La Porchetta offers taste of homemade Italian cuisine

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Inside Franchise Business: homemade Italian cuisine is at the heart of La PorchettaLa Porchetta is a homemade Italian kitchen concept which runs a standard kitchen with a full restaurant menu, and a pizza kitchen.

“We’ve been around for more than 30 years and have grown because we understand our customer,” says CEO Sara Pantaleleo.

“The ideal site for us is in a suburban area, because people now want to eat locally. There’s also a growing market for takeaway and home delivery.”

Families are the core customer base, with baby boomers and youngsters also keen diners.

Meals are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, so franchisees must follow franchisor processes and procedures to ensure consistency across the brand.

However, they can create a specials board to cater for local tastes.

“We’ve made sure our menu has lighter options, as well as options for vegetarians and people with special dietary needs,” says Pantaleo. “We’ve been customising our meals for our diners since we started.”

As well as the menu being reviewed annually, franchisees need to ensure they “stay across changing food trends and can meet customer demand at a national level, as well as provide menu items that reflect local demographics”.

“As well as the point-of-sale system we use, we’ve introduced online ordering and driver tracking,” says Pantaleo. “We’ve also introduced new marketing platforms. Technology is a very big part of everything we do, including engaging with our customers online, because that’s where they now are.”

Online portals and apps have transaction fees, and home delivery is being trialled.

“In a highly competitive market, you need to make sure you deliver at every touch point,” says Pantaleo. “It’s very important to listen to your customers. That’s one the most important elements of a successful business.”

The initial investment in a  La Porchetta franchise starts from $450,000, depending on the size and location of the restaurant. The franchise terms are 10 years, and there is a flat-fee system.

Franchisees benefit from a flat fee system, full training, on-site visits, regular contacts from franchise support coaches, and marketing.

Pantaleo says an ideal franchisee is someone who loves food, has entrepreneurial drive and is passionate about greeting customers.

“They need to enjoy rolling up their sleeves and being owner/operators. We have amazing husband-and-wife teams and franchisees who are in a business partnership in which they complement each other’s skills, and that works very well.”  

Her advice for potential buyers considering the casual-dining space: “Don’t think it’s a passive investment. It is a business in which you will need to work. If you love the food industry, you will love it.

“Make sure you are aligned to the culture of the brand and that you love it, because it’s like a marriage. If you don’t fall in love with it, you can’t succeed.”

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