What next for Brunetti? The brothers reveal plans after splitting the cafe business in two

Brunetti Classico's flagship venue in Lygon Court, Carlton, part of Fabio's business.
Brunetti Classico's flagship venue in Lygon Court, Carlton, part of Fabio's business. Photo: Lani Angele

After Melbourne cafe institution Brunetti split into two separate businesses in August, owners Yuri and Fabio Angele are ready to share what's on the horizon for the part of the business each brother now controls, from retail spin-offs to expansions and new technology.

The split into Brunetti Oro and Brunetti Classico was driven by divergent views on adapting the 47-year-old business to a changed world. 

Older brother Fabio Angele, responsible for Classico, believes the two brands can co-exist.

Cakes and pastries at Brunetti Oro in Flinders Lane.
Cakes and pastries at Brunetti Oro in Flinders Lane. Photo: Darrian Traynor

For Fabio, it's important to stay true to the Brunetti tradition through offering artisanal products and classic Italian dishes. Right now, he's focused on getting the flagship Carlton cafe and two others at Melbourne's international and domestic airports back on their feet. 

Meanwhile, younger brother Yuri Angele says Brunetti Oro's focus will be on taking what they've done in the past and trying to improve it, creating a product that's more suitable for the modern consumer.

He's hard at work with the Brunetti Oro team on new concept Brunetti Zero, a retail and takeaway spin-off for breakfast, lunch, coffee and sweet treats. The name refers to zero wait time and zero plastic, as Oro aims to attract younger customers.

Yuri Angele takes charge of Brunetti's Flinders Lane venue, offering a restaurant experience.
Yuri Angele takes charge of Brunetti's Flinders Lane venue, offering a restaurant experience. Photo: Darrian Traynor

"With COVID, it's really taught us in hospitality that even with a brand like Brunetti we have to adapt or risk losing relevance," Yuri says.

Occupying about 60 square metres, each Zero outlet will be staffed by a barista to ensure the quality of the coffee, but is otherwise geared to quick service for spaces such as airports, malls and hospitals. The concept will be rolled out at the Brunetti cafes currently within Myer Melbourne and Changi Airport in Singapore, with Singapore's Zero up and running in 12 to 18 months.

More dine-in locations for Oro are also in the works, including one in a heavily trafficked location beside the Yarra River.

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But the first change Melburnians will notice is a new a la carte menu and online booking system at the Flinders Lane venue, now controlled by Brunetti Oro. The 300-seat space has until now offered a full menu of pastas, pizzas, main courses, sides and cocktails, with orders placed at the counter and no bookings. They'll now turn the main dining area into a 60-seat restaurant, with the rest of the space  operating as it always has.

"This is something our customers have requested for a long time now," Yuri says.

He's also developing technology for a virtual cake builder, which he plans to have ready for Melbourne's reopening, when family celebrations will be on the cards. Designed for custom cake orders, the cake builder will allow people to outline their cake specs and have the Brunetti team present them with the best options and a preview.

Fabio Angele, owner of Brunetti Classico, which encompasses cafes in Carlton and at Melbourne Airport.
Fabio Angele, owner of Brunetti Classico, which encompasses cafes in Carlton and at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Courtesy Brunetti Classico

"Before, custom orders were done over the phone," says Yuri. "It was very time-consuming and a lot of things got lost in translation." 

The technology will also allow Oro to expand interstate and establish production kitchens that will fulfil orders for whole cakes. 

Brunetti Classico already has an online ordering system for celebration cakes, but with fewer options to customise the look and the type of cake. Its online store also offers picnic boxes, work-at-home lunch boxes, DIY cannoli kits and other items for delivery all over Melbourne.

Yuri Angele controls Brunetti Oro after the split, which includes a Flinders Lane venue and cafes inside Myer Melbourne ...
Yuri Angele controls Brunetti Oro after the split, which includes a Flinders Lane venue and cafes inside Myer Melbourne and Singapore's airport. Photo: Courtesy Brunetti Oro

A gelateria next door to Fabio's Lygon Street venue is also set to open early next year, with Classico taking over the now-shuttered STA Travel agency and removing the dividing wall between the two properties to create a small piazza.

But otherwise, it's business as usual for Fabio and his team.

"We're staying very true to our traditions and not trying to have too much change. The customers will be happy with that, because that's why they come."

The Angele brothers jointly owned and operated Brunetti alongside their father Giorgio for 30 years, overseeing significant expansion in Melbourne and overseas and a glamorous makeover of their flagship Carlton venue in that time.

brunetticlassico.com.aubrunettioro.com.au