Last Friday, 25 marzo, Giovanni Rana was a guest of Inner Wheel Trento Castle, who has seen fit to give me the honor of conducting the meeting open to the entire audience trentino. A meeting in my view extraordinary, for the extraordinariness of Giovanni Rana, from which there is no other that sit in silence and listen to its thousands of teachings and its history, as well as the countless anecdotes, like that time when Barilla asked him to sell him the company. “I told him, excuse Barilla, because you don't sell your? And he answered me: because mine is a horse breed with which I and my children having fun. Then I replied: my hand is a nice little ass, that which I and my son we have fun just as… I never asked more of Naboth”.
The frog is a typical story of entrepreneurship in the North East: a craftsman who becomes an entrepreneur and grows up to make his company a European multinational. What were the secrets of this success? "What allowed me to transform a tortellini in a strong industrial system, able to grow and develop also independently was the creative factor. Today with 50 types of fresh pasta, frozen food, the sauces, the ready meals, restaurants, Pastificio Rana is passed from Lider rynku Italian fresh pasta to food solutions provider for so many channels and so many countries. Another strong feature of my company is widespread entrepreneurship: the absence of internal bureaucracy