Silvano “Jake” Bucci: Recipe for Success
The bell tolls with four dings as the day begins. At the family-owned Caffe’ d’Italia, in Cagli, Italy, the lights flicker on, and the equipment in the kitchen begins to hum. For Silvano Bucci, the daily needs of the customers are always on his mind.
While pastries bake in the oven, Silvano (“Jake” to his friends), with the help of his family, prepares the caffé for business.
Jake came by his nickname when a customer couldn’t remember the name “Silvano.” Over time, Silvano became Jack, which became Jackie and then Jake. “So I’m Jake,” he says smiling.
Jake’s recipe for success is simple. “Be nice to the customer, and they will be nice to you,” he says. “I want to meet my customers’ needs. I know they have a lot of choices, and I want to make sure what separates me is the service I provide.”
Jake makes this connection when he is serving his customers at the counter; he is personally taking care of them. “It is good to know your customer and know what they like,” he says. “Many years ago, we only had a few choices in our cafe, but in order to stay in business, I needed to offer more choices to my menu.”
Customers of all ages visit Jake’s caffé, which serves a variety of espressos, panini, drinks, and handmade gelato. “Our customers love our gelato,” he says.
His other focus is on family. “I want to make sure my family is healthy, happy and taken care of,” he says.
Jake was born in Luxembourg. “When I was a kid growing up, I played many different sports and activities,” he says, adding that his mother was originally from Cagli. “My mother and father always wanted to keep the family together.”
His father and mother worked hard to support the family. “They taught me the value of respect and hard work,” he says. “My father was a truck driver and my mother worked for the police.
Jake started in this business almost 30 years ago. “We moved to Cagli because we knew if we wanted to be a family, we would need a family business,” he says. “These are the values that I instill in my two boys today.”
Jake’s two sons, his brother, and much of his family work at the cafe. As Jake talks, his two boys are busy in the background; one cleans tables while the other prepares for the afternoon rush. “If something needs to be done, they do it,” Jake says.
“My father works hard to make sure we have what we need,” says Andrea, the youngest boy. Jake’s father also focuses on the customer; as Jake fixes drinks, his father walks outside to sit down and talk with the customers he calls friends. Jake’s mother is busy in the kitchen baking more bread.
Jake says he is happy about the role his cafe plays in Cagli. His business takes part in many of the area’s festivities, most recently in “Grill Fest,” which brought people from around the region to Cagli to enjoy food and drink. These events are not just good for business but for the community.
“When you put your heart into it and make people feel comfortable, they will come back again,” Jake says. “Why would you act any differently?”
Like other towns and cities across Italy, Cagli has recently suffered an economic downturn. Jake has seen many people he called friends move elsewhere to find work. “If there are no jobs, then there is no money and that means no business,” he says. “We need more business to come in and create more jobs so people can enjoy their lives.”
Each summer, Gonzaga University, of Spokane, Wash., brings graduate students to Cagli, and many spend a lot of time at Jake’s cafe. “When the students from Gonzaga University come to town, they bring an energy that is good for this community,” he says. “I wish they were here all-year long.”