Precision fridges handle the heat in Franco Manca’s kitchen

Innovative designs keep ingredients safe, whatever the temperature 

Franco Manca’s sourdough pizzas are regularly voted the best in Britain and the group recently won best run chain with under twenty outlets in the UK.  So what’s the secret?  Nabil Mankarious, managing director, says it’s a combination of factors – including attention to detail, great quality food at great value, and close relationships with suppliers. 

“My business partner David Page and I have been in catering since 1987,” he says.  “We stick with suppliers who give us quality, consistency and reliability and who are prepared to go out of their way when we need them to.” 

The willingness to go the extra mile is one of the things that Nabil likes best about Precision, the British manufacturer that supplies Franco Manca with its refrigeration products.  “Precision has even helped us by producing new refrigeration lines to suit our business.” 

However, the first thing refrigeration has to be is reliable.  “Our pizza ovens are a feature of the restaurant – they are built by artisans from Naples, get up to 500°C and cook pizza in just one minute,” says Nabil.  “They produce a lot of heat, so sometimes the refrigeration has to work really hard.  The Precision equipment is very reliable, very solid.  It just keeps on working, whatever the temperature.” 

Since the equipment is mostly front of house, it needs to look good too.   With their oversize displays, simple lines and stylish grills Precision’s undercounter cabinets are ideal for the Franco Manca chefs who produce pizzas in front of the customer.  And their beauty is more than skin-deep: “Our pizzas produce a lot of flour.  That can cause issues with undercounter fridges, as their fans suck it in through the ventilation grills.  So Precision developed a fan that periodically goes into reverse – so it blows out any flour that’s inside the mechanism, keeping everything running smoothly.”

Sustainability is important for Franco Manca.  “Although we’re very much an Italian concept we try to source from the UK.  Mozzarella from Somerset, ham and sausages from Gloucestershire.  Even our beer is from Kent!  When it comes to choosing refrigeration, first and foremost is reliability, to cope whatever the temperature.  Precision’s equipment is manufactured in the UK and its energy-saving features are significant factors, too.”

When Franco Manca had issues with its pizza dough becoming over-heated, Precision worked with Nabil to develop a special dough retarder cabinet.  It’s extra deep, in order to accommodate the restaurant’s oversized dough buckets.  It’s capable of holding the dough at a steady 18°C, thanks to a special airflow design that ensures the temperature is even throughout. 

Another recent Precision innovation is designed to keep Franco Manca’s red wine in top condition.  “In the summer, when it can get very hot, the characteristics of our organic red wine can change.  So we asked Precision to produce something like a wine cooler, an undercounter unit to store red wine at 13°C. They came along, understood what we wanted, and started to produce the coolers for us.   

“With Precision, it feels like nothing’s too much to ask.  They’re a really good company to work with.” 

The Precision refrigeration is supplied by Dentons Catering Equipment.  “We purchase most of our equipment through Dentons.  They’ve been with us for over 15 years and the relationship really works.  We know we can rely on them to look after the maintenance of equipment too,” says Nabil.

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