Fulham Shore executive chairman David Page is confident Franco Manca’s cook-at-home pizza range will not cannibalise restaurant sales and believes the strategy will offer consumers more choice.

Speaking to MCA, Page reflected on a similar move made by PizzaExpress some 20 years ago “which had no effect on the restaurant” and “made a lot of money for no capital expenditure.”

“They are two completely different choices [to eat pizza at home or dine out],” he said.

His comments come as Franco Manca this week launched a premium five-strong sourdough pizza range into 500 Tesco stores in an exclusive six-month arrangement.

The idea for the adventurously flavoured offer was conceived a “year or two ago” and the brand went to great lengths for inspiration.

“We had six chefs, a head chef. They toured Italy, America and other places and looked at interesting recipes,” Page said.

“We had a [Franco Manca] pop up in Italy, and we put on cured swordfish, thinly sliced… Some things might be a bit too exotic, but we’ll see.”

The Five Chef’s Selection line-up includes Quattro Formaggi with Balsamic Glaze (V), Spicy Salami, Fried Onion and Chilli-Infused Honey, Spiced Beef Meatball, Red Onion & Pecorino Butternut Squash, Stilton & Pumpkin Seeds (V) and Fennel Sausage, Chargrilled Red Peppers & Mozzarella flavours.

Although each pizza is made with the brand’s signature sourdough base, and stone baked in a traditional wood-fired oven, “none of the pizza [flavours] in store are available in the restaurants and vice versa”, Page explained.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, Page said he had not seen people altering their eating out habits.

“Last week was a record week in terms of turnover for both businesses [Franco Manca and The Real Greek] because it was half term,” he said.

“We took over £2.2m in a week. However, that has recovered from a very difficult two/three weeks around the Queen’s death and mourning period, where people didn’t really want to go to restaurants, they were in shock…

“Whether people last week were trading down from the more expensive restaurants, it’s difficult to know. Our restaurants are really as full as they can be at weekends, it’s the early week trade that’s a little variable.”

This week Franco Manca and The Real Greek operator Fulham Shore provided an update on trading in the six months to 25 September. Reported revenues for the period grew approximately 35% compared to the same period in 2019, and 25% compared to 2021, attributed to its value propositions.