An Italian coffee shop chain hopes to bring ’la dolce vita’ to the UK, with a plan to open its first store in London later this year.

The 50-strong La bottega del Caffè is currently opening a new store every month across Italy and wants to replicate its success here, using a franchise model.

Marketing and advertising director Flavia Morrone said it was confident UK consumers would welcome its stores, because all food and drink would be sourced from Italy, giving it a point of difference from Starbucks and Costa. "Competition is fierce in Italy and, as our format has worked so well there, we are certain it can succeed here too.

La bottega del Caffè plans to offer filled croissants and doughnuts, pastries, paninis and sandwiches, as well as a wide variety of leaf teas, fresh coffees and slush drinks.

"Our coffee recipes are original. We don’t do the typical cappuccinos or frappuccino you get here; we do 30 diffe- rent combinations."

The firm, which opened its first shop in 2000, is looking for UK franchise partners, as well as an overall manager to help with UK expansion plans.

"We are not interested in setting targets," said Morrone, "we just want to open as many stores as required and develop a long-term relationship with the store franchisees."