Our next Q&A features Marco Arrigo, director and co-founder of Bar Termini — a multi-award winning coffee and cocktail bar with two sites in London. He’ll be taking part in the ‘Coffee Shop Legends panel’ on Friday 21 September sharing his extensive insights alongside representatives from Caffè Nero, Taylor St Baristas, Kaffeine and Abuelo.

Which food-to-go operator do you particularly admire and why?

There are lots of good grab-and-go operators doing their own thing with their own style like LEON or Pret for example, but many that copy the formula without the same attention to detail or ingredients.

What do you feel is the key for operators to successfully compete against their competitors?

Creativity, and to keep ahead of taste and trend, but also to be able to deliver it consistently and at a reasonable price. Value for money is key with the younger consumer demographic.

What do you see as key trends for food-to-go in the coming year?

Most things have been done somewhere or other, so it’s more about improving the quality now as people have so much choice. You have to be memorable to retain business.

What is your best selling product at the moment?

We are very busy with our fresh pasta at Termini Centrale at the moment. It’s been done to death, but making it fresh everyday seems to be working very well for us, as customers can see we are genuine and authentic. We serve Italian recipes that incorporate amazing British ingredients such as clams from Cornwall or lamb from Wales, which gives that extra boost in quality and flavour. Fat Tony’s started as a pop-up at the site, and went permanent after the menu proved so popular.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Being able to eat and drink in some amazing places. It has to be the reason for living.

The most challenging?

Trying to keep the coffee the same every day is a battle of variables, from hot and unpredictable weather to replacing bits of equipment, or water treatment, there is always something that needs attention to ensure we deliver a consistent and quality product and service.

Who or what inspires you to be even better?

The team at both Termini sites inspire me a lot, as they all work very hard to deliver what we ask of them and genuinely enjoy what they do. Through every adversity they still deliver everything to a high standard, even if they are dealing with a broken fridge or a leak from the hotel above the customers would never know what just happened an hour ago. Customer service is a key focus for us, which is why we see so many of the same faces returning week after week.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Pay your staff and suppliers on time. Seriously, it makes the world go round and everybody’s happy.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know:

Ummmmmmmm. I drink tea in the morning…

See Marco at lunch! 2018

The Coffee Shop Legends Panel: 3.15pm in Keynote Theatre 2 on Friday 21 September.

To register for a free trade ticket, please click here.

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