Talking Shop: the story of Delifonseca

12 April 2021, 07:26 AM
  • Since its 2006 launch, Delifonseca has become a fine food retail icon. Here’s the story behind its success
Talking Shop: the story of Delifonseca

Meet Candice Fonseca, owner

Born in Hong Kong, Candice grew up in Bury, Greater Manchester. Food was central to her family, and they were lucky enough to have access to Bury’s historic ‘traditional food market’.

Candice’s career began in the TV and film industry and as a consequence she lived and worked in a range of cities across the UK. It was during her travels that she realised that her way of shopping was vastly different to most people’s buying habits.

After moving to Liverpool and noticing a gap in the market, the idea of opening a deli was sparked and Delifonseca was established. Following the success of the original Stanley Street venue, Delifonseca Dockside opened in 2010 situated in Brunswick Quay a mile south of the city centre.

What sets Delifonseca apart from other delis?

“An award-winning restaurant and food hall, Delifonseca is a decade old establishment of Liverpool’s vibrant independent food and drink scene,” says owner Candice. “It’s centred around all things foodie, renowned for an array of local produce and unusual titbits from speciality cheeses, coffee, wines and spirits, chocolate and much more. Whether customers are coming in for a treat or their weekly shop, they will find everything they need under one roof.

“With the addition of our in-house butchers’ concession, Edge & Son, the food hall offers an all-round service complemented perfectly by the expertise of the entire team. The shopping experience is unlike anything available at a supermarket or large retailer, with tried and tested quality products at an accessible price point, meaning that customers can enjoy a little bit of luxury on a regular basis.”

Meet the team

The team behind Delifonseca are like a family, with many of them having been with the venue for years. “Lavinia Cooke has been our Delifonseca Dockside GM since 2010, starting as a part-time Saturday girl in 2006,” says Candice. “Clare Jones is our Delifonseca Food Hall manager and has been since July 2020, while Tom Ford is our Delifonseca Dockside restaurant manager. Starting as a hamper delivery elf in December 2007, he quickly became a full-time waiter and manager in 2010.”

What challenges have you experienced, and how have you overcome them?

“Having been open as an essential retailer throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to evolve, and a number of changes have been put in place, from health and safety through to accessibility with a new and improved website for online ordering and a collection and delivery service,” explains Candice.

“Throughout it all, we’ve championed independent businesses.”

What’s next for Delifonseca?

“As our regional and national following has increased, we’ve had to reinvent ourselves and look at new services to remain one step ahead of the game. This has involved reviewing the stock that we sell to fall in line with latest trends, reimagining the shopping experience with the layout of the food hall, investing into staff and developing the team and expanding services beyond just the shop itself. All of these things require financial investment and as an independent business, these decisions are never without risk. Fortunately, they have paid off.

“Having come out of the pandemic with a new outlook, we are now looking ahead to further expansion in 2021.”

Delifonseca through the years

2006 - Candice established her deli and restaurant, the original Delifonseca’s, in the heart of Liverpool city centre.

2010 - After a great reception, the brand opened its second restaurant with an on-site food hall. Delifonseca Dockside was born and the Stanley Street site was refurbished – the deli was removed, a bar added and it was renamed Fonseca’s to avoid confusion.

2011 - The outside catering arm of the business was actively expanded following requests from customers.

2019 - Delifonseca underwent an impressive extension, doubling the seated capacity in the restaurant with brand new state-of-the-art kitchen facilities.

2020 - A new website and online ordering system was launched, allowing customers to make the most of Delifonseca’s delivery and local collection services.

2021 - The other half of the new restaurant extension is being fitted out. This is necessary as the social distancing requirements had reduced the restaurant capacity to pre-lockdown levels.

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