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Discovering the soul of Italian coffee culture with illy Caffe

Discovering the soul of Italian coffee culture with illy Caffe inploi Team | 13.09.2017

Founded by Francesco Illy back in 1933, illy has become one of the world’s most loved and respected coffee companies. illy coffee is consumed in 140 countries worldwide every day, at home, but also more recently in illy Bars and Caffès across London. Their cafes are as distinctive as their coffee - a unique blend of tradition and modernism. We caught up with Vesna (Store Manager) and Zslot (Assistant Manager) at illy Caffè on London’s bustling Regent Street, to learn more about this unique company, over a cup of authentic Italian coffee!

Vesna has worked at the cafe for four years, having joined the team soon after the cafe opened. As Store Manager, Vesna’s role is to look after the other team members working there, “to help them to provide top service to customers from the moment they come in”. illy Caffè differentiates itself from other London cafes because of its exceptional customer service. Each guest is greeted at the door and the team pride themselves on providing excellent service standards at all times. “It’s very important.” Vesna adds with a smile. Sticking to the company’s original ethos of excellence in coffee, the team focus heavily on ensuring that their customers are welcome, and the coffee and food they serve are of the highest quality. “Everything is about customer service,” Zslot comments, “The table service we provide - the standard is as high as possible. And the coffee is the best. It’s fresh and artisan.”

In spite of being a worldwide corporation, illy Caffès maintain a very personal level of interaction with its customers, building great local loyalty. “We get a lot of repeat customers - every day, for four years,” Vesna says, “I like it when the same people come in - I know the people, I know the customer, I know what they like.” Having both previously worked in London’s restaurant industry, working in a cafe provides a different working environment for Vesna and Zslot. Customers are able to visit the cafe from morning till evening, for coffee, afternoon tea, or perhaps an evening aperitif. As a result, the table turnover is much higher than a restaurant environment, giving the cafe a real pace of life. “Here, I finish early, I start early,” Zslot comments, “This business is super fast, so you get to know a lot of people and build a relationship with them.”

With the group’s expansion plans worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities for team members to grow, learn and take on new challenges. As Assistant Manager Zslot is currently in training to take on the role of Store Manager at a new Illy Caffè opening next year. “I’m constantly growing,” he says, “There is training for everyone. illy has a university - Università del caffè - it’s a corporate training programme that we’re going to implement for all the staff to do one by one.”

Naturally, coffee knowledge is at the heart of their business. However, when recruiting new team members, coffee knowledge is not the first priority. A positive can-do attitude and customer-centric mentality come first. “To work here, experience is a must,” Zslot explains, “You have to have the right mentality - to have the customer-focussed skills, because technical skills you can teach. 51% of the mentality, and 49% of the technical side - and eager to learn and listen.” All new Front of House staff at illy Caffè are therefore given supportive training for their role. “Every day we do training, to help them grow up and improve their service”, Vesna says, “You grow up, you smile - every day is different”. Zslot concurs wholeheartedly, evidently passionate about his role and the team he works closely with. “The team is really great. We want you to enjoy your job, so you do it from the heart.”

If you’re interested in joining the illyCaffè team, you can find their latest openings by visiting the illyCaffè company page here.