Liverpool-based Italian food import firm secures cash from MSIF for expansion

In Tavola Italian Food & Wine Company was set up in 2014 and is run by brothers Donato, Carmine, Paolo Cillo and their sister Maria – its turnover has grown from £220,000 to £500,000 a year.

From left Paolo Cillo (In Tavola director), Donato Cillo (director) Andy Jones (MSIF) Massimo Caiazzo (manager), Carmine Cillo (director) and Maria Cillo (director)

A Liverpool-based family business that imports food products from Italy to supply to restaurants around the UK is expanding with backing from Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF).

In Tavola Italian Food & Wine Company was set up in 2014 and is run by brothers Donato, Carmine, Paolo Cillo and their sister Maria. 

They arrived in Liverpool 10 years ago from their native Italy and set up several businesses including Paulo & Donato’s Italian deli in Williamson Square and Crust, a pizzeria and pasta restaurant which has a venue on Bold Street with a second site due to open soon in Woolton village.

The company imports a wide variety of traditional Italian food including cured meats, cheese and dairy products, dry and fresh pasta, vegetables, flour, yeast, oils and vinegars as well as an extensive range of drinks including artisan and craft beers and over 100 different wines from various regions.

In Tavola supply their products to a number of restaurants and food outlets across Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Wales and Glasgow.

MSIF provided a £50,000 loan which is being used to buy new delivery vans and take on new staff to help cope with demand for its expanding operation. 

Director Donato Cillo said:  “We have several restaurants and food outlets in Liverpool and found it difficult to source good quality ingredients for Italian food in the UK.

“Because we’d encountered problems sourcing authentic ingredients ourselves, we thought other Italian ad European restaurants and delis must have the same problem.

“We previously ran restaurants in Italy and had lots of good connections there so we decided to set up our own import company.

“The key to our success has been the quality of our products. We work only with the best vineyards and artisan food makers, many of which have been around for generations.    

“We source produce from the regions that they originate from for complete authenticity. For example, all our buffalo mozzarella is imported from Campiano near Naples and Parma ham from its namesake Parma.

“The business has expanded steadily since we set up two years ago growing from a turnover of £220,000 to £500,000 this year.

“We have taken on another member of staff as a direct result of the loan and expect to take on one more within six months.”

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