Veneziano thinks long-term to reduce coronavirus impact

veneziano coronavirus

Social distancing and service restrictions have seen many cafés and roasters turn to new methods to connect with and service their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters is making the most of the situation, enabling digital platforms and touchpoints across its network to reach and connect with its customers.

“We’re using the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to innovate our business and focus on how we bring meaningful experiences to our customers well into the future,” CEO Craig Dickson says.

“It’s been an unbelievable few weeks that have left everyone in a situation that we’ve never thought would be reality, but like all situations, there’s always a silver lining if you look for it.”

At its flagship cafés in Richmond, Surry Hills, West End, and Adelaide, Veneziano has introduced takeaway friendly menus, bulk frozen meals, and coffee delivery services with “minimal impact to quality standards”. It has also expanded its offering to include grocery essentials like bread, milk, and eggs, and is working on evolving this to a corner store concepts so its cafés become one stop shops for its customers.

Online ordering system HungryHungry allows Veneziano to draw in customers and offer deals, such its current offer of a free coffee when a customer spend $5 or more until 8 April.

“HungryHungry means we can continue serving coffee and food from our cafés to our local customers via delivery, pick up, or drive up. We’re essentially able to turn our outlets into drive-through venues for coffee,” Craig says.

“With a huge reduction in walk-in customers, it enables us to continue providing a quality service to our customers, to make their day during this challenging time. On the flip side, we can keep our people in jobs, give them meaningful work and a purpose through COVID-19.”

Throughout the current pandemic, Craig says Veneziano has prioritised the wellbeing of its staff, customers, and local communities. This included implementing, reviewing, then improving social distancing measures and hygiene protocols in its cafés. Other measures were set up for the rest of its management, operations, and administration teams.

“We set up our workforce to work from home where possible, set up compulsory temperature checking for all staff entering the building, cancelled in-person training sessions, and have enforced stringent procedures for our roasting and production teams including assigning staff to a sub teams to minimise interactions so we can keep on roasting the coffee that our customers love,” Craig says.

“We’re settling into our new normal and see no impact on our ability to roast coffee through the COVID-19 crisis. Our people have been working cross functionally and stepping into roles they don’t normally do. For example, our sales team, HR team, and others have been picking up shifts to support the packing and warehouse team to send out online orders. We’re so proud of our people for banding together, keeping Veneziano united and strong.”

Like many roasters, Veneziano is experiencing an uptake in online and at home coffee orders.

Veneziano is encouraging retail coffee orders through online training videos, free shipping for online orders above $60, and a limited-time 20 per cent discount when customers buy one kilogram or more of coffee from its online shop or cafés. This applies to one-kilogram bags or a mixed purchase of four or more 250-gram blends or micro lots. To access these discounts online, use the code MATESRATES at checkout.

“Our loyal customers have stocked up and we’re seeing a shift with in-store customers purchasing beans for home,” Craig says. “Education is critical here and we’re so lucky to have so much talent under one roof.”

Veneziano is producing online training and educational content featuring the likes of Jade Jennings and Pete Licata to ensure its customers have the tools and knowledge to get the best out of their beans and bring the café experience home.

“Our goal through this crisis is to make a difference in everyone’s day – our employees, our customers, our communities. If we can continue even in a small way to brightening people’s day and bringing them some sense of normality, we’ll consider that a success,” Craig says.

“To us, that means getting coffee to our customers and giving our people meaningful work to do. We’re going to come out of this soon and believe we will do so a stronger and more united business.”

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