North West

Carluccio’s cooks up a storm


The popular Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s has opened another restaurant in Liverpool’s vibrant Metquarter.

As one of the most successful restaurant chains in the UK, Carluccio’s celebrates an enthusiastic following of eager eaters who are keen to get their hands on some authentic Italian food. The first Carluccio’s cafe opened in 1999 at Market Place, London and since then the chain has expanded to encompass over 50 restaurants in locations including Milton Keynes, Leicester, Bicester, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Founder Antonio Carluccio was born in 1937 in Vietri sul Mare in the province of Salerno. After moving to the UK in 1975, he became the manager and eventual owner of Terence Conran’s Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden. The author of thirteen books, Antonio Carluccio appeared in the BBC series ‘Two Greedy Italians’ and was awarded an honorary OBE in January 2007.

After ten years spent developing the Carluccio’s chain alongside Priscilla Carluccio, Antonio continues to work with the Carluccio’s team on menu development and chef training.

One of the most important aspects of the Carluccio’s chain is the use of fresh and authentic ingredients, and those who opt to dine at the restaurant will enjoy a menu that boasts everything from hand-made pasta to seasonal fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. Each restaurant also celebrates a warm and friendly atmosphere, which remains constant although the location may change.


Another constant factor in the development of Carluccio’s is leading shop fitting contractor Ecsec, who have completed over 40 projects for Carluccio’s over the last ten years.

For the Liverpool project, Ecsec converted an existing retail unit into a Carluccio’s restaurant in just nine weeks. The one-storey development has retained the original stone cladding, however the floor levels had to be adjusted with a new raised floor, a new drainage system  installed to suit the layout and a new  frontage with the main entrance was formed leading out into the pedestrian area in front of the Metquarter.

The project began in January 2012 and the restaurant opened to the public on 23rd March 2012.

Simon Kossoff, CEO at Carluccio’s, said:

“We have been looking to open a Carluccio’s in Liverpool for some time now. We are delighted to have found a site in the fantastic Metquarter development.”

Carluccio’s Liverpool features a large central marble bar where customers can relax and have a drink or pre-dinner aperitivo with anti-pasti. The deli counter displays cheeses, olives and cured meats along with sandwiches, tarts and deserts.


Customers who would like to take a slice of authentic Italy home with them will find the Carluccio’s food shop bursting with delicious ingredients all year long.

Chris Farthing, Managing Director of Ecsec, said:

“We have worked with Carluccio’s for a long time and have a strong working relationship with the company, who we view as a valued and loyal customer. We are particularly pleased to have worked on the Liverpool project, which has created a welcome new addition to the Carluccio’s chain.

“This was a challenging project due to a tight programme and city centre location, which had time-controlled deliveries within a pedestrian area and back of house corridors that were unsuitable for large deliveries. As a result, we had to carefully organise the construction schedule around these factors.

“One of the most enjoyable aspects of this project is the excellent feedback that we have received. In fact, the centre manager told the client that they have never had a contractor on site that is so organised and easy to deal with and we are welcome back any time!”

The exciting thing about Carluccio’s is that it continues to develop and adapt to suit the needs of its customers.

In November 2011 the chain announced the launch of a new bar format, which has been designed to attract after-work clientele. The Aperitivo Bar concept will replace the fresh food deli and barista bar area of each site every evening, offering customers an exciting Italian bar experience.


The bars feature soft lighting, upholstered seating and high-topped tables and barstools. All of the drinks on offer are exclusively Italian and include beer on draught, bottled beer, regional wines and contemporary cocktails.

Simon Kossoff said:

“We have always traded well at traditional mealtimes such as breakfast, lunch and supper as well as during the day. The new Aperitivo Bar offer has been designed specifically to attract an after-work early evening clientele, increasing traffic between the quieter hours of 5pm and 7pm whilst offering our guests the same great value and genuine Italian experience that they have come to expect.”

On 23rd November 2011, Carluccio’s opened their first outlet north of the borders. The 417 square metre outlet in Glasgow city’s West Nile Street is based in a former branch of the HSBC bank and brings Carluccio’s trademark restaurant, food shop and delicatessen together under one roof.

Scottish contractor Dimensions were commissioned to complete the refit, which was valued at around £750,000. The restaurant has a total of 130 covers and employs 47 people.

