Communication, customization, speed: this is the recipe for Lotus success and the brand's professional kitchens for restaurants in Southeast Asia. Interview with the resident area manager Andrea De Caprio.
Reliability of the product, distinctive aesthetic line and above all perfect service. This is the recipe for the success of Lotus and its kitchens for restaurants in Southeast Asia. Because being reliable also means knowing how to understand the customer's needs and offer him the most functional solution, always being in contact with business partners and guaranteeing support and quick answers. In this interview, Andrea De Caprio, Lotus resident area manager for Southeast Asia, talks about how the company's presence in the region and expansion plans for the future are developing.
Hi Andrea, thanks for this interview. Can you tell us who you are and what do you do?
Hello, I am Andrea De Caprio, resident area manager of Lotus in Southeast Asia and I am responsible for the management and development of the sales and distribution network of our company's restaurant kitchens in this area.
Which are the markets you follow and their characteristics?
I follow the entire region: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. It is the third largest market in the world, with a total population of over 635 million people, and the sixth economy with a combined total GDP valued at approximately $ 3.10 trillion.
I like to define this region as "kaleidoscopic": these are independent markets with very different characteristics, but driven by a shared growth strategy and united by having reached, albeit in different eras, a modern service sector capable of attracting the continent's most advanced technological, electronic and computer industries. In addition, the excellent hotels, now almost everywhere, make these places a popular destination for travellers from all over the world. And of course, by those who, like us, are involved in the production of professional kitchens for restaurants.
What is the strategy you are implementing to strengthen Lotus' presence in this area?
The main challenge in such a complex market is to make the distribution network feel the proximity of its commercial partners, eliminating the distance (in terms of time zone, presence and understanding of local commercial issues) between the parties: my strategy is to '' to establish and manage a direct line of constant communication with our commercial partners in order to follow and support their requests extremely quickly. But also to analyse, understand and translate the large amount of feedback we receive, and the requests generated by a very demanding market. We can say that my mission is to make Lotus a strategic partner capable of generating value in a concrete way for our distributors and not just a supplier among many.
Why did you decide to partner with Lotus and choose it among many companies on the market?
I am an athlete and as such I am always on the constant search (in some ways I am obsessed!) for victory in any activity I engage in. I chose to work with Lotus because I see in it the same desire and determination to achieve great goals. A solid and ambitious company, which in the last difficult two years, instead of breaking down and waiting for the storm to pass, has chosen to invest and plan a future with extreme care. Just like the famous 4Ds - discipline, determination, dedication, detail - that any athlete needs to achieve great goals.
What are the characteristics that you have noticed in the Lotus products and company and that you are proud to emphasize when you propose its industrial kitchens?
I have lived in Asia for almost 20 years and have always worked in these markets and in particular in the professional kitchen sector for restaurants and one thing that has always impressed me a lot is the loyalty of Lotus customers: anyone who has put their trust in the products and in the company, has always been particularly satisfied, because professional kitchens and equipment are considered extremely reliable and performing, a fundamental factor in the B2B sector.
Lotus is a company that pays a lot of attention both to product care and commercial relationship with the retailer, who is aware that he has purchased not only a good product, but an extremely effective and valid service and after-sales.
What are the distinguishing features of the professional steel kitchens most appreciated by customers?
Reliability, style and service. Many of our customers think "as long as they do this, I will always buy from them!" which for us means that we have been able to transmit the level of both quality and innovation of product and process that is behind a Lotus kitchen. My work in this sense is extremely easy, since I am sure to propose a serious and advantageous solution to the customer, managing to infuse this certainty with great conviction and to make my feelings coincide with their needs.
Lotus' presence in Bangkok is stable and well structured: can you tell us how it is structured and what are the physical touch points where customers can get to know and touch the products with their own hands?
Our Bangkok showroom is the first and most important physical point of our presence in the region, the place par excellence in which to welcome customers and let them touch the professional steel kitchens, without necessarily having to do regional trade fairs, which nevertheless they always remain very important occasions. But a part from that, having a showroom also allows us to be able to quickly organize commercial training and live technical follow-up meeting during Asia time.
As I said before, the speed of response and the quality of the same is extremely important in this market, so we have structured ourselves with this in mind, to have a Lotus outpost always in direct contact with our customers in these areas. Personally, I believe it is essential to always be able to respond to our customers within twenty-four hours and our structure is organized to always be operational with the timetables and calendar of the region and Italy. We are operational, in fact, both during local and Italian holidays, precisely to be at the side of our partners when they need support, without leaving them waiting for answers or help.
Moreover, the central location of Bangkok in the region allows me to be physically present in a very short time in all these countries, easily reachable from the two airports of the city. It is not uncommon to take the first flight in the morning to be operational in Ho Chi Minh City or Jakarta in the early afternoon to offer support to our customers and return with the last flight of the evening.
Almost there: last question. Can you tell us your plans for the future?
The pandemic emergency has seriously compromised and slowed down the Ho.Re.Ca. in this region, which is heavily dependent on international tourism which has been blocked and limited for a long time, until a few weeks ago. In the immediate future it will be extremely important to support all our dealers in local events, to understand how the pandemic has changed the sector in Asia, but also which new opportunities have arisen from this epochal change. In this sense, many of the promotional initiatives we are implementing are aimed precisely at supporting our professional kitchen distributors in this first delicate phase of resumption of local commercial activities. We are also selecting new staff, based in Bangkok, for a support with the offers and the comparison of the projects, in order to always be able to process all requests for quotation within twenty-four hours, recently in sharp increase thanks to the reopening of the markets.
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