The irresistible rise of the Antico Vinaio: this is how a shop in Florence has conquered the world

“It is a dream that is coming true and we still have to understand what will happen. But let’s move with our heads: we have 250 families on our shoulders ». At Antico Vinaio, in the center of Florence, every day there is a queue of hundreds and hundreds of people who come from all over the planet and stop here to eat the stuffed “schiacciata”, the typical Tuscan focaccia. The owner is Tommaso Mazzanti, Florentine Doc born in 1988, who within a few years took over the family shop and created an empire, made up of directly managed shops in Milan, Rome, New York and – since last May – Turin. When he tells what happened Tommaso laughs: «I always said to myself“ Madonna, how beautiful it would be if people knew the Antico Vinaio outside of Florence ”. But I meant out of the town, I didn’t think we would get that far. “

Tommaso Mazzanti and Joe Bastianich

Tommaso Mazzanti and Joe Bastianich

Nobody would have thought that at first. The shop had opened by his parents in 1989 as a rotisserie and it was converted to dunk in 2004. It was when a very young Tommaso took it in hand that things changed, until, in 2014, it was the most reviewed place in the world. But, you will see, that too was “only” a starting point. «Age certainly gave me a hand, since around 2008 I was twenty and I opened the Facebook page when social networks were in their infancy. I did it to keep in touch with the people who came. The former, from Palermo, Milan and Trieste, then wrote to me to tell me that they had eaten very well and that they would come back with friends. Now everyone does it, but at the time that was perhaps one of my first intuitions », says Thomas. A few years later, the leap: «I realized that we had to make the leap. It was 2019 when we took the Antico Vinaio out to New York. We sold out 30 out of 30, with the New York Times talking about us. At that moment I understood that we were doing something great ».

The “best in the world” (Italian) sandwich shop opens in New York

by Francesco Semprini



From there, it was said, two stores in Rome opened in Milan, the permanent opening in New York, the other stores and Florence and Turin. Now Antico Vinaio has 250 employees – at the beginning, in addition to Tommaso, there were his parents and two uncles – of which 150 in contact with customers, for a turnover of around seven million euros per year. In the shop in Florence alone, the first, three thousand / four thousand people are served a day. Then the boom on social media: half a million followers on Instagram and Facebook, 300,000 on TikTok. What led to success? «Well, there are no secrets, after all that’s the sandwich. Maybe there are more factors that have contributed to a perfect “combo”. First of all my staff, made up of wonderful, polite people, with a ready joke, who never miss a smile, while it often happens to enter bars that don’t even give you a “good morning”. Without them the Antico Vinaio would be nothing ». And then «the quality of the sandwich: we do almost everything. Imagine preparing 400/500 kilos of eggplant each week per store. In my opinion, the spearhead is the possibility of creating the sandwich, which only a few give. And social networks have certainly given a hand over the years, but one thing I’ve always particularly cared about is that it doesn’t have to be a place for one category: everyone eats here, from students to footballers, passing through notaries and bricklayers “. In Florence as in the rest of the world.

What is certain is that there must have been one morning in which Tommaso looked in the mirror and realized what was happening. “To be honest I don’t realize it yet – he confesses -. Things have happened that I can hardly believe: hundreds of middle school children who listen to you spellbound during a meeting at school while you tell them the story of the Antico Vinaio, people who wait for you for half an hour outside the institute to talk to you. It’s something that excites me ». Speaking of such a phenomenon, which seems to know no boundaries, one wonders what the horizons are. «The thing that I always tell myself, and that I also tell the boys, is that we must keep our feet on the ground, work well and with humility, without getting caught up in the heat. We have a chance to do something really beautiful. So let’s enjoy the moment but let’s not raise the crest ».

Tommaso Mazzanti

Tommaso Mazzanti

This, however, “does not mean that we have to put stakes. In six months we managed to make four openings and all the stores are directly managed, without franchising. We have the American expansion in the pipeline, with the second opening in New York and one in Los Angeles. Then maybe we’ll take a look at Miami too. I would like to start dreaming of Europe: it would be incredible to have shops in the most beautiful cities in the world. As a challenge, however, I would really like Arab countries, but with another format, because there we could not use pork, in which we are specialized ».

The “best in the world” (Italian) sandwich shop opens in New York

by Francesco Semprini



The permanent center of gravity, despite what has become the Antico Vinaio, remains one: «Investments must be prudent. I come from nowhere and every time I choose a place I pay a lot of attention to it. Things must be done well: we have 250 families on our shoulders, we cannot afford to joke about this ».

.
#irresistible #rise #Antico #Vinaio #shop #Florence #conquered #world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.