Italian food is very popular all over the world. Great Britain is no exception, including thanks to the prosperous community of Italian immigrants formed in the XVIII century.
The first Italian restaurant recorded in the sources opened in London, on Leicester Square, in 1803, and as more Italians moved to the capital of Great Britain, more and more establishments appeared here. At the beginning of the XIX century. a wave of Italian immigrants came to London to form “little Italy” in the Clerkenwell area. Today in the UK there are more than 5,000 Italian restaurants, Italian cuisine is very popular. A study by Allegra Strategies, a leading hospitality industry consulting company, found Italian cuisine to be second most popular in the UK, second only to British cuisine. At the same time, according to Mintel research firm, 45% of people who dine outside the home prefer Italian restaurants; Only pubs and Asian restaurants are ahead of them in popularity. The British are especially fond of pizza: a study by Kantar Wordpanel showed that people in the country eat 919 million pizzas for dinner each year; only fried and baked meat is more popular than this dish.
Jim Winship, director of the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association, the only official trading board in the UK representing the Italian food industry, is confident that Italian cuisine owes its demand to the country not only to the prosperous Italian community. “Italian cuisine has been popular for many years, not only because of the developed Italian community, but also because people travel abroad, where they try Italian food. Do not lose sight of the fact that the Mediterranean cuisine is good for health, ”he notes.
One of the trends in the Italian cuisine market is take-away food: many consumers today prefer to dine on the run. This contradicts the centuries-old Italian tradition of gathering with the whole family, including distant relatives, for a long meal, but chain restaurants cannot ignore this trend either. To meet the growing demand, Jamie’s Italian has opened a delicatessen store in Bath. Here, customers are offered a wide range of takeaway dishes, including coffee, sandwiches, salads and pasta. The store also has a meat department, which sells smoked meats, cheeses. Also in the assortment are dry ingredients, canned food, seasonings, dishes and trays. Prezzo, a restaurant group led by Jonathan Kay, owner of Caffe Uno and Chimichanga, also takes advantage of this trend by offering take-away pizza customers.
Jim Winship also speaks about the wave of popularity of regional Italian cuisine covering the market: “There is growing interest in the cuisine of Italian regions, it is possible that this trend will become one of the main trends in the restaurant industry. The regions of Italy offer a wide variety of dishes and products, probably many of them will be available with us. ”
Given the popularity of Italian cuisine in the British market, it is not surprising that the competition is very high. There are several major players in the segment. The Pizza Express network, part of the Gondola Group, which also owns Zizzi and Ask, has 433 locations in the UK and Ireland; Last year alone, 11 new restaurants opened. In general, Pizza Express is the largest brand in the UK among casual dining restaurants.
Pizza Express is followed by Pizza Hut, a network of 330 establishments. Other major players on the market are Bella Italia (93 restaurants), Zizzi (133), Ask (110 restaurants), Strada (70 restaurants) and Jamie’s Italian (35 restaurants, a gourmet shop and one Trattoria restaurant; another summer will open in Harrogate institution).
Jamie’s Italian is the result of a collaboration between Jamie Oliver and his mentor, Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo. The network shows excellent financial results: for 12 months of 2012, revenue grew by 30.3%, amounting to 93.9 million pounds; EBITDA grew by 19.3% compared with the previous year and amounted to 13.2 million pounds.
In the UK, the Jamie’s Italian network has 2,700 employees. This is the only restaurant company with its own accredited training system called CMI, where employees can get a diploma. The design of each restaurant is developed separately and approved by Jamie Oliver himself. The atmosphere should reflect the features of the location and menu. The average bill is £ 21; the bestseller is a shrimp linguine.
The main task of large brands is to offer tasty, high-quality food for a wide range of guests at a reasonable price. Bella Italia serves more than 5 million visitors a year; the company is confident that their competitive advantage is work from morning to late evening. Hilary Ensell, director of marketing and product development for Bella Italia, is confident in the high potential of breakfast, as the eating habits of the British are changing.