Barilla planning U.S. restaurants

by Eric Schroeder
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PARMA, ITALY — Barilla S.p.A., a 135-year-old family-owned pasta company, plans to launch a new chain of Barilla-branded restaurants in the United States next year, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

In order to finance the expansion plans, Barilla told the W.S.J. that it will use funds freed up from the sale of non-core assets, including Lieken AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based maker of bread and bakery products for distribution to supermarkets and retailers in Germany. Barilla earlier sold a Spanish bakery products maker.

“Most Americans eat pasta, but not very often,” Guido Barilla, chairman of Barilla, told the W.S.J. “There is undoubtedly potential for expansion in the U.S.”

Mr. Barilla said a pilot restaurant is due to open by the end of 2013, but he declined to give further details on the project.

Barilla diversified its portfolio in recent years, and earlier this year the company launched a line of microwavable meals in the United States. The single servings of pasta and sauce are ready to eat in 60 seconds and are available in five varieties: mezze penne with traditional marinara sauce; mezze penne with tomato and basil sauce; mezze penne with spicy marinara sauce; whole grain fusilli with vegetable marinara sauce; and whole grain mezze penne with tomato and basil sauce.
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