Coffee injection

The fast-paced world of Tonino Lamborghini is growing. No longer only a parking space reserved for people who can afford its cars, the brand has launched a coffee range to entice a wider clientele to jump on the Lamborghini bandwagon

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By  Laura Barnes Published  April 1, 2006

|~|lambo2.jpg|~|Olivier Michaux is targeting a certain lifestyle with this brand of coffee|~|Although the famous red bull may be more familiar for being on the front of fast, sleek cars, Tonino Lamborghini has taken the brand to another level. Officina Gastronomica — the gastronomy division of Tonino Lamborghini — was established in 1995, and has since then offered a range of deli products, including pasta, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. However, what is really driving the division forward is its coffee range. Originally given away as corporate gifts at Lamborghini events, Tonino Lamborghini’s range of coffee became increasingly popular. Before long, the coffee was being sold in Prague, and although the company is based in Bologna, Italy, Prague is where the coffee market for Lamborghini really took off. The coffee range has also helped to increase the popularity of the gastronomy division, and accounts for 7% of Tonino Lamborghini Design’s product portfolio. “The concept began in Prague with the selling of coffee and other deli goods, which eventually led to the opening of the first coffee lounge for Tonino Lamborghini,” says Olivier Michaux, regional manager, Tonino Lamborghini, officina Gastronomica. “Two years ago, 13 units were open around the world, this is when Tonino Lamborghini decided to adopt the concept of the coffee lounge, caffe corsa and road caffe,” adds Michaux. The export market is the primary focus for Tonino Lamborghini, and although it is beginning to look towards growing in the Italian market, the concentration of coffee brands in the country makes it difficult to penetrate the market. As such, it has been concentrating on new markets, like China, Korea and, more recently, the Middle East. “We feel it is the right time to enter the Middle East market, with Dubai acting as our main base. During recent trade fairs we have seen a high demand for our products, so we are confident about the region,” adds Michaux. While Lamborghini will not be opening any coffee lounges in the region for the immediate future, it will focus instead on distributing its coffee to delicatessens, hotels and coffee shops. Currently, the company is conducting research to understand the region, with Michaux — who has spent the majority of his career in coffee plantations around the world, including Ethiopia — meeting with chefs and baristas to see what the needs of restaurants and coffee shops are. “I recently met with the chef at the Habtoor Grand and performed a blind coffee tasting with a couple of other coffees, and our coffee came out on top. So I have no concern about the quality of the coffee,” says Michaux. Using a blend composed of 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta coffee, the beans are sourced from coffee farms around the world, with the Arabica beans coming from Guatemala, Ethiopia and Colombia, and Robusta from Mexico and Tanzania. Each coffee farm and its produce is heavily researched and authorised for use by the company’s office in Bologna, and each variety of bean provides its own unique flavouring or texture, whether that be for the taste, the body or the creaming. Targeting the delicatessen and retail market, Tonino Lamborghini coffee is available in 250g carton boxes, for espresso, mocha and au café, as well as a metal container and pods for pod machines in decaffeinated and regular coffee.||**|||~||~||~|For the hotel market, Tonino Lamborghini coffee is also available in one blend for breakfast, espresso and cappuccino, rather than the usual two separate blends for breakfast coffee and espresso. “The blend we have matches both breakfast and espresso, so we are able to offer a high quality breakfast coffee. This is not the same as seeing the usual two blends as we can offer the one blend for both, but at a much higher quality,” says Michaux. The Lamborghini brand name is an important aspect of the coffee. As such, Michaux has a certain demographic that he is targeting, with plans to be seen in the Auto food court on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, due to the outlet’s positioning next to car dealers. In addition, the type of person Tonino Lamborghini is targeting is also important. “Tonino Lamborghini is really targeting the higher end. If you look at a pyramid, it is unrealistic to say you want the very top, as there is not enough business there. However, I’m targeting the higher end of the middle range. These are people who will know the name, like coffee and who know the difference between a good and a bad coffee,” adds Michaux. The retail market is also important to Michaux, but unfortunately there are only a handful of delicatessens in the region. However, he is also looking at retail outlets, and although the company does not see itself as being positioned in supermarkets, Michaux says the industry is very different in the Middle East, with high quality products a key feature of the retail sector. Outside of the UAE, and Michaux believes Saudi Arabia is another key market for Tonino Lamborghini coffee. “We aim to launch in Saudi Arabia this month. The market in Saudi Arabia is booming, with more people spending time in coffee shops, so we are eager to enter this market soon. Riyadh will be our main focus,” says Michaux. The Middle East coffee market is still in its infancy, with good quality coffee steadily on the rise in the region. However, Michaux says you cannot rest on your laurels, and promoting a well-known brand means you have to ensure the quality equals the brand name. “Because it’s Lamborghini, by de facto, the quality has to be high. We cannot risk having coffee that is not good enough, so we strive to find the best blend and beans that we can. Mr Lamborghini is selling his word, so it has to be the best,” he adds.||**||

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