Franco Manca: UK pizza chain to open restaurant in Italy

New location on the island of Salina, north of Sicily, will train up Italian pizza-makers with the aim of bringing them to work at branches in the UK

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The Independent Online

British sourdough pizza chain Franco Manca has announced an ambitious plan to open a restaurant in Italy.

The company, which was founded by Italian-born Giuseppe Mascoli in 2008, said on Monday it will begin selling its offerings in the home of pizza for six months of the year, starting in 2017.

David Page, chairman of The Fulham Shore, which owns Franco Manca said Mr Mascoli came up with the idea.

He plans to use the new restaurant on the island of Salina, north of Sicily, to train up expert Italian pizza-makers with the aim of bringing them to work at branches in the UK.

“We already have very strong links with the country,” Mr Page said. “We buy our capers there, we buy our wine there, our tables are made there.” 

The new restaurant will be operated as a franchise and Franco Manca will invest around £100,000 alongside local and international investors, The Fulham Shore said in a trading update on Monday.

Since first opening in Brixton, South London, nine years ago, Franco Manca has expanded rapidly and now has 33 restaurants, mostly in London.

It recently opened new branches in Brighton, Southampton and Guildford and plans to open more outside the capital in the next 12 months.

Mr Page, who made his fortune backing Pizza Express and Gourmet Burger Kitchen among other restaurants, said Franco Manca’s expansion will not be at the expense of quality. 

Each restaurant makes its own dough fresh on-site and high levels of service are maintained in part because 95 per cent of staff own shares in the company, he said.

Mr Mascoli, sold the business for £27.5m and now owns 5 per cent of The Fulham Shore.

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