Italian deli-café announces Irish expansion plans

Italian deli-cafe franchise Olio & Farina has announced its plans to continue its Irish expansion by opening outlets in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny. This expansion follows the success of existing Irish outlets in Limerick, Drogheda and Galway.

Elisabetta Ferri, from Olio & Farina in Genoa, comments: 'Olio & Farina sells a lifestyle, a way of living. We like to think we are successful because of the very special philosophy of quality and taste that we apply to the shops.

'The food and drink has to come from a small producer who uses traditional models. We don't want preservatives; it all has to be very natural and 100 per cent Italian. It's definitely not like other Italian-based shops abroad. We're very strict. You'd never find garlic bread in our shops. The Mediterranean diet is the best in the world and we are really proud of it. The Olio & Farina format is really easy to replicate and we would like to extend it even further.'

Olio & Farina takes care to establish a good relationship with every franchisee in its network. Before an outlet is opened, a meeting is held so that franchisee and franchisor can get to know each other. Once a suitable premise is found an Italian designer gets to work creating an authentic Italian interior.

Franchisees are helped with training staff, computer software and marketing. To ensure customers have a great shopping experience, the franchise owner and their staff are trained to know which ingredients complement each other and to know which wines would accompany the different Italian dishes. Olio & Farina also shows franchisees how to make pasta, Italian croissants, cut cured meat and bake foaccia bread.

Franchisees Maria and Liam Payne own the Galoway franchise. Maria comments: 'We had always loved Italian food and wine, so when we came across Olio & Farina we were just drawn to it. The food we sell in Olio & Farina is free from artificial flavourings; everything in the food is on the label. People are travelling more, and becoming more concerned about eating healthily, Italian food is good for you, it's fresh and simple, and, most of all, it tastes wonderful.'

Established in Genoa, Italy in 1999, Olio & Farinas's clients were originally corporate companies looking for Christmas food gifts. Since then, the brand has expanded across Europe with outlets operating in France and England as well as Ireland.

The first Olio & Farina Irish outlet was launched in 2005 in Limerick. Further stores appeared in Ireland in 2007 in Drogheda and Galway. The outlets stock up to 350 products, which are either produced on Olio & Farina's small farm in Tuscany or from small local producers and deliveries from Italy take place on a weekly basis if required.