Franco Manca insists the “only thing we freeze is our ice cream” after reiterating its strategy to focus on delivering pizza that is created entirely fresh from its kitchens each day.
The Fulham Shore-owned chain has been one of the biggest winners of the casual dining sector in recent years, opening a raft of sites in London and the south of the country as its parent company’s turnover has shot up to almost £55m.
Chairman David Page said the chain is up against competitors that take a shortcut route to pizza production, but it will continue to rely on the skills of its in-store pizza chefs to cook everything from scratch.
“We have always served freshly made pizza, which is as it should be,” he explained. “Some other pizza businesses in the UK use frozen food products and frozen dough. We continue to make our dough every day in each of our pizzeria. Our aim is to keep the price of our Margherita pizza (the number two on the menu) well below the price of the frozen product at many high street pizza chains. The only thing we freeze at Franco Manca is our ice cream.”
Mr Page said Franco Manca believes in “competitive everyday menu pricing – not discounting”.
Franco Manca operates 45 restaurants in the UK after opening nine stores during its most recent financial year and a further two since the year end. The company said that new branches in Oxford and Bristol have been “particularly well-received”.
It has signed a site in Edinburgh and is in final stage negotiations on two others which could lead to further openings in the autumn.
The chain also looks poised to expand overseas following its success in the UK. It currently has a franchise operation in Italy and has received “many enquiries” relating to other openings.
Mr Page said it was now “looking around the world for opportunities”.