GCR talks to Cafetto customers about its international reputation, growing market presence, and the family values that make it more than just a cleaning solution brand.
When Sharon Bergström, Sales Manager of Espresso Gear, moved from the United Kingdom to Sweden, her baptism of fire into the coffee industry was the 2015 World of Coffee tradeshow in Gothenburg.
There, she met Cafetto Managing Director Chris Short for the first time in his bright green blazer and matching glasses, and the relationship took off.
“We love Cafetto. We have created a great bond with Chris, his wife Julie and the team. They’re a company that makes everyone feel special regardless of their size. We’re a relatively small company that runs at quite a high tempo, but Cafetto always makes time for us,” Bergström says.
Seventy per cent of Espresso Gear’s business for wholesale and retail sale of coffee accessories is outside of Sweden, predominantly in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandinavia.
“We try to promote ourselves as a personal service rather than a big coffee giant supplier. We believe in the products we sell, and that includes Cafetto,” Bergström says.
“You can always count on them. Their products are reliable, there is always stock available, and their products are of the highest quality. I can’t fault them in any way. They keep coming up with new products all the time and are revolutionising cleaning products for our industry.”
One such example has been the implementation of the Cafetto Organic range, which is the most popular at Espresso Gear.
“We know some of our customers can be hesitant to put chemicals in their machines, so for Cafetto to have a green range that meets all the necessary certifications is just fantastic. We sell a lot of it, so it means our customers appreciate it too,” Bergström says.
With many people working from home during 2020, Cafetto also provided customers with sachets packs of its cleaning products to cater to growing domestic demand.
Ivan Kuek, Co-Founder of Singapore coffee equipment distributor, Stellar M, says home barista machines and associated products flew out the door of his business.
“Singapore’s specialty coffee market is small but sophisticated. It evolved around 2009 to 2010, and Singaporeans have embraced it ever since. People are brewing at home, buying scales, v60 pour overs, and having fun experimenting,” Kuek says. “Consumers have high expectations about what they drink, but the domestic market still needs more education on the importance of cleaning.”
In the commercial sector, it’s the opposite, with Cafetto used in about 80 per cent of Singapore cafés, according to Kuek. Stellar M also supplies Cafetto products with every machine it sells, including Moccamaster, Kees van der Westen, and Rocket Giotto espresso machines.
“We give our customers Cafetto to use and when they run out, they’re the ones who tell us they need a refill. They always come back to replenish. It’s a brand they’re familiar with and one they know is effective,” Kuek says.
On the other end of the scale, Marc Schneider of Vassalli Service is working hard to educate the local Swiss market of the importance of coffee machine cleaning and its impact on cup quality.
“There’s a long way to go, but I really hope this message of acceptance is the next step. I would really love if more people took machine cleaning seriously,” he says.
“Switzerland is one of the most expensive places in the world, and labour costs are the costliest part of business operations. Despite pointing out the advantages of having clean coffee equipment and its impact on equipment and coffee flavour, many businesses still won’t do it because it’s an extra process and staff cost at the end of the day.”
Schneider is committed to education through Vassalli Service and its Coffee Lab, which since opening in 2016, has become a very well-known and successful coffee training centre in Switzerland.
“Cafetto is front and centre in the Lab when we talk about cleanliness. It has a product to suit every equipment and need. We started with the Cafetto EVO range (to remove coffee oils, grounds and stains) and MFC Blue for traditional machines. We later added the B30 tables for our fully automatic machines,” Schneider says.
He first heard of Cafetto because of their sponsorship of the World Barista Championship in 2015. Schneider Googled the name, got in touch, and they started doing business. The following year, he received a visit from Chris himself.
“I like working with Chris. He’s so likeable, humble and approachable, and the team is very professional. From the first time we met, I had this feeling of entering a family, and that’s what it has always felt like,” Schneider says. “If I need something, I get fast answers. They take our feedback very seriously, and I appreciate that I’m not contacted every day for sales. They let me work, they don’t push.”
It’s been a tough year for Swiss hospitality businesses, with many experiencing uncertainty due to the impact of COVID-19. Schneider says the government shut down or restricted dine-in services on several occasions, but throughout it all, 60-year-old Vassali Service has remained a constant support.
“Our business is exclusively focused on the hospitality market, so it’s been tough, but we’re hopeful of what the new year brings,” he says. “I’ve certainly learned a lot about coffee in the past seven years. It’s a fascinating industry.”
Dankoff Coffee Specialist’s Managing Director Danny Wong also appreciates quality coffee and equally the products that enhance its flavour. He holds a soft spot for Australia, and Melbourne in particular, having lived in the city and attended the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in 2013.
Wong’s visit was an eye-opening coffee experience but also an introduction to the Australian-made Cafetto team, for whom he had been distributing Cafetto products to more than 2000 businesses in Malaysia.
“I choose Cafetto not just because of its quality, but because of Chris. He’s so humble and charming. He attends every industry trade show, and I trust doing business with him. Cafetto does business in an emotional way, where business is as much about the relationship as the product,” Wong says.
Dankoff Marketing Manager Zhou Chern Wong adds that Cafetto General Manager Christine Song and her team have been extremely supportive of their sales efforts and how to plan and distribute Cafetto to the local market.
“If we need flyers or samples shipped over immediately, they do it. This makes you appreciate the team at Cafetto for their efforts,” he says.
For the past 15 years, Dankoff has been a one-stop shop and service solution for Malaysia’s hotel and café industry. Increasingly, Zhou Wong says its B2B and B2C market is becoming conscience of the importance of coffee equipment cleaning.
“We’ve made cleaning a key part of the training we do with our commercial partners and at our Dankoff Academy,” he says.
“When we sell espresso machine equipment, we tell the customer about the value of Cafetto and how to use it. We even supply a Cafetto starter pack for customers to get familiar with the brand and its purpose.”
Danny Wong says following a COVID-19 lockdown and the temporary closure of businesses, customers are being extra cautious about the cleanliness of their machines.
“We had people asking us whether to descale their boiler, especially chain outlets. The importance of machine cleanliness is something I think we will continue to see,” he says.
In quarter one of 2020, Dankoff took a hit to its sales, but thanks to its ecommerce store and the incoming sales of home machines, the business ended the year at 85 per cent capacity of where it was in 2019. The Dankoff team are looking forward to a strong 2021, with Cafetto by its side.
For more information, visit www.cafetto.com