Support 'more than the money' for Bongusto
For Bongusto owner Roberto Giorgioni working with WellingtonNZ has meant re-organising his business for uncertain times, but also getting ready to grow
Bongusto Pasta Workshop and Café has been serving up authentic Italian delights to Wellington for 10 years. Based in Miramar, owner Roberto Giorgioni and his team operate an eatery and make wholesale artisanal pasta, pizza and sauces for a take-home taste of Italy.
Like many hospitality businesses across New Zealand, Bongusto was impacted by Lockdown restrictions. However, through WellingtonNZ's Covid-19 support Roberto connected to professional advice that allowed him to navigate Covid and look at opportunities to grow in the wholesale market.
By funding you it means they [WellingtonNZ] believe that it’s possible, that there’s some potential to succeed, which is worth even more than the money
Support goes beyond funding
Roberto used Covid-19 funding for businesses in two stages – the first to work with experts to make sure Bongusto was in a stable position. He worked with WellingtonNZ business growth manager James, who put him in touch with service provider Capo Strategies to work through the challenges.
It was great to know that WellingtonNZ was there to support businesses during Covid, he says. But beyond the funding, having someone that wants to see your business thrive is a great confidence boost.
“It’s not just the money, but the moral support. Sometimes it’s worth more to have someone on the end of the phone that you can talk to that knows the business - James has been in hospitality his whole life so you know he knows what’s going on.”
Roberto returned to WellingtonNZ about possible funding to continue his work with Capo Strategies, on how to move wholesale products into more supermarkets.
“The second step was moving forward and looking at scalability and to do that you need a professional,” Roberto says.
It’s never as easy as you think it will be, but it’s been good working with WellingtonNZ to find the right people to work with
Focusing on future growth
Capo Strategies’ Vito Lo Iacono looked at what needed to be done to expand and connected Roberto with a food consultant to look at improving labels and packaging to meet the high standards set by New Zealand supermarkets.
The plan is to test the market to see if there’s demand before looking at bigger kitchens and more staff, Roberto says.
“As a small business owner I'm working each day in the kitchen, with so many things to think about that if you tell me I need to find out how to change my labels I’m not going to do it, but being able to find people like Vito, who knows how it works, makes it much easier to take on.”
If the response is positive, Roberto knows WellingtonNZ’s business growth team is there to support business expansion and taking on more staff.
The impact of Love Local
Aside from WellingtonNZ’s business support, Roberto says the generosity and support of the Miramar community was humbling.
With a push to buy local to support Wellington business owners, the community rallied with online sales of pasta and sauces going well, and people adding extras to their takeaway orders.
"The community was so supportive over Covid – it wasn’t just more sales but good, big orders. We know the product is good, but you know that they were ordering so much to be helpful.
“The community has been absolutely outstanding.”