Crolla’s, the Glasgow based gelateria, manufacturing and supply business, is ramping up the expansion of its retail business, and hopes to reach 10 sites this year, 25 in 2018 and 50 overall, MCA has learnt.

The ice cream business, which was founded 125 years ago, and is now run by fifth generation Peter Crolla Jnr, is franchising gelateria stores across the UK to capitalise on the trend for traditional Italian ice cream.

Crolla said franchising was the easiest, most sensible and fastest to grow the brand’s stores, which would generate more business for the core wholesale side.

Following openings in in Glasgow, Preston, Wishaw and Aberdeen over the past year, the current pipeline includes sites in Perth, Dundee, North Wales, Aberdeenshire, an additional site in Glasgow, two in Edinburgh, two in London, which are expected to come online in the coming months. 

Crolla said he would like to have a presence in most major UK cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Carlyle, Birmingham, Cardiff, but did not want the brand to become over-exposed, and could seek overseas expansion opportunities after reaching 50 sites.

He said: “Our main concern is that franchisees do well and the shops make money. It’s a long term thing, it’s not in and out. If they do well, we do well. It’s my name above the door so we need to support them to do a good job.

“I would never like to get to a stage where it is unmanageable. I want to still be able to support the franchisees. I’d like to get to 40 or 50 in the Britain and not flood the market.”

The traditional style sites have a glossy finish, with black and white photogrpahs and family history on the walls.

The gelato is made to a formula on site with 80 flavours and customers able to see it being made through viewing window.

On trends in the market, and Crollas’ points of difference, he added: “We noticed five years ago we had a record sales a year, then again year after year. It’s been a trend over the last five or six years. People are going into parlours at nighttime, spending a bit more money. We recognised that and it was one of the sparks that turned us on to the franchising world.

”There are other ice cream franchises, but they don’t have the same family heritage. Me and my dad are very much involved, and our name’s on the door. The history is a nice story and it’s what people like to read about it. The recipe hasn’t changed over all these years.”

Crolla’s is working with Platinum Wave Franchising.