And of course the trend towards healthier eating means Italian food is becoming more popular than ever. Fresh tomatoes, juicy salads and energy-releasing pasta dishes are rendering fatty takeaway foods obsolete as consumers look to the svelte Italians for inspiration.
Entrepreneurs looking for a lucrative business opportunity could find that investing in an Italian restaurant franchise is a great way to capitalise on this timeless love for Mediterranean food and turn a passion into a career.
There is plenty of choice in the Italian restaurant sector, and innovative franchisees will be sure to find something to suit their lifestyle and their budget. From traditional pasta and pizza houses to fine Italian dining, franchisees can take their pick. Of course some may even choose to add an American twist and go Little Italy style.
Whatever type of restaurant a franchisee decides to open it's important to conduct some thorough research into consumer demand before going ahead. Finding out what consumers in a given area are looking for and identifying gaps in the market will be crucial to ensuring the success of the business.
Similarly, franchisees must make sure that local competition isn't going to squeeze their profits by stealing away customers. A similar restaurant concept offering the same food in the same town is not going to be beneficial to business.
So who can set up an Italian restaurant franchise? Basically anyone who has solid business and managerial experience, the motivation to work hard, and a genuine desire to deliver excellent customer service. After all, making sure customers are happy and well fed is the key to any successful restaurant business.
Franchisees do not require a high level of restaurant expertise to open their own Italian eatery, since full training and ongoing support is provided by the parent company. However a passion for Mediterranean food and some form of catering knowledge is a great advantage.
As well as on the job training franchisees will benefit from marketing and advertising support, ensuring that customers hear about the newly opened restaurant and want to give it a try.
But of course maintaining the success of the business long term is up to the franchisee, and while help, advice and a proven business model are offered, making sure customers are satisfied will come down to the service, the atmosphere, and above all the food in any individual restaurant.
It will therefore be crucial for franchisees to keep their eye on the ball and make sure staff are working hard, the food is up to scratch and that customers are getting exactly what they want.
Investing in a restaurant franchise as opposed to, for example, a services franchise, can be quite expensive, since franchisees will not only have to purchase the restaurant site and pay any franchise fees, but there will also be plenty of ongoing expenses, such as staff and fresh ingredients.
But for those who have the skills and the determination make their Italian restaurant the best in town, it could turn out to be a lucrative business opportunity.
Copyright Adfero Ltd 2006