A Liverpool-based family business that imports food products from Italy to supply to restaurants around the UK is expanding with backing from business funding provider MSIF.
In Tavola Italian Food & Wine Company Limited was set up in 2014 and is run by brothers Donato, Carmine, Paolo Cillo and their sister Maria.
They arrived in Liverpool 10 years ago from their native Italy and set up several businesses including Paulo & Donato’s Italian deli in Williamson Square and Crust, a pizzeria and pasta restaurant which has a venue on Bold Street with a second site due to open soon in Woolton village.
The company imports a wide variety of traditional Italian food including cured meats, cheese and dairy products, dry and fresh pasta, vegetables, flour, yeast, oils and vinegars as well as an extensive range of drinks including artisan and craft beers and over 100 different wines from various regions.
In Tavola supply their products to a number of restaurants and food outlets across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Wales and Glasgow.
MSIF provided a £50k loan which is being used to buy new delivery vans and take on new staff to help cope with demand for its expanding operation.
Director Donato Cillo said: “We have several restaurants and food outlets in Liverpool and found it difficult to source good quality ingredients for Italian food in the UK."
“Because we’d encountered problems sourcing authentic ingredients ourselves, we thought other Italian ad European restaurants and delis must have the same problem. We previously ran restaurants in Italy and had lots of good connections there so we decided to set up our own import company."
“The key to our success has been the quality of our products. We work only with the best vineyards and artisan food makers, many of which have been around for generations."
“We source produce from the regions that they originate from for complete authenticity. For example, all our buffalo mozzarella is imported from Campiano near Naples and Parma ham from its namesake Parma."
“The business has expanded steadily since we set up two years ago growing from a turnover of £220k to £500k this year. We have taken on another member of staff as a direct result of the loan and expect to take on one more within six months."
“We have a very loyal customer base but there are lots more opportunities for us. The funding will enable us to service new clients and achieve much higher sales."
“MSIF have been a great support. They are much more than just a funding provider. They’ve given us so much guidance and helped us through each step of the process.”
Andy Jones, investment manager at MSIF said: “Donato and his family are experienced entrepreneurs with lots of knowledge about the restaurant and food industry. The business is already doing extremely well and we are very happy to be supporting its expansion.”
Turnover next year is expected to reach £700k and the business expects to increase its customer base by around 50 per cent during the next two years.