A friend from high society once joked (or rather, jeered): “Lyn, you are a restaurateur, …
Riccardo Cortese comes from Maddaloni, Campania, in the South of Italy, the Land of Pizza. He studied Public Relations in Milan and he is amused by the act of giving life to projects like start-ups in different fields, especially food service. Currently he is CONFAPI youth President (an association of small and medium sized businesses) in his territory. He is also a national web marketing CONFAPI representative. His associate partner is Federico Pinna, a Sardinian young man who studied Economy and Marketing. Likewise his specialization lies in the field of start-ups, more specifically regarding Marketing and Communication projects, and he is also founder and partner of “Milano Food Week”, the Milan Week dedicated to food and wine.
How did you get the idea to open this kind of restaurant and why have you decided to do it?
The passion for good cooking and food service have always fascinated us and we always mixed them in/with our projects. Foodation is a multi-brand holding that includes all the different formats of our firm: Mariù – culinary kebabberia, Macinata – Sarti di burger, Burbee – Artisanal Burger & Beers and the last born, Briscola – Pizza Society.
All the premises belong to the typology of fast or casual dining.
Mariù is the result of an attempt and desire to bring closer a broader female public to the Kebab – World, also due to the introduction of a menu – that allows to create a customise kebab with many different and genuine ingredients that come from the best of the Italian tradition (for example, the Puccia Salentina – a typical regional bread, Burrata cheese, Pecorino cheese, crema di tartufo – truffle cream).
Macinata is the “Hamburgeria – Burger House” where “customization” finds its best application: the bread, the type of meat, the size and the way to cook the latter, and every single additional ingredient are choosen by the customer, whom imagination can run free while inventing his own high quality personalized burger .
Burbee is the only format created for franchising projects and agreements. An “hamburgeria” that reflects a street mood: it offers burgers and handcrafted beers thanks to a series of recipes strongly inspired by the original hamburger and its native land: USA.
Briscola is a pizzeria enhanced by the best Neapolitan tradition, where the main ingredients are (San Marzano DOP tomatoes and Campanian Fiordilatte) associated with a winning spirit, a location with a captivating contemporary design and where the healthiness of the product is exalted. To offer a flawless product is essential; this goal is attainable by using wholewheat dough for pizza and a special care while cooking it in a daily kept clean oven.
What is the main idea of it and what goals you would like to reach?
Foodation is born to meet the new demands of the Italian and international public. Further to our travels abroad we realized that – at least in the big cities – the clients want to eat more quickly compared to the past. Foodation aims to create and manage this type of format at an affordable price without sacrificing the quality of your product and a pleasant environment.
The goal is to be able to spread our quality format through the Italian territory and abroad.
How long it took to organize all? Did anyone help you?
The first format was developed in 2012: Trita. This model, innovative and highly successful, was followed in 2013 by Burbee – artisanal burger&beer. In 2014, the Food Lovers Invest (throttle start up WithFounders) and some business angels invested in Foodation with the aim of contributing to the growth with new openings, also in Milan: thus the first points of sale format Mariù (September 2014), Minced (October 2014) and Trump (February 2015 ).
Why do you think that it is so important- successful the integration of cultures and this reinterpretation of the food?
Food is no longer just the answer to a basic need but it’s also a cultural factor able to leverage on the memories and desires. Going out for dinner, or lunch break, can be a kind of trip, it is certainly an experience, a daily discovery and re- discovery parenthesis.
We are observing, in the last years, a strong emerging trend for the Italian food: Eataly probably is affirming his supremacy and is riding this wave ( defining quality, sustainability, real “Made in Italy”). Do you feel that you are also taking advantages of it, but in a different way?
Next projects – new ideas
For now, after the opening of the three formats that we wanted to create, we are focusing on new openings abroad, for us this is the biggest challenge.
What kind of message do you want to share with your customers through Mariù?
The kebab can be absolutely genuine and unexpectedly refined! Seeing is believing.
What would you like to suggest to young men- women who have a dream and would like to accomplish it?
Preparation is the key, but even more important is the work and the life experience that allows to know the context in which you want to create your own projects.
All photos are property of Foodation srl.