Simon Kossoff commented that Carluccio’s had intended to establish a restaurant in Scotland for around eighteen months. He said:

“I do think of the Scottish cities that Glasgow’s the best in terms of potential, but we would have opened in Edinburgh or Aberdeen if a site had come up first. I’m hoping we’ll have Carluccio’s in Aberdeen and I don’t rule out the possibility of having more than one store in these cities.

“The design has moved on from anything we’ve got anywhere else – we’ve got much more of a split bar and shop offer, so people can really come here and have a glass of beer or wine after work or before eating.”

Carluccio’s is also dedicated to ensuring that their developments are as sustainable as possible. Last year the company recycled 78.3% of their waste, which is the equivalent of 3,400 tonnes of waste or 1,000 fully loaded double decker buses.

The chain also concluded an agreement with Convert2Green that will see all of their waste cooking oil converted into bio fuel. Under the deal, Convert2Green will collect used oil from the 54 branches of the chain across the UK. This will then be turned into bio fuel to power delivery trucks, slashing CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent compared to conventional fuel.

Steve Kaddish, Development Manager at Carluccio’s, said:

“Our aim in the first 12 months was to save 92.7 tonnes of carbon through recycling our waste oil – a big step in our overall aim to recycle in the region of 78 percent of waste.”

Further sustainable efforts include Carluccio’s Cycle to Work scheme, which was launched in April 2011 and encourages salaried members of staff to ride their bicycle to work.

Carluccio’s restaurants are built in a range of exciting locations and each one is unique, as Chris Farthing explained:

“Each of the projects that we have completed for Carluccio’s has been different, and there has been a range of new build and refurbishment projects.


“For example, we recently completed the refurbishment of an existing two-storey restaurant. Whilst the Carluccio’s restaurants normally have quite a modern, clean ambiance the Paddington Street London scheme was designed to be more individual with a calm, clean and orderly space contrasted with worn and found materials.

“Although the design may differ slightly, some design elements remain constant. For instance, Carluccio’s use quite a lot of marble for the bar areas and oak timber for the flooring. Working with the interior designers we endeavour to make sure that the aesthetics are complimented by practicality, low maintenance and longevity. Our ultimate aim is to deliver a restaurant that will stand the test of time and not cost a fortune.”

Ecsec are one of the leading restaurant and bar, retail design, commercial and office fit out contractors in the UK. Boasting over 50 years of experience, the company has carefully built a reputation for delivering high-quality projects within budget and on time.

The company is action orientated and their ‘can do’ approach allows them to realise their clients’ restaurant, bar, retail, commercial or office vision.

Chris Farthing commented:

“Most of our customers are repeat customers – people keep coming back to us time after time, so we must be doing something right. We’re not contractual, we like to take ownership and get involved. As a company we are very hands on and we like to think that we’re not just a contractor, but a partner that people can work with.

“We have a will to succeed and the drive to bring the project to a conclusion, as the majority of our business is from recommendation or repeat customers, I think this speaks volumes about the way that we do business.”

The innovative work of Ecsec has not gone unnoticed, and several of the Carluccio’s developments have received nods from award bodies.

One such project is the Carluccio’s restaurant in Cardiff, which was a contender in the 2011 UK Restaurant and Bar Design Awards. The cafe is in the library building of St. David’s Centre and faces onto Mill Lane, which is the restaurant quarter of central Cardiff. Just a short walk from the main train station and situated opposite the prestigious Marriott Hotel, the restaurant has a beautiful outside seating area where guests can enjoy fresh Italian food in the sunshine.

Chris Farthing said:

“One thing I have learned in this business is that you must never become complacent, you’re only as good as your last job, so we treat every job we do as if it is our first. We continue to learn from any challenges and strive to offer Carluccio’s the best value for money service that we possibly can.

“Although each Carluccio’s project has been interesting in its own right, I do have my own personal favourites. One of these is the Tunbridge Wells project, for which we converted an old bank and restored it to its former glory. In fact, Ecsec and Carluccio’s even won a conservation award for this project.

“It’s great working with Carluccio’s because they are very professional, switched on guys and know exactly what they want. They understand the process and pressures we work under and make decisions early, which gives the team the chance to get the job done properly.”

One of the latest offerings from Carluccio’s is the new Dorchester restaurant. The 3,264 sq ft unit is located in the Bonded Stores building as part of the town’s £100 million Brewery Square development.

A number of restaurants have been confirmed for the town regeneration plan, including: Wagamama, Zizzi, Cafe Rouge and Pizza Express.

