The Brazzale family opened their first La Formaggeria Gran Moravia shops carrying Italian delicacies back in 2011, with the ambition to teach Czech people that grocery shopping is not just about rushing through a maze of aisles; that it can become a pleasant experience instead, one to be enjoyed with all senses – the real dolce vita.
Roberto Brazzale got his first customer experience lessons from his grandparents who ran a butcher’s shop. “I used to work the register and observe my grandparents as they engaged with their customers. They were so friendly and distinguished, and it was all real. They sold high quality products and had good relationships with their customers, and to them those relationships were more important than money. And that’s what I wanted to replicate.” When designing the stores, Roberto didn’t hire any famous architects or researchers. He designed them with one simple principle in mind: to create stores that he himself would like to shop at.
To help the shop staff ensure the best experience for the customers and provide them with educated, experience-based advice, the company brings its employees to Italy, to tour the suppliers and absorb Italian culture. “Every shop has a manager who communicates with me and with the company’s leadership. We have a joint meeting every two or three months. I know every one of my managers personally and I often visit the stores to understand them even better,” says Roberto. To make sure the service is top notch, Formaggeria uses mystery shopping. “Our managers are free to allocate end-year bonuses at their discretion, based on service quality,” Roberto explains.
The Brazzale family manages their empire without executive directors or corporate structures. “A CEO is just another layer between you and your employees, but I want to talk to people directly, face to face – that’s why I learned Czech, too, so I could speak to my employees without needing an interpreter,” says the owner.
“The most important quality we look for in our store personnel is a human approach, a real inner smile instead of a fake smile on the outside. We look for people who will help our customers with good advice but also let them do their shopping in piece, at their own pace.”Roberto Brazzale, owner of La Formaggeria Gran Moravia (Brazzale Moravia)
“When you place an order in an online store and have it delivered to you, it’s no different compared to how we did it 60 years ago. Every grocery store would take phone orders from Italian housewives and then had a young man on a moped – that would be me – deliver orders to them. The only difference now is that we have much better tools at our disposal,” explains Roberto. In 2021, the cheese company launched an option to buy their Christmas gift packages online, and they plan to take all their products online in 2022.
In 2021, the family opened their first fully robotized warehouse. With the capacity to store ten thousand tons of cheese, it’s the biggest warehouse in the world. However, when it comes to automation, Roberto still sees a lot of potential for improvement: “I have never seen anything dumber than a robot. You can program them to do a certain thing, but when you need them to do something slightly different, you have to reprogram everything. They are only useful because of human intelligence. Without it, they are nothing.”