Sharon Reid


Valentina Fine Foods opened nearly 25 years ago – back in 1991 as a speciality Italian deli in London; since then they have grown to seven locations across the South East and London. Valentina is jointly owned by the Zoccola and Arcari families and their extensive dining menu offers recipes handed down from generation to generation

Valentina, a name shared with the daughter of one of the founding families is today run by third generation family members Fabio, Carmine, Gabriella, Antonio and Marco. They ensure that both the delis and restaurants uphold the traditions the company was founded on.

Today each site, as well as being a deli houses its own restaurant with the most recent opening that took place late in 2014 in the affluent area of Chiswick. Valentina has built up an online shop and import business with over 1,000 carefully curated artisan food and drink items.

Bruno has shared some of his top tips on the running of a deli and restaurant for any budding young entrepreneurs out there.

You need to get the word out there quickly, by being one step ahead of the curve and reinventing yourself you will always stand the chance of staying competitive and relevant in your market.”

Bruno Zoccola - Valentina

Bruno Zoccola – Valentina

Bruno also states how important it is to be as creative as possible, not just with the food you make but with the way you portray your company. “Valentina has hosted opera singers and jazz musicians in store. It is not about what you do but how you do it, anyone can cook up some pasta, it is about making your pasta better than the people next door.

“Educate your consumers. Here at Valentina we want to inform our customers of the value and point of difference of the high-quality food that we import over the standard food you would tend to get in high street supermarkets. This is one of the reasons why the management team of Valentina are not only Italian but family members, so they are always on hand to lend their expertise.”

Finally, Bruno states that it is important to use each business to grow others. The Zoccola and Arcari families decided to open a restaurant because people visiting the deli would always want to sit down and sample some of what Valentina had to offer with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand. The process is organic and is a highly complementary business model.

Oh and one more tip from Bruno – “Above all else, make sure you are well funded.”

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