Story by Sarah Baker In a “survival of the fittest” industry, Brutti Fullin Costruzioni's, (BFC srl) Marco Brutti says the conventional method of doing business is not necessarily the best. For instance, in the jig-saw nature of the espresso machine manufacturing industry, most often components are sourced off-shore and then assembled in Italian factories. But, this is not Brutti's way. He stands his ground when it comes to ensuring that all of BFC's coffee machine components are manufactured at the Scomigo di Conegliano factory in Italy. Faced with competitors from all over the world, Brutti says the fact that his components – from boilers to connection tubes and stainless steel parts – are all produced on-site, represents an effort that demarks a good espresso coffee machine manufacturer from the best. “It’s not the easy option of doing business, but it’s a business model I believe in,” Brutti says. “Every day we must solve a problem in our company and we do have difficulties; whether it be the materials we use or a design issue. But, we are happy because we control the quality.” Prior to owning his own business, Brutti worked as a general manager for a large Italian espresso manufacturing company for many years. He came to the decision that he wanted to challenge the industry and start up on his own. Along with his wife, Luigine Fullin, he launched BFC in 1998, located in Scomigo di Conegliano, 45 kilometres north of Venice. Just six employees started working in that small office. From early on, Brutti held a simple philosophy that he maintains 13 years later. “I want to make special espresso coffee machines for roasters and people who want to drink guaranteed good coffee,” he says. Brutti says he’s well aware that a good espresso machine is not the only thing that produces a good coffee. While a wonderful coffee bean is key, he says these two things combined have the capability to produce a drink that's unique and memorable. “I know this market well,” Brutti says. “It’s a special market because espresso coffee machines are a wonderful product. Coffee is such a huge part of the Italian culture and espresso is a beverage appreciated by men and women all over the world.” Two years after launching BFC, Brutti started Espresso by Royal (caffe espresso da reali) in 2000, as a separate manufacturing brand. These days, BBC Royal First srl is the exclusive authorised dealer of all Espresso by Royal coffee machine models in the Italian market, while BFC has branched out overseas to countries including the United States, Australia, North Africa, Asia and Europe, where the machines are sold independently. By forming these brands, Brutti says it has provided him with two separate entry levels into a commercial global market that is riddled with competitors. “When we started, we knew that we didn’t have a famous brand, we were a little company,” he says. “But, we made the decision to manufacture all the components of our espresso coffee machines on site – and this would be our point of difference compared to other espresso manufacturing companies.” The first espresso coffee machine produced by BFC was the Classica model, a 2, 3 or 4 group semi-automatic machine featuring a semi-automatic switch, automatic programmable dosing by keyboard and continuous heat circulation. Thirteen years later, 22 models of espresso coffee machines denote the BFC and Espresso by Royal range, with products to suit different market segments from low budget to high-end. Traditional and super-automatic machines are available for domestic users, commercial settings and offices. From an office of six, the company now employs 52 people. BFC exports 75 per cent of its production to the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, China, Korea and Taiwan. The remaining 25 per cent are sold exclusively to the Italian market. Growing at a production rate of 8 to 10 per cent each year – 20 per cent in terms of sales volume – Brutti says BFC now sells 7500 espresso machines annually to the ever-growing coffee industry. Brutti is not surprised by his company’s growth. He strategically planned to open offices around the world, further driving his business internationally. In addition to partners who monitor changing market trends, BFC opened an office in the US in 1998, London and Taiwan in 2000, China in 2002 and Korea in 2006. The Asian market has been surprisingly one of the most promising markets looking for Italian-made products. “They can’t get enough,” Brutti says. “Like Australia, the Chinese people drink a lot of cappuccinos in different sizes: small, medium and large and they can drink it when they want, on-the-go, standing up or sitting down, in restaurants or cafés.” With a large percentage of competitors from Italy and Spain, Brutti says that to stay at the forefront of the coffee manufacturing industry, it’s imperative that his team continues to study and evaluate their products and develop new technology to enhance their espresso machines. “Our engineers are constantly working on new solutions; from different types of stainless steel, product shapes, modality and colours,” he says. “If we don’t continue to improve our products, we can’t continue to be at the top of our game.” With emerging industry trends such as coffee pods and capsules, Brutti says the development of coffee machines is continuous. Because of coffee’s high profile throughout the world, Brutti says it’s really a matter of waiting to see what the next “big thing” will be. “Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity after petroleum, the importance of coffee in the world cannot be denied,” he says. The next big thing for Espresso by Royal is their Multiboiler, Thermo Control Independent, (T.C.I) which Brutti says is ideal for restaurants and bars. This new model of espresso machine was presented at the HOST Milan exhibition last October. It features a separate boiler that automatically regulates the vapour pressure without modifying the group temperature. The infusion temperature can also be adjusted from a digital display. “Quality is the first thing that sells espresso machines,” Brutti says. “The espresso machine must work and run every day and if you produce quality, then the machine will endure. If you don't make a durable product, it won’t be used by baristas and coffee consumers.” While Brutti says the balance between producing quality and maintaining low-cost is challenging, he is certain he’s got the right mix. “Absolutely, we have continuous balance,” he says. “Our job is only to make the espresso coffee machines, 1, 2, 3 and 4 group, every day, every month, every year, so we know what makes our products the best.” With future plans to expand the business, Brutti has his sights firmly set on limited growth, at about 8 to 10 per cent maximum a year to ensure quality control of his products. A new generation of Bruttis are now following in their father’s footsteps and using their industrial knowledge and skills to make a significant contribution to BFC and Espresso by Royal. Marco’s son, Aldo, has a keen technical eye, while daughter, Elena, has a doctorate in economics. Together, this family-owned business will continue to uphold the tradition for espresso machines their father has carried all his life. “Now I stay in my office and I trust that my company will have future success and good growth because of the special team behind it,” Brutti says.