Andrew Wadsworth, Director of project developers Waterhouse, said:

“The iconic Italian restaurant Carluccio’s coming to Brewery Square is great news for Dorchester. Carluccio’s will form an important part of the great evening offer at Brewery Square, transforming Dorchester with a new cultural and leisure hub in the West Country.”

Steve Hill, Chief Executive Officer of Carluccio’s, added:

“We are delighted to have secured such a fantastic building in Brewery Square and look forward to opening Carluccio’s delicatessen and restaurant this year.”

With more Carluccio’s in the pipeline, the chain will surely continue to provide eager customers with delicious coffee and fresh Italian food for years to come.

Breezefree Ltd

Breezefree Ltd is a specialist supplier of alfresco equipment to bars, restaurants and public houses throughout the UK. The company prides itself in providing its clients with a full range of services and this includes a fixed range of products right through to bespoke solutions.

Breezefree Ltd has supplied external equipment – including awnings, parasols and screens – to many Carluccio’s restaurants and it’s a working relationship that Breezefree Ltd values.

Breezefree Ltd Marketing Manager, Paul King, said:

“Many of our clients – including Carluccio’s – use our service because they know that we provide a reliable and informative service. We assign a project manager to each site so our clients know that they can deal with a member of our team that knows their account intimately.

“We always deliver what we say we can deliver and essentially it’s this level of service that sets us apart from our competitors.”

Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd

Family-run business Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd is an electrical contractor for the commercial, industrial and domestic sectors. The company undertakes all types of electrical work but specialises in the inspection and testing of installations including emergency lighting, fire alarms and portable appliances.

Previous projects that Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd has been involved with include Salthouse Harbour Hotel in Ipswich, Colchester United FC’s football stadium and the Howard Theatre in Cambridge. The company is also affiliated to the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) and is registered to ISO 9000.

Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd has provided electrical services on over 50 Carluccio’s restaurants, which includes installing lighting and kitchen power, emergency lighting, fire alarm systems and external lighting.

Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd Company Secretary, Aaron Stokes, said:

“At Bowling Garrard Electrical Ltd we always ensure we complete a project on time and within budget and we’ve never missed a deadline. We have a team of trained professionals ready to provide a high quality service, to a very high standard.”

Sparks Security Systems Ltd

For 26 years Sparks Security Systems Ltd has installed intruder alarm systems for use in the domestic and commercial sector. The company specialises in providing security systems to retail outlets and restaurants and has a long-standing relationship with Carluccio’s that dates back to 1999.

Sparks Security Systems Ltd has worked on almost every Carluccio’s restaurant, fitting monitoring and intruder alarm systems.

Sparks Security Systems Ltd Managing Director, Malcolm Sparks, said:

“We’re a small, family-run business but we cover a very wide area. We offer a reliable, cost-effective service and we only fit security systems that are to a high-standard. We never cut corners.”

JSB Interiors 

JSB Interiors specialise in the manufacture and installation of bespoke fixed and free-standing furniture for bars, restaurants, airports and leisure facilities. With over 65 years combined experience in the trade, JSB Interiors comprises a close knit team of skilled professionals including a number of in-house upholsterers and joiners.

JSB Interiors supplies furniture and upholstery services to a wide range of clients across the UK including: Harrods, Yo Sushi, Giraffe, Marks & Spencer and Panasonic. For Carluccio’s JSB Interiors provides the restaurant with fixed and free-standing seating.

JSB Interiors Company Partner, Scott Borrows, said:

“We’ve worked on more than ten Carluccio’s and once they’re completed they look quite uniformed and very classy. All of the work we deliver is completed to the highest standard – with no corners being cut – so that each restaurant looks stunning and is instantly recognisable.”

Etchells Signs & Display Solutions

For over 50 years, family-run business Etchells Signs & Display Solutions has specialised in the manufacture and installation of signage and printed graphics. The company provides signage to many high-profile companies with the majority of its work being completed in the retail and restaurant sectors.

Etchells Signs & Display Solutions has provided more than thirty Carluccio’s restaurants with internal and external signage, which includes many bespoke printed wall graphics that are used within each site.

Etchells Signs & Display Solutions Managing Director, Phil Etchells, said:

“Carluccio’s is a very successful business with new outlets opening all of the time, so it’s great to be involved with such a high-profile chain of restaurants. We’re involved with each project during the initial stages of development and this helps us to make the right decisions to provide the best possible results.

“At Etchells Signs & Display Solutions we’re innovative, we can respond to the needs and requirements of all of our clients and we love taking on a new challenge.”

About the author

Premier Construction

Leave a Comment