London: beyond any doubt one of the most multi-ethnic city of the world, especially concerning the food. Now, families, workers and tourists in UK capital can even savor an authentic iconic Italian dish: lasagna, a renowned food in the four corners of the world. Everyone has tried a lasagna at least once and, thanks to Mister Lasagna, the perfect recipe, the grandma’s one, means the harmonious balance of dough, Bolognese sauce, bechamel, parmigiano and mozzarella cheese is available to all, starting in the UK capital city.
A WIDE CHOICE FOR LONDON PEOPLE
This is exactly the mission of Alessandro Limone, founder and soul of the format: serving the authentic Italian lasagna made as per his grandma’s recipe, in the city of London.
Established in 2016, the format can rely actually on 1 store located in one of the fanciest location in London, Soho, serving 21 different types of lasagna: from the classics such as Bolognese and pesto to the more innovative with truffle or smoked salmon.
All lasagnas are made in Italy with Italian ingredients of course and with extreme care in the selection of raw materials, then shipped to the UK (and Europe) with modified atmosphere packaging and frozen to the rest of the world.
We reached Alessandro, to know more about the format and the future projects.
What sparked you the idea to launch Mister Lasagna?
“In the summer of 2013, I traveled with a friend to London for a holiday. While visiting the market in Brick Lane, I thought that a food stall in the market would be a good test for my new business concept. After talking with Brick Lane Market management we convinced them about the project skipping a waiting list of 2 years. I barely had time to get back home and recruit three friends for the project. In the beginning, I used to cook lasagna in his newly rented flat in London and the feedback from customers was immediate. The demand was so high that me and my friends could barely keep up. We worked the market from October to December 2013.
Once back home, the Mister Lasagna concept had already been developed. The idea of selling several variations of lasagna and customize them with different toppings was conceived. We spent the following months raising capital to open the first shop in London. More friends got on board and in October 2015 the search for a prominent location began.”
What are the key elements that drove to the success of the format?
“They can be summarized as follows:
- Italian food is officially the most popular cuisine in the world (ref. YouGov Study) and Lasagna is one of the most famous dishes;
- Lasagna can be prepared with all kind of ingredients (check what former Spice Girls Emma Bunton thinks of our Nutella sweet lasagna);
- We make pre-cooked lasagna trays which only require a small/medium size oven for heating. No need for a fully equipped kitchen, making the concept ideal also for locations with limited space or for takeaway only shops;
- Give the customers a real Italian experience combined with the modernization of fast service restaurants.”
What are your project for the future?
“After trying opening a few pop-up restaurants in the heart of London (Piccadilly, Belgravia and Victoria), we aim in opening a permanent shop in London zone 1 or 2 to benefit from reduced lease fees and which includes a production facility as we want to have total control over the manufacturing process, followed by at least 2 more shops in London area.
At the same time we are working on developing an international franchising and we have several requests for Germany, Austria and the Gulf region. We are also researching Berlin and Hamburg as candidate cities to open a restaurant in Germany.
The major plan is to launch Mister Lasagna USA as we certain the concept will work extremely well in America. For this reason, we are test the ground for a partner which will lead to a first opening probably on the East coast, followed by the creation of a dedicated production facility to facilitate operations in North America.”