Rapidly growing pizza chain set to open in Chelmsford

A popular pizza chain that offers private meeting rooms for businesses and has been used by the Chancellor is set to open in Chelmsford.

Sourdough pizza restaurant chain Franco Manca has asked for a licence from Chelmsford City Council for the premises formerly occupied by The Works before its closure in 2019.

Plans suggest a restaurant with 170 covers that will open until midnight every day.

The owners of Franco Manca, Fulham Shore, told the FT earlier in the year properties coming up at cheap rents would help drive its growth.

“We will probably open seven sites this year, 12 next year and 15 the year after that,” said chairman David Page.

“We are in a good place compared to many other people because we didn’t have to borrow a lot [to see through the coronavirus crisis].”

Page added moving into premises that formerly operated as restaurants helped his company cut development costs from about £700,000 to £300,000.

Franco Manca’s first store opened on Market Row in Brixton Market.

The company has since opened restaurants across the UK in Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Works, which specialises in desserts, ice creams and waffles, opened up in the city in May 201 before closing a year later even before Covid struck.

“The High Street generally is like a war zone,” Works owner Roger Bolton said at the time.

“So many bigger brands than us are having a hard time.

“We thought, to be honest, that we had something a little bit unique that was different to the rest in Chelmsford.

“It has worked well with our other two restaurants but it has not been enough in Chelmsford.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter