Lievita, the Milan-based pizzeria concept which has just made its UK debut via Deliveroo Editions, is targeting five dark kitchens by 2018, with the revenues to go towards opening a physical restaurant in London, MCA has learnt.

Co-founder Lorenzo Santin told MCA Lievita decided to take up the option of opening two Editions kitchens, in Islington and Swiss Cottage, due to the expense of establishing a bricks and mortar restaurant, as well as the economic uncertainty around Brexit.

He said providing the concept fulfilled its KPIs with Deliveroo, they would open a third kitchen in London, with possible international Editions sites after that.

Santin said this approach gave the brand a foothold in London, without an upfront investment, as well as brand recognition.

He told MCA: “Because of Brexit, and because London is very expensive, in terms of entry fees, and possible rent reviews, we felt having this opportunity to get a foot in the city without an upfront investment was the best way to test the market and make our brand known.

“We already have an agreement to open a third kitchen in 2018, if we meet Deliveroo’s KPIs, in terms of preparation time and waiting times.

“From there if the business goes well, Deliveroo can invest in us much more in London or in other cities around the world.

“In terms of the economics, we can increase revenues, and as soon as we have some cash and a track record in London, there will be more chance for us to look for a physical restaurant.”

Lievita has three sites in Milan and previously worked with Deliveroo in Italy, with the Editions opportunity coming about after Deliveroo founder Will Shu tried Lievita’s pizza during a business trip.

Their pizza is at a higher price point than most Neapolitan concepts in London, with a margarita costing £9 and the most expensive £14, which Santin said was due to the premium imported Italian ingredients.

He said after a week trading in London, they were considering increasing the size of the base, which some consumers felt was smaller than what they were used to.

Santin said the group was one of the few Neapolitan pizzerias in London to use semolina grain for its dough.