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An Operational Overview: Caffe Artigiano

Many of you have likely heard of Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver, heard how busy they are likely have heard of brothers Vince & Sammy Piccolo who created and ran this group of cafes. If not, I’ll give you a 2 second rundown: They opened January 2000, have 5 locations in Vancouver and Sammy was the Canadian barista champion from 2003 through 2006. The one I frequent, when in Vancouver, is the location on Hornby. I’ve been at least 10 times and at all times of the day, all days of the week…this place is slammed. There is always a lineup, the tables are filled inside & out and their baristas handle this madness through the operational efficiencies crafted by Vince & Sammy.

I love going to cafes and watching/studying what going on and pay attention to small details and one thing I can say, is this place has it figured out – as it relates to drink delivery, and that is what this video is focusing on.

So, you notice that they have people doing specific tasks: Pulling shots (I’ve also heard Artigiano refer to this person as the ‘grinder bitch’), milk steaming & the best barista is the one pouring the latte art. This is your #1 person, focusing on nothing but the drink & the customer. The other two are solely focused on their own tasks and there is a 4th ‘runner’ who fills trays of milk pitchers and loads the fridge (probably also buses, gets coffee beans, etc). There is also 2 – 4 more staff on tills, making regular & Clover coffee, prepping food, etc).

One thing that we’re not touching on here is barista coffee knowledge, coffee passion, shot quality, equipment & product choices, etc (we’ll save them for other posts). I just wanted to showcase this cafe model vs. cafes where one basista does the drink from start to finish and evidence the efficiency & throughput of this model.

I have a lot of respect for whats going on at this cafe, but I have no inside information – so, everything I mention in the video is purely my insight & perspective. I am also not stating that this model is perfect, so if anyone has anything to add or criticize – leave a comment.

Cheers