Ernando Cortelazzi’s adventure started a few years ago, precisely in 1997, when the entrepreneur had the depth of look that led him to see and analyse a potential market which in that Country was still uncovered: the one concerning Made in Italy food products. Cortelazzi Ho.Re.Ca Food Service today counts 2,000 customers only in Prague, supplying more than 3,000 commercial businesses including restaurants, pizzerias, catering, hotels, and food distributors with Italian products. It engages around 80 employees and collaborators and proposes over one thousand items in rotation.
Ernando Cortelazzi said: ‘Now we have a structure that manages to deliver goods, both fresh and preserved products, within 24 hours to every customer. In recent years, we have noticed that Czech citizens are very interested in healthy food and Made in Italy products. Here both cuisine of our Country and Mediterranean diet in general are highly appreciated. Furthermore, the Italian community has increased exponentially in recent years. Just for this reason, we had the idea of opening our first Cash & Carry, which will be addressed to both professionals who work in the domain of Ho.Re.Ca. and private citizen. We want to allow people to taste our food, breathe the culture of our land, understand the quality of our Country through our products. Around November, our new Cash & Carry will be ready. In addition to giving the opportunity to buy the goods, it will be a real point of refreshment and Italian culture’.
This overall view leads an ever-changing, ambitious project, as Claudia, Cortelazzi’s daughter and associated partner, tells us: ‘Our company has always tried to evolve and expand, bringing the basket of goods we distribute in Czech Republic even in other Central European Countries, such as Poland and Germany. Every year we try to expand the range we offer with new typical Italian products. Our interlocutors and suppliers are both small local producers and large companies, such as the consortia of Parmigiano Reggiano, raw ham of Parma, and other Italian excellences. As for our project to open up to the final consumer, we would like to point out that we do not want to abandon our core business, that concerns the distribution of food products to professionals, but we aim at consolidating our position as strategic suppliers and ‘training’ the local population for the countless diversifications that both Italian food and different local cuisines propose. In the Cash & Carry project, we have decided to open to the public a portion of restaurant, which will be interactive. We will offer cooking and tasting courses, in order to educate consumers and create added value by bringing them closer to our culture through food and wine’.
As for the online project, Cortelazzi Ho.Re.Ca. has chosen a pool of experts in digital communication in Italy, composed by Web4Design and Calicant.us. The two companies, respectively in Padua and at Quarto D'Altino, will have the task of building and developing both website design and eCommerce project, managing graphic and photographic image, as well as digital strategies in social networks and Google research network. Scenarios and prospects in terms of growth for online food sales are unbelievable, as shown by large investments made by such giants as Amazon.