Keeping a radical bite amidst rapid expansion
In 2017 the restaurant group Fulham Shore needed to maintain and enhance the authentic culture of their growing pizza business. Our six-month intervention looked at Franco Manca’s culture, brand and customer experience, at a time when casual dining competitors like Byron and Prezzo were feeling the crunch.
"For a time, between 2010 and 2016, it seemed as if Britain’s burgeoning interest in casual, affordable dining was insatiable. Build that restaurant, no matter how outrageous the property and fit-out costs, and they will come."
From humble beginnings in Brixton market, Franco Manca has expanded to over 40 pizzerias. Like the rest of the casual dining sector, they faced high rent, increased costs and well-funded competition. But unlike many restaurant brands, Franco Manca has a simple, focused offer, proper ingredients and a loyal following. Their rapid growth however placed huge pressure on their culture, service experience and the operation itself.
Simple affordable food, quality ingredients and a welcoming Italian atmosphere are some of the things that make Franco Manca special. Codifying these strengths was critical to enable all employees to live, communicate and sustain the original Franco Manca vibe and character. We helped them preserve and communicate the intangible yet essential parts of the Franco Manca experience, from behaviours to menu design.
Enzo Apicella’s anarchic artworks were part of the Franco Manca personality from the start.
“Apicella had a Roman nose, a bandit’s moustache, bright blue eyes and a peculiar hoarse voice. After 60 years in London, his accent remained difficult, some say impossible. He maintained a deep tan, even in Battersea during winter” – The Guardian Nov 2018
“You have to be sector-beating in terms of food, you have to know where your ingredients are coming from and you have to keep prices down as much as you can”
Franco Manca are opening more pizzerias. They are one of only a handful of successful casual dining chains to make a profit as others fold. We continue to work with them on innovation projects.