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'NO-SMOKING' POLICY, EMBRACED BY WHITE HOUSE, IS NOT AS FRIGHTENING AS THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY MIGHT THINK, SAYS CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN

 LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- While Hillary Clinton's "no-smoking" policy will set standards for home-owners everywhere, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) believes a similar regulation in restaurants nationwide can make good business sense. Despite industry fears to the contrary, CPK has learned "smoke-free" won't hurt the bottom line.
 The Los Angeles-based gourmet pizza-and-pasta chain, an immensely popular nationwide eatery that embraces casual family-friendly dining, was the first national restaurant company to introduce a no-holds-barred "no-smoking" policy in all 27 company operated stores in July 1991. Ahead of the curve by almost two years, with 2,000 employees and 1992 sales of $60 million, CPK continues to be the only national restaurant chain to enforce an across-the-board "no-smoking" policy (even on the patios).
 "The move has not harmed our normal sales growth," notes Larry Flax, CPK co-chairman and co-founder. Despite the "no-smoking" regulation, CPK continues to be one of, if not the highest grossing restaurant chain per square foot in the U.S.
 CPK quietly went smoke-free in 1991. But as industry pioneers, co-chairmen and co-founders Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax now feel an obligation to inform other restauranteurs that fears over potential sales drop-off would seem to be unfounded. "Risky? You bet our no-smoking' policy qualified," says Rosenfield. "No guarantees customers would support us. But our restaurant managers, including those who smoke, were unanimously for it."
 "We've received only 15 letters from customers to date, predominantly in favor of the policy. Which is astonishing considering we've served approximately 10 million diners since going smoke-free.' However, our in-store managers and staff report an overwhelming hurrah' from our customers and employees. We say to the industry: Put your fears about banning smoking aside. This policy is absolutely worth the investment in your customers and staff,'" says Flax.
 Last month's Environmental Protection Agency report linking second- hand tobacco smoke to cancer, coupled with the decision of a California court to award damages to a Sausalito waiter who underwent heart surgery following prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke, haven't gone unnoticed by CPK's public. Reaction now runs almost 100 percent in favor of the policy.
 CPK has one of the lowest staff turnover rates in the restaurant business, and believes quality-of-life issues, like excellent training and promotion programs and the no-smoking policy, help. "While the concerns of the restaurant industry are heavily focused on the bottom line,' our concerns also emphasize the health and safety of our customers, their children and our employees," says Rosenfield. CPK's "no-smoking" policy is included in recruitment efforts, and the chain will open 20 restaurants in 1993, including in Boston, Dallas and South Florida.
 Still, in the restaurant business any exclusionary policy can be cause for pause. According to the National Restaurant Association, most U.S. eateries allocate only the minimum space (50 percent) required by law to non-smoking sections. The Tobacco Institute contends that bans on smoking, especially those legislated, can hurt business. But last year, a study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco found laws which ban smoking in restaurants don't hurt business at eateries, and may help. State legislatures are stepping up efforts to ban smoking in all public facilities, including traditionally smokey places like bars and bowling alleys.
 "We commend California Pizza Kitchen for its no-smoking' policy in all restaurants," says Lee B. Reichman, M.D., M.P.H., president of the American Lung Association. "This is exactly the type of action we have been advocating for years. We hope other businesses will follow CPK's lead. With second-hand smoke responsible for 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year, it makes sense that restaurant patrons not be exposed to such a deadly habit."
 Northwest Airlines, which banned smoking on domestic flights before it became law and now bans smoking on longer flights to Hawaii, as well as movie theaters throughout the country, California Pizza Kitchen, the Baltimore Orioles, and the White House have taken the lead in enforcing "smoke-free" policies on their own. At Northwest, passenger traffic is growing at a record pace since the regulation was introduced.
 CPK popularized the pairing of unexpected toppings like barbecue chicken, thai chicken and BLT with individual gourmet pizzas, and recently introduced the nation's first made-for-kids "designer pizza" menu. The chain's commitment to customer service and employee training attracted the attention of PepsiCo Inc., which recently purchased a substantial equity interest in CPK. Founded in 1985, CPK operates restaurants in cities throughout the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Scottsdale, Honolulu, McLean, Va., and Bethesda, Md.
 -0- 2/4/93
 /CONTACT: Sarah Goldsmith of California Pizza Kitchen, 310-575-5713; or Blythe Reiss or Mary McPartland of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600, for CPK/


CO: California Pizza Kitchen ST: California IN: LEI SU: ECO

GK -- NY025 -- 2819 02/04/93 09:28 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1993
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