Philip Dennhardt started the company in 2007 after learning the art of pizza-making in Rome.

Cork-based food company Saturday Pizzas is planning to take a bigger slice of the frozen pizza market in Ireland after opening its new factory in Little Island, which will see production double.

The company, which was started in 2007 by Philip Dennhardt, a German food entrepreneur and a trainer at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, has seen massive growth since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Sales of Saturday Pizzas increased by 150 per cent (pc) in the first half of this year, as consumers increased their spend on groceries during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Irish company, which makes margherita and pepperoni pizzas by hand, currently employs eight staff, but has plans to grow the team to 20 by 2023. Its pizzas are baked in wood-fired ovens before being flash frozen. The company’s pizzas are sold in several SuperValu, Spar, MACE and independent supermarkets.

Starting out thirteen years ago with a pop-up pizzeria on Saturdays, Dennhardt, who learned the art of pizza-making in Rome, was producing 300 pizzas a day with his team at the company’s original food production unit in Shanagarry.

“Growing can be uncomfortable but leaving the comfort zone is the challenge we are happy to face”

The company was recently awarded a Business Expansion Grant by the Local Enterprise Office in South Cork, and is now ready to produce 750 pizzas a day from its new unit in Little Island, boosting production capacity by 120pc.

“Our vision is to grow the Saturday Pizzas brand into overseas markets,” said Philip Dennhardt. “Growing can be uncomfortable but leaving the comfort zone is the challenge we are happy to face.

“We are very excited for the business to continue prospering and the support of our Local Enterprise Office has been invaluable. It is very reassuring to know that others believe in your business too and that is giving us the confidence to invest and grow.”

A recipe for success

Sean O’Sullivan, head of enterprise with Local Enterprise Office South Cork in Cork County Council, believes Saturday Pizzas has come up with the correct recipe to become a household name in Ireland and beyond.

“When the public were asked to stay home to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, supermarket sales rose dramatically. And at the same time, there was a big push to support Irish food and drink producers.

“As a result, a lot of our clients in the food and drink sector – like Saturday Pizzas – got an unexpected sales boost as many consumers were trying their products for the very first time.

“Now that Saturday Pizzas has opened its new factory and doubled production, they’re set to reach more supermarkets and consumers than ever before, backed by their Local Enterprise Office,” he added.

Further information about the supports available to small businesses, such as training, mentoring and financial grants, visit www.LocalEnterprise.ie.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 9 July, 2020

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