When Andrew Ferri, Owner/Chef of Figtree Gourmet Kitchen went along to the Fine Food Show at Homebush in 2015, he wasn’t particularly looking for new furniture for his iconic pizza restaurant. However, when he came across the Cafeideas exhibit, he couldn’t help but notice that the tables he’d had in mind to replace his existing ones were right in front of him.
Re-establishing at a new location presented its own set of challenges. The need to be mindful of budget was an enormous one and initially, Andrew had decided to retain his existing tables, with the goal of replacing them when he found what he really wanted. “We had to just take everything one step at a time,” Andrew explains. “There are always little things you know you could have done better to tick all the boxes, but as money allows, you move forward.”
Problems they had experienced
“We didn’t really experience any problems with Cafeideas other than that the representative we dealt with at the Fine Food Show had moved on and our order had to then be taken over by Daniel. But he did such a good job in keeping everything running smoothly, that we couldn’t be happier with the service we received.”
How Cafeideas helped
Whilst Andrew had found the exact tables he wanted, he did require some customisation of some of the tables’ dimensions to suit particular locations in the restaurant. “The customer service we received from Daniel was exceptional. He kept in contact with me about how the manufacture was going and he made everything so easy. Daniel spoke to the manufacturer and made it happen exactly as we’d requested.”
Follow-up, communication and problem management
Andrew says that at every stage of his order process, he was kept informed. “Even though all we were ordering was tables, Daniel made it his business to see it through to the end.”
So impressed was he with the level of service provided, Andrew says he has recommended Cafeideas to others in the industry. “People have commented on my tables and they’ve said that when the time comes for them to upgrade their own, they’ll give Cafeideas a call for sure.”
Andrew was also delighted by the large selection of products, the quality on offer and the range of price points available. “Actually, I saw Cafeideas again at the Hordern Pavilion a little while ago and noticed some really nice chairs. We don’t need new chairs for the restaurant just yet but I’ve got my eye on some for my house renovations.”
His final word had to do with the difference in dealing with Cafeideas over other companies. “Cafeideas are definitely more professional than others I’d dealt with. What makes the difference is that they really show you that they value your business. You’re not made to feel as though anything is a problem because they always seem to make the effort to go the extra mile.”
Owner/Chef Andrew Ferri has owned Figtree Gourmet Kitchen for over 14 years, and in its new location in Figtree, a suburb of Wollongong, since 2013.
Andrew started his career in restaurants, hanging out at his Roman Dad’s pizzerias from as young as 8 or 9. “Pizza is in my blood,” he says. “Once I started to drive at 17, I needed to make some money so Dad put me on and I learned from the ground up what it means to serve customers and provide a good product.”
Andrew bought his own first pizza restaurant at 24 and hasn’t looked back since.
Today, Figtree Gourmet Kitchen is Illawarra’s longest established wood-fired pizza restaurant. Having won multiple awards over the years including the Lifestyle Food Channel’s NSW state award for Favourite Family Restaurant and the Restaurant & Catering Association’s ‘Best Pizza Restaurant South Coast’, Andrew is obviously doing something very right.
“It’s all about the quality you provide for your customers,” Andrew tells us. “We refuse to skimp on ingredients or the way we do things because we simply don’t want to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s why we don’t run coupon deals and we don’t even offer a Tuesday night special. We’re not Dominos, we don’t try to be Dominos and our customers appreciate us for exactly who we are … a pizza restaurant that cares enough to consistently serve really good food.”
One look at the menu confirms this philosophy. Figtree Gourmet specialises in gourmet pizza toppings. The Reef n Beef pizza features premium quality scotch fillet and tiger prawns plus a lemon fennel cream. They make a hugely popular Tandoori Chicken pizza with fresh tandoori chicken, minted yoghurt and mango chutney. Aside from the pizzas, Figtree Gourmet devotees clamour for the Prawn Hot Pot which is one of the restaurant’s biggest sellers, along with the Veal Scaloppine which features quality veal backstrap. As for the coffee, Figtree Gourmet Kitchen serves Vittoria’s top of the range Cinque Stelle roast.
BYO, the restaurant is casual and welcoming. Its customer base features locals who drop by for a meal when they don’t feel like cooking, and people looking for a good night out with excellent food and friendly service.
Open for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday nights, Figtree Gourmet Kitchen also opens for lunch for private functions.