Edward Carminati

Catering Enterpreneur

Even the darkest night gives way to dawn

Edward Carminati grew up in Treviglio, close to Bergamo in the northern part of Italy, with an international DNA: his mother was from New Zealand, and his father, Italian. As a result, he always had a passion for traveling. After studying Tourism Management at the University of Urbino in Italy, he briefly lived in New Zealand, then relocated to Fiji, managing a boutique resort for nearly five years.

Edward has been in Cambodia since late 2011, where he opened two Italian restaurants, Il Forno in Siem Reap and Il Forno Phnom Penh.

Hi  Edward, why are you here in Cambodia?

It all started as a mere coincidence. After working in Fiji, my old bosses relocated to Asia and invited me to visit Cambodia. I went there on holiday and quickly fell in love with the people and the lifestyle. Accordingly, I decided to relocate and invest here.

Today I can say that I made the right choice. Here I created my own business and my family, too.

What are your success factors as a catering entrepreneur?

First of all, you have to find a line of business where you can have a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Secondly, you need to create a loyal customer base. Become a point of reference for your clients. Make yourself known.

Thirdly, diversify your business strategy based on your type of customers. For example, we offer a more refined and high-class service for the restaurant in Phnom Penh and a more touristic approach to the restaurant in Siem Reap.

Do you have an example of what “high-class” service means?
I remember a high-ranking Cambodian customer having dinner with us. I chose a “Super Tuscan” wine to accompany his meal, a quite unusual Italian red wine made with Cabernet Sauvignon.

He was enthusiastic about my wine choice that we wanted to buy the whole reserve available. So the same night, I contacted the warehouse to make him purchase the remaining 40 bottles here in Phnom Penh. The following day, the secretary called me and told me he wanted me to buy the whole 2008 stock in the winery back in Italy, which I did. So let us say that we go the extra mile for our customers!

How has the global pandemic impacted your business?
We have been significantly affected, especially in Siem Reap, a predominantly touristic city. But we need to keep ongoing. Our staff is like family. We have been here nearly ten years with the same people who have been part of our Italian project.

In Bergamo we say: “Piutost che nient, l’è mei piutost” which translates, “Sometimes little is better than nothing at all. ”

What is your advice for a person wanting to open a business in Cambodia?
Do your homework before making your investment and think long-term.

It is true that here it is relatively easy to start your business, get your license, your work permit, pay your taxes, and so on. The hardest part comes after that. It is the daily routine about keeping the business going, maintaining the quality of your service high, and having the right people with you. It would help if you were very patient and flexible.

How do you see your future?
You have to stay positive, because as my parents thought me, “Even the darkest night gives way to dawn.” So to find out how much damage the darkness has made and find ways to fix it.

Thanks, Edward, we will keep that in mind! Of course, being a businessman sometimes has difficulties, but we can leave a mark with courage and wisdom. And Edward has shown us precisely this.

? To connect with Edward Carminati, visit his profile on our Business Directory here.

✍️  Marco Restifo Pecorella

?  Edward Carminati


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