North York-based Speducci has joined a growing list of restaurant operators who have launched premium online food delivery services during the pandemic, introducing its Italian food service Bottega by Speducci.
“When I started here many years ago, we talked about doing something through e-commerce. The restaurant kept growing and we kind of put it on the back-burner,” says Speducci founder and partner Rosie Scavuzzo. “What COVID allowed us to do was pivot into e-commerce.”
Speducci quickly adopted what Scavuzzo calls a “very basic” online order service immediately after the pandemic hit in March, eventually soft-launching Bottega by Speducci via its social channels about eight weeks ago.
It is now actively scaling up the business, with Scavuzzo bringing aboard Rob Velenik, who spent two decades as director of catering with high-end grocer Pusateris, to help merchandise and build both the in-store and the online business. The company has doubled the number of products it carries since Velenik arrived, says Scavuzzo.
Bottega by Speducci’s specialties include its signature lamb speducci and cured meats, as well as cheeses, hand-crafted pasta, tomato sauce and wine and beer (including a selection of wines not available at retail) and locally sourced meat.
Bottega by Speducci is offering free delivery on all orders over $75 to customers living within 30 kilometres of its North York location, all of which come in the company’s signature orange boxes (it’s all about Instagram these days) and a newly branded delivery van.
Scavuzzo says the company is currently fulfilling four to five orders a day, with an average order size of between $130 and $150. She expects that number to rise significantly in the wake of a current PR campaign that will include some TV appearances by Paganelli.
“We’ve been building this clandestinely to ensure we have product available and we’re not overloading the skeleton crew we have,” says Scavuzzo. “We’re doing this very methodically to make sure we continue down the road of phenomenal service and products.”
Speducci joins a growing list of restaurant groups that have launched delivery services during the pandemic, including Liberty Entertainment Group’s Cibo Market and OHS Hospitality Group’s Door2Door Fresh.
Scavuzzo says the plan is to keep operating the e-commerce service even when the pandemic is over. “If anything, we’re growing this to the next level,” she says.