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Marco Zancolò, Head of Franke Coffee Systems: «Coffee is about emotions»

Franke Marco Zancolò
Marco Zancolò, Head of the Franke Coffee Systems division

MILAN – Marco Zancolò has recently taken over as the Head of the Franke Coffee Systems division and at the same time he was appointed as a member of the Group Management. We met him in October at HostMilano, where he gave us this exclusive interview.

Who is Marco Zancolò?

“I’m a professional from the coffee industry that has been working in this industry since 16 years. Before joining the coffee industry I worked in consulting companies in different roles. I’m Italian from nationality but I was born in Austria and consider myself an European citizen.”

You’re a coffee industry professional in a big coffee company: what do you think about coffee?

“It’s an exciting, great product with which almost anyone can identify with. Coffee is about emotions, it is connecting people all over the world. And it is a quickly growing industry that holds a lot of potential for us. My excitement for this industry is ongoing since years and will continue in the future. ”

What strategy do you see for Franke in the future?

“The strategy is very clear. We focus on fully automatic coffee machines and we see that this segment is growing strongly and steadily. We continue to invest heavily in innovation, as well as in enhancing drink variety as this is a strong market and consumer demand. Our other strategic focus is on Internet of Things (IoT). We just released our Digital Services 2.0 which allow our customers to centrally manage their coffee machine fleets as well as provide control and a clear view of all activity and information crucial to in-cup quality, profit, and service experience.”

What is your vision in your new position?

“Since I am only in this role a couple of weeks my focus is to get to know the company and the people. Franke clearly has had a real success story in the last years and my mission is to drive this success even further by accelerating growth. We will achieve this growth by expanding our business into new market segments and geographies. So generally speaking I want to exploit the potential that we have in the different market segments.”

What can you tell us about the professional and the fully automatic coffee machines market?

“The market overall is growing very healthy with good margins. The segment that is growing the fastest is the fully automatic one. There is a clear demand of consumers to have consistently high in-cup quality in every cup they buy. It’s also about convenience: consumers want to get a good cup of coffee at the push of a button. And especially it is about being able to choose from a huge variety of specialty coffee drinks. This variety can only be provided by a fully automatic machine in an efficient and convenient manner. With our fully automatic machines you can program up to one hundred recipes at the touch of a button. That’s an important advantage over traditional machines that enable to present all the handcraft, but more time and know how is needed to prepare a good coffee and you’re also more limited in drink variety, if speed is a demand. “

What plans does Franke have with the manufacturer Dalla Corte that you recently bought?

“I believe that with Dalla Corte we were able to secure a jewel of the industry. They’re great professionals. Their machines fulfill very high standards in terms of technology and they show a strong potential for further growth. So what we want to do with Dalla Corte is to invest and give them the right support so that they can grow steadily and fast.”

Why did such a big company decide to buy such a little one?

“Because, thanks to the quality of their products, this small company has the potential to become a much bigger one. We want to enable them to accelerate their growth. Furthermore, it’s also a very good completion of our portfolio, having the full spectrum of the machines is a benefit on the market. We have customers asking us for fully automatic machines but for some outlets or occasions they also need traditional machines. This is where we combine Franke with Dalla Corte into a synergy.“

What is your opinion of the professional market in Italy?

“The professional market in Italy is still dominated by traditional machines. But it’s quite fragmented and with many players in the market it is also highly competitive.“

But you have a big Franke showroom in Milan. Are you strong in this Italian professional market?

“We’re a challenger in the Italian market. The segment of fully automatic machines is growing in Italy. Many Italian manufacturers are moving into this segment now either with hybrid or fully automatic machines, because it can guarantee the in-cup quality. We believe that Franke has a competitive advantage because of our latest technology iQFlowTM. It is the most sophisticated extraction system on the market as it controls the espresso extraction time and the taste profile in real time. iQFlow guarantees consistently high in-cup quality in every cup.”

What is your opinion about traditional professional machines in opposition to the fully automatics?

“I think that they are used in two different market segments. You have some outlets or coffee shops where it’s clear that they will never use a fully automatic machine because they want to celebrate the art of producing coffee. It’s more about the show, the tradition. However, wherever it is important to guarantee the same quality while the operator is changing every single week or while different members of your staff are using the machine a fully automatic machine is the answer. This is even clearer when it comes to self-service stations where a great number of users are looking for coffee with great in-cup quality. “

Is Franke the ambassador of the good coffee?

“Yes, we definitely are. We’re proud of our machines and the technology behind which guarantee the best quality in-cup quality. Above all our revolutionary technology iQFlowTM proves that. It was developed with one goal in mind: consistently high in-cup quality in every cup. As mentioned before: iQFlow extracts more flavor under constant pressure throughout the entire extraction time. It enables our customers to design an individual taste profile that is ensured in real time. iQFlow opens up the space to create an entirely new coffee experience. For us this is clearly a competitive advantage. And if you want, we’re therefore kind of the ambassador of taste.”

What new challenges do the super automatic coffee machines market present? And what is the potential for this market worldwide?

“The potential is huge. Especially looking into markets like China or India where consumers are just starting discovering coffee. In the United States they do drink coffee since a long time. There we see a tendency towards a better quality coffee as well. But this market development is not new. Starbucks is the forerunner for this demand since more than 25 years. They’re highly successful. However, in the US the predominant way of coffee drinking is still freshly brewed coffee. So it’s true, there’s a shift in the US towards espresso-based coffee drinks with high in-cup quality, but I think that the real growth will come from Asia.

And what about Europe?

“The European market is big where growth is still ongoing. But it’s also a very saturated market. You still have European countries like Russia where there’s potential for growth, but we consider most of the markets like Italy or Germany saturated. The more active competition, the more the market is focused on the replacement of equipment to more state-of-the-art systems that can provide better quality in the cup.”

Can you give us digits about Franke?

“Franke Group is an industrial, international company with 5 different divisions. One of those is Coffee Systems. All over the globe Franke employs more than nine thousand employees with a turnover of about two billion Euros. And we’re present in seventy plus countries worldwide.”

Is there any particular situation where Franke has underlined the importance of communication?

“Communication is always important. In fact, at the end you can have the best product in the world but, if you don’t communicate it you will not exploit its full potential. So communication is the key in both areas – B2B or B2C business. You need to make sure that people know about the benefits of your brand, your products and your offering in general. This is also why we basically came up with our new brand identity. We have just launched our new concept: It’s all about the moment. This new concept is much more focused on the customer, his environment and his business. We think that coffee is about more than beans and machines it is about the moment our customers can create the most inspiring and rewarding coffee experiences for their customers. We are a partner of our customers and want to enable them to focus on their business and run it the best way possible. ”

What does Franke think about this last edition of HostMilano?

“Host is one of the most important fairs in our industry and I must say that it’s a high quality event. There was a lot of traffic during all days. For us at Franke the fair was definitely a success: we had a huge number of visitors on our booth during the day and I’ve seen the same amount of traffic in other halls as well. Host is therefore one of the most important fairs for our industry.”