Chat with Gregory Zamfotis of New York’s Iconic Gregorys Espresso Chain

Gregorys Espresso founder Gregory Zamfotis outdoors the corporate’s first drive-in location, which not too long ago opened in Paramus, New Jersey. Courteous picture.

A few decade and a half in the past – when the idea of slowness amongst some lovers of hand-brewed specialty espresso was so intently related to tremendous high quality – a glasses-wearing New Yorker named Gregory Zamfotis devoted all its power to a different idea for the entire specialty: velocity.

That effort has now resulted within the “Gregulars” legion visiting 38 huge Gregorys Espresso shops in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, together with a newly introduced drive-in location in Paramus, NJ.

It has been an extended journey since Zamfotis, with the assistance of his New York meals enterprise father, launched with a single Gregorys Espresso location in Manhattan in 2006.

Zamfotis is claimed to have persevered within the inevitable development of specialty espresso – a development that has turn out to be particularly evident throughout the pandemic – by way of the amalgamation of two distinct ideas: high quality and handy.

Additionally, not like conventional QSR or quick meals fashions, which frequently depend on excessive processed and sometimes unhealthy fare to maintain prices down, Gregorys Espresso has managed to construct its enterprise with a spread of vegan and health-conscious meals choices, and showcase methods like chopping out corn syrup by rising date syrup in-house.


New Gregorys Espresso location in Paramus. Courteous picture.

In the meantime, espresso continues to come back from the Gregorys roaster in Lengthy Island Metropolis, which launched the basic Probat UG-22 together with the bigger Probat in 2016.

We not too long ago reached out to Zamfotis to debate the most recent issues happening with the now iconic New York espresso model.

[Editor’s note: Portions of this interview have been shortened or gently edited for style and clarity.]

Each day Espresso Information: You’ve got lengthy talked about sustaining effectivity alongside high quality, this in an age of “particular instantaneous apps,” pre-ordering apps, driving by way of the confirmed pandemic , and so on looks as if a great wager. In what essential methods have your effectivity protocols in retail shops developed through the years? How are you sustaining it on scale?

Gregory Zamfotis: Pace ​​and effectivity are on the core of who we’re, so we’re always evaluating our protocols to search out methods to enhance as we innovate. One essential change we made throughout covid was shifting our baking program from one centralized location to baking recent in every of our shops. We nonetheless make our personal merchandise from scratch, however now we bake recent all through the day at every cafe. This enables us to raised protect our cake containers, whereas additionally bettering high quality by eliminating any issues throughout transit. In all the pieces we do, we imagine in difficult the established order. As we develop, we’re decided to enhance alongside the way in which.

Are you able to share how menu design and restaurant structure have an effect on efficiency?

These elements are essential to our success each day. We have fastidiously curated our menu to incorporate distinctive and one-of-a-kind gadgets, however all the time by way of the lens of creating positive we do not stumble over one thing that may disrupt the workflow. ours in an essential means. We hearken to our staff to be sure that after we replace the menu, everybody concerned will get their assist.

Equally, our shops have to be organized in a approach to permit for queuing in addition to ease of pre-pickup. As an increasing number of of our Gregulars pre-order, we needed to verify they’d a fast and straightforward path to gather orders and hit the highway. We do not get the job finished the primary time, however we are going to undergo if we do not study from our errors and get higher with every construct.

Clearly, staffing and retention are enormous points amongst companies of all sorts right now. How are you managing that?

This begins and ends with tradition. We intention to construct a tradition of reality, belief and inclusion. We take into consideration who we’re as individuals, not bartenders, and intention to see who they’re and assist create an awesome surroundings for them to succeed. We regularly introduce new staff members by way of phrase of mouth or referrals from present workers.

What’s your present improvement plan?

We not too long ago opened an actual specialty espresso store in Paramus, NJ. We could not be happier with the outcomes and have acquired wonderful suggestions from individuals who could not imagine they’ll now take pleasure in high quality espresso and meals like ours at a drive-in store. We intention to open extra driveways throughout places sooner or later as a part of our robust progress plan!

In espresso, the place do you see the road between quick meals (QSR) and specialty espresso retail? The place is the distinction between these two?

There’s rather a lot to find out about true QSR. There is a purpose they’re so well-liked! Comfort, velocity, accessibility are all issues the place QSRs do a unprecedented job. Typically specialty espresso can really feel unique and that is an issue we wish to tackle. Specialty espresso does not must be gradual and costly, we see espresso in a different way. We make high quality accessible.

As an undergraduate, you majored in finance with a significant in philosophy. How did you land on two?

I actually thought I might pursue a profession in banking after I acquired into Boston College. With that in thoughts, specializing in funds is the way in which to go. Alongside the way in which, I actually loved finding out philosophy, particularly the ancients, and determined to spend extra time doing it.

You pursued that with regulation faculty. Is there one thing about regulation faculty that makes you wish to exit for espresso?

There is no such thing as a direct correlation between regulation faculty and occasional. As an alternative, I noticed that I might quite observe my ardour than my job… I am able to working towards regulation, I simply do not love what I am doing. I like creating issues with my palms, interacting with individuals and making connections. Espresso has given me the power to do all of that each day for the previous 16 years.

Clearly, the espresso business has numerous urgent social, financial and environmental sustainability challenges. Because the enterprise has grown, and thus seems to have reached extra provide chain contributors, how has your view of sustainability in your personal provide chain developed?

With the worth of C espresso fluctuating a lot, it all the time raises the query, “How does this have an effect on the worth of origin espresso?” Macroeconomic elements can have a huge impact on the livelihoods of lots of people within the espresso business… An instance of what we did in 2019 was to signal a multi-year settlement to purchase espresso. espresso from Fazenda Lagoa in Brazil. We’re dedicated to purchasing their espresso for a very long time, it doesn’t matter what C is doing, and that offers them consolation and predictability of their enterprise. We’re glad to do it as a result of not solely can we love their espresso, we love them!

Lastly, listed below are three questions:

Three Questions with Gregory Zamfotis

What excites you most about espresso?

Future! It’s fascinating to see how specialty espresso has continued to evolve, and now with the robust progress of chilly espresso, we are able to open many new doorways. We use espresso as an ingredient to create nice drinks. Once you begin with high quality espresso, you possibly can actually construct on it with fascinating and distinctive creations that folks love.

What annoys you most about espresso?

Stress on the supply to maintain bettering and tweaking with no assure clients pays the premiums they should make these modifications. If there have been extra transparency and wider consciousness of those challenges, it may go a great distance towards deregulation, which might typically be a disadvantage for the wonderful business of we.

What would you do with out espresso?

That is actually onerous to think about as a result of I actually love what I do. Nonetheless, if I had to decide on, I might most likely work in health. I’ve a deep ardour in your well being and caring for your physique.

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