09/11/2015

Aberavon’s famous Franco’s fish and chip shop to become a 100-seat restaurant with funding from Finance Wales and Lloyds Bank

Franco’s, the renowned family run fish and chip shop on Aberavon seafront is to be transformed into a new 100-seat restaurant thanks to a six-figure funding package. 

The funding is made up of a £400,000 loan from Finance Wales and a loan of  £275,000 from Lloyds Bank as well as personal investment from the business

With the Afan Lido currently undergoing a multimillion-pound refurbishment as part of the on-going regeneration of Aberavon seafront, the family hopes the new restaurant will become popular with visitors and match the success of its other seafront business, Café Remos.

The expansion is also good news for the local tradesmen who will be responsible for the transformation and once the restaurant opens this year it is expected to employ 20 extra staff.

A successful business for over 30 years, owners Ray and Monya Di Francesco serve around 75,000 tourists and locals 250,000 portions of chips a year.

Keen to keep the business in the family the couple’s son Anthony has joined the business in recent years, while daughters Mia and Kristina are lined up to take charge of the developed Franco’s.

Mr Di Francesco believes the funding will allow the family business to capitalise on Aberavon’s increasing popularity: “Franco’s has always been popular with local people as well as tourists, we’re often known as the ‘the shop with the queue’ because of the number of customers we serve in peak season.  Our new restaurant will not only boost  our business, but we’ll also be employing local people to develop it and work there.

“With the new investment being pumped into the area these are exciting times for Aberavon.  We expect our footfall to grow significantly in the future so this funding package has come at the right time for us, providing us with the backing we need to capitalise on this opportunity,” he explained.

Home to a blue-flag beach, Aberavon is an all-year-round surfing hotspot that is also popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters and sunworshippers alike. Alongside the Afan Lido, the area also offers sunken gardens, an aquasplash toddler's pool as well as a six-screen cinema and a number of other good quality restaurants.

Mr Di Francesco hopes that the new restaurant, which will stay open longer as well as in the winter months, will offer Franco’s customers a new experience.

Finance Wales Investment Executive Leanna Davies, who is based in West Wales, structured the loan to fund the expansion:

“Franco’s and Café Remos are much-loved local institutions and firmly part of the renaissance Aberavon is currently undergoing. Aberavon seafront is one of Wales’ longest beaches and popular all year round. 

“The family know their customers well and have come up with an exciting expansion plan which should see their business go from strength to strength in years to come. Supporting small businesses like Franco’s in communities in Wales can make a huge difference to the local economy. We are delighted to be able to work with Lloyds bank to provide the business with the funding needed to make their plan a reality.” 

John Dury, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Aberavon seafront is going through a major transformation that is expected to boost visitor numbers over the coming years.

“Ray, Monya and Anthony have an in-depth knowledge of the local economy and a proven track record of success, and we immediately recognised how a tailored funding package would help them to expand the business in order capitalise on the boost in tourism.

“We are dedicated to supporting companies like Franco’s, and to help them achieve their ambitions we have pledged to grow our lending to small and medium sized firms by £1 billion net each year until 2017.”