NO-ONE EVER WINS A COMPETITION… OR DO THEY?
Nobody you know ever wins competitions – it’s one of life’s unwritten rules, isn’t it? So when it happens to you, the sense of shock is real! That was the reaction of Sophia Charalambous, owner of the Damn Fine Café in Lichfield, when she heard that she had been announced as the winner of a Gaggia Milano professional espresso machine! Café Life magazine exclusively published the competition in their February issue.
“To say I was stunned when I got the call from Evoca is an understatement! I really didn’t expect to win but when I saw the competition, I decided to enter, purely on the basis that I had nothing to lose!
“We were closed due to lockdown, which gave me an opportunity to refresh the café’s branding and the décor. I also took time to consider what I wanted from my next espresso machine. The competition’s timing couldn’t have been better; I had inherited my old machine when I bought the café from the previous owners just over three years ago. It had been showing signs of its age for a while. Deep down I knew I was going to have to invest sooner rather than later.”
About The Damn Fine Café
The Damn Fine Café is one of Lichfield’s most popular cafés. It has a large seating area inside as well as tables on the pedestrianised street for customers to enjoy a continental-style terrace experience, when the British weather allows. While passing trade provides a good number of customers, the café boasts a strong reputation. As a result, there is a large number of regulars. Customers can choose from an extensive menu of hot meals, snacks and sweet treats – and of course hot drinks. Now taking pride of place on the serving counter is La Precisa, Gaggia Milano’s professional espresso machine. The bold red side panels and distinctive mirrored front provide the perfect backdrop as customers place their order.
Making an Impact
The competition originally offered the chance to win a Decisa, but Sophia explains: “The Gaggia team at Evoca very kindly offered us an upgrade from La Decisa to La Precisa. We all agreed that the red machine would make a bold impact and stand out on our counter – and we weren’t wrong! Our regular customers (who have thankfully all returned since we re-opened) have commented on how fantastic it looks!
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A TOP RANK ON TRIPADVISOR?
“Lichfield is renowned as a destination for shoppers and tourists. There is a lot of choice available for those seeking good food and drink, and it’s crucial for us to continue to find ways to stand out from the crowd. We’re proud of our top rating on TripAdvisor, and La Precisa will open up more avenues for us to maintain this. I’m busy planning how to evolve the menu and what we offer to customers to maintain current levels of trade after the peak summer season. I think there’s scope for us to develop our “coffee and cake” options. It’s a really exciting time for us!”
La Precisa isn’t just impressing the customers; the staff love it too. Sophia comments: “My team have a renewed sense of pride in their work, and they absolutely love using it.”
SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES
As Craig Jukes, Evoca’s Sales Director points out, the Gaggia brand fits perfectly in a bustling setting like the Damn Fine Café: “There undoubtedly would have been Gaggia machines installed in Lichfield back in Gaggia’s first heyday in the Sixties. We’re proud that we’ve been able to help the Gaggia name re-establish itself in such a thriving town.”
“We were very clear that our aim for this competition was to support the hospitality sector at the precise moment it was allowed to re-open and to start to trade somewhat normally again,” he continued. “We are delighted to support an independent business in such a way at this time. Sophia and her entire ethos completely epitomise what Gaggia stands for – style, dedication and hard work. La Precisa is elegant, and we’re delighted with the visual impact it delivers. Above all, we know that it will work for Sophia on a practical level too – it’s easy to use, ergonomically designed and simply put, just makes life easier for the baristas.
Craig continues: “It’s unbelievably hard to get positive customer reviews, but the Damn Fine Café achieves this time after time. We hope that La Precisa will be a fantastic new addition to the café. Moreover, we know that it will help Sophia maintain her enviable ranking as one of Lichfield’s top cafés.”
The Final Word
The final word goes to Sophia: “I still cannot believe I won! I’m still in shock, and I am so grateful to Evoca. The machine and everything else they have done to support me is amazing. They’ve trained us amazingly well on the machine. They have also put us in touch with a new coffee and consumables supplier and supplied us with a new grinder for the finishing touch, too. It’s been a tough time for hospitality, and this has given me such a boost!”
It just goes to show, people do win competitions after all!