me so much. To go to work with her name on the door inspires me.”

Fresh ingredients are based on Italian inspiration and are at the heart of what Alex, who was inspired by New York’s pizza where he once lived and Napoli’s world-famous pizza, is trying to do with Penny’s.

Your Local Guardian: Penny's Pizza. Images via Crowdfunder. Penny's Pizza. Images via Crowdfunder.

“All my ingredients are 100 per cent authentic Italian and fresh,” he points out. That includes such delicacies as double zero flour for stronger, more digestible dough without any additives and san marzano tomatoes that give a sharper taste without the need for any unnecessary extras like sugar.

Alex says he has done “all my due diligence” when it comes to registering the business, getting a hygiene approval rating and the other hoops that all start-ups need to jump through before they get going. He now hopes to get a place on Croydon’s Surrey Street market with a menu featuring a range of classics and a monthly special. 

For more info and to donate to the Penny's Pizza crowdfunder, click here