A new strategy and structure will provide Rancilio Group with the means to better service its partners in the Australia and New Zealand local markets.
Loyalty is important in the coffee business, especially when you have as much history and as many relationships as espresso machine manufacturer Rancilio.
“Rancilio has been in Australia and New Zealand for more than 30 years now. It’s been a great history with a number of business partners over the years,” says Rancilio Australia General Manager Paul O’Brien.
“We are grateful for a number of partnerships over the years, who introduced and built the brand in Australia. Mocopan, Grinders Coffee, and United Supplies are now icons of the coffee industry and have played a pivotal role in the Rancilio brand. These people have held the baton for the brand all these years and our first mission is to support them directly.”
While Rancilio has been a part of the market for a long time, Paul says it has used a primarily “ex works” business model. “We are grateful for a number of partners that have successfully distributed our products over the years, however, Rancilio’s expertise, equipment, and spare parts came from overseas,” he says.
But with demand from the market growing, Paul says it became clear that Rancilio needed a more solid base in the region. Thanks to an exciting partnership with the food service equipment importer/manufacturer the Moffat Group, Rancilio Group Australia and Rancilio Group New Zealand came into reality in November 2020.
“The world is changing and our speed to market has never been more important. We needed to rise to that challenge and serve the market locally. That means increased local stock, parts and technical support in Australia, each and every day, Paul says.
“We’re a little late to develop the market in some ways, but that’s intentional – we don’t rush into things. When we do things, we want to do them right. Now, we finally have full control over the brand to serve the market directly.”
Rancilio will maintain its relationship-driven approach, and Paul stresses Rancilio Group Australia will support its partners and distributors, not compete with them. Keeping stock in the country will also make it possible for Rancilio to form new partnerships, particularly with smaller businesses who previously couldn’t carry that burden of importing and storage. Showrooms and training centres will form part of this new strategy.
“We’re here to support the Australian market, from equipment dealers and service partners to your ‘mum and dad’ coffee roasters. Being here locally, open, and available means everyone can have the same level of service,” Paul says.
“A salesperson for a coffee roaster or equipment dealer can go into a café and talk with confidence knowing that if they win an account, they’ll have the machine they need the next day.”
Over in New Zealand, it is a similar story of loyalty and partnership. Altura Coffee Company has been a pivotal supporter of Rancilio for over two decades. Now that Rancilio has a firmer footing in the country, the manufacturer is better placed to service and support its partners and customers.
For the Moffat Group, the new partnership offers an entry way into a new part of the market.
“They have a very large stable of foodservice brands, but they’ve never done coffee before, so there’s great synergy with their extensive customer base,” Paul says.
“Their reach and resources are outstanding. It’s exciting where they can help take the Rancilio brand. In such a short time, we’ve achieved some amazing things.”
The Moffat Group sits with Rancilio under the wider Ali Group umbrella and Moffat has manufactured and distributed foodservice equipment throughout Australasia for more than 90 years. Paul says he is thankful for the shared values and priorities between the two brands.
Since the establishment of Rancilio Group Australia, the business’s main priority has been to continue servicing its existing partners through the transition. Paul says Rancilio’s partners have welcomed the new business model with open arms.
“It’s been a quicker transition than I expected. People understand that we are now here in the country as Rancilio Australia, and we’re seeing a lot of positive comments and opportunities coming out of the market,” Paul says. “Every day we get stories about people’s Rancilio machines that are decades old. That shows us the love and loyalty for the Rancilio brand within our following, that’s still there after all those years.
“I had a call today looking for spare parts for a Z machine, which is over 25 years old. They’re still clinging onto that brand. It’s a buyer’s market right now and they could go out there and buy any brand, make or model, but people are staying loyal.”
One such long time Rancilio fan is Gary Mehigan, celebrity chef, former MasterChef judge, and Founder of Gary Mehigan Specialty Coffee, who has owned his Rancilio Lucy for 17 years.
“The first time I spoke to Gary, he was the one telling me about Rancilio. That is exactly the people we love to work with, that passion is what it’s all about,” he says.
As a newly appointed brand ambassador for Rancilio, Gary will help to promote the new Silvia Pro domestic coffee machine. Paul says Rancilio has seen constant interest in the reimagined Silvia since it was unveiled at Host Milano in 2019.
“The Silvia is the number one selling domestic machine ever. A dual boiler model has been in demand for such a long time, and with the Silvia Pro, it’s finally arrived,” Paul says.
“It’s taken a lot to innovate such an iconic piece of equipment. It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but there was actually quite a lot of discussion over whether or not we should do it, since it is such a revered name. But we’re really happy with the results.”
For the coffee and foodservice channels, Rancilio will strengthen its wide portfolio of coffee machines over the next year with a series of new innovations and products. From the flagship Rancilio Specialty RS1 to its entry level Classe 5 models, Paul says everyone will benefit. Steady Brew, for example, will provide Rancilio’s traditional single boiler models with a new degree of temperature control and stability.
“Steady Brew technology takes the humble heat exchanger single boiler machine and takes it so much closer to a multi-boiler performance,” Paul says.
“That will be available on all commercial single boiler machines at no additional cost to the market. So overnight, that is a massive lift in thermal stability and coffee quality.”
Paul calls research and development a pillar of the business, with Rancilio investing 6 per cent of turnover into new projects and technologies every year.
“We’ve got a constant and full pipeline of innovations coming through over 2021,” Paul says.
“Another big thing for us will be Rancilio Connect, launching online connectivity so you can push and pull data from across the full range, whether you’ve got an RS1, Classe 5, or an Egro fully automatic.”
Paul expects 2021 to be a return to form for Australia’s coffee and hospitality industry, moving past COVID-19 while learning from the events of 2020.
“I anticipate getting back to basics, with people enjoying being out and about and how lucky we are in Australia to be able to go out and eat and drink in such wonderful places with such wonderful people,” Paul says. “We’re passionate about growing and supporting the Australian market and now, with our new and existing partners, we can do that directly.”
This article appears in the February 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.