Antonio Civita is a roman who moved to Milan and known for choosing the opportunities that Milan offers, to whom, is willing to create the best situation for himself and for others. His accent and simpathy translate to his roman origins, but don’t take it wrong… His fast casual is really far from the experience offered to customers by the sympathetic roman hosts in Trastevere Trattoria : always!… To Antonio, protocols and duty descriptions, are the fundamental instruments to ensure the customers a memorable experience.
Antonio Civita is the C.E.O. and co-owner of Panino Giusto, an historic brand born in 1979. We met Antonio in 2012, and he was the first person who talked to us about the Fast Casual segment of restaurant industry. At that time Antonio Civita predicted what today we are calling “The restaurant bubble at Milan“. For sure, he is the most intuitive and at the same time pragmatic Italian entrepreneur in the Fast Casual sector! Evidence of this is that he has been able to give Panino Giusto an Italian and international development. Later on, Antonio’s dream to plan for Panino Giusto the biggest development came true during the last years and it is still in progress. New international openings are also planned for 2018. Antonio certainly brought up the innovation to the brand development and, in addition, he defined for his employees and collaborators an approach to the work totally oriented to the customer experience. An approach he dreamed and was able to instill in every single department of his company.
N&CX: Antonio, do you think there is a beauty in this competition?
Antonio Civita: first of all, the competition always is forming when a perspective emerges, a positive “promise” that lot of people clearly recognize (and actually most of them give it a try to reach it). Talking about our market, the positive perspective comes from by the fact that while the general market of restaurants is super saturated, the so-called Fast Casual segment grows precisely by “eating shares” from the general restaurants. Where there is perspective, there is also the possibility of wealth, that is the possibility of investing in people, innovative ideas and structures to have more opportunities to compete well. Where there is “wealth”, there are results, “margins”, investments, well-being, development, occupation, work, knowledge, culture and beauty. I think of competition as “run-together”! In what sense “run-together”? Running together towards a goal! Yes, we run together because, looking at, imitating, and “envying” each other, we get better, we give the best of ourselves for the full advantage of the final customer. This is the real beauty: competition brings the best out of oneself.
N&CX: so we can say that all the players, the old and new brands competing with each other, bring the best out of themselves?
Antonio Civita: who pulls out the best of himself? Panino Giusto? Princi? Ca’puccino? Spontini? No. “Companies” do not exist, they are “fictions”, they are walls, desks, software. People exist! Panino Giusto is me, the girls and the boys in the restaurants, the managers … Together we bring the best out of ourselves for a healthy run-together. That’s why we always look at each competitor with respect and deep appreciation. For the load of good that it may come for each of us. Sure … While we do some good for each other … We compete to win the customer!
N&CX: what is the hidden opportunity in the huge effort that competition requires?
Antonio Civita: when the competition is strong, he who “makes it” enters into the history, he “makes” the history of restaurants, he does something memorable and … Positive! This is the opportunity for our brand and for the people who work there.
N&CX: what is the expectation from Panino Giusto, today?
Antonio Civita: we must learn to compete, like everyone.
N&CX: what is the reward that this competition put up to the brands that try to be resilient?
Antonio Civita: Everything has changed: the world, the customer, the technologies, the infrastructures, the “conception” of food, of lunch, of the day and of well-being. The reward for those who resist is that for who is able to welcome and to embrace the innovation, instead of defend himself, overdo and then fail. At Panino Giusto, and furthermore on a personal level, in a way, we learn to “stay in the world” passing through mistakes, looking at others with humility, curiosity and the desire to learn (Steve Jobs called it “hunger”).