Now, they’re keeping the business running by selling freshly made sourdough bread and high-end takeaways as well as running a mobile bar that brings fancy cocktails, antipasto and desserts right to customers’ front yards.

Luke Piccolo says the business was keen to try new approaches when coronavirus forced the shut down of their eat-in options. He’s been amazed not only by the welcome from customers, but by the level of support from across the community.

“We have friends and family in Italy so we had an idea what might be coming and that allowed us to get started on our new approach before restrictions came in,” Luke says. “We started preparing family size lasagnes, curries and other meals and it created a social media storm. We couldn’t keep up.”

This early switch meant there was work for the chefs, but Luke and his family wanted to be able to keep on their front of house staff, too.

Luke’s brother-in-law made a whole new venture possible when he offered the business the use of his beloved, fully restored Kombi van.

The van, now known as Mr Aperitivo, visits homes in the region and sets up out front, providing customers with a half hour experience including cocktails, antipasto and desserts.

“Our customers are mostly young families who are looking for a nice way to end their days. Many of them have children schooling at home and this is just something fun for them to do. We’re incredibly fortunate that my brother-in-law was open to letting us use the Kombi van. It really matches our brand. It’s important to us that we can still be professional, personable and maintain the standards we are known for.”

Luke and the team have also been baking fresh bread twice a week, selling out 100 loaves each time, and again a favour helped them meet demand.

“My friend has a pizza oven that he would never sell but when I asked to borrow it to make bread he said yes right away. Every time we have asked somebody for something, it’s been a straight yes. It’s been incredible to see how supportive this community is.”

The Piccolos are doing their part to support the community in turn. Their food and drinks menu features produce from their own Piccolo Family Farm as well as plenty of other locally-sourced ingredients, from local gin in the cocktails to local organic flour in the bread. They are promoting their business using social media and through their 3000-strong customer database, and have set up an online booking system.

Luke says a strong relationship with Commonwealth Bank allowed his family to focus on the business.

“The relationship with the bank is amazing. The biggest thing it has given us is the confidence to do things without having to worry about money. There was a lot of confusion around in the early stages of the restrictions but instead of being bogged down trying to work through it, we just called our banker and she set up an overdraft. The bank really took away the unknowns so we could keep moving forward.”

For more about the Piccolo family’s farm, café and restaurant see www.piccolofamilyfarm.com.au

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This article represents opinions and views of the customer's personal experiences only and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.  Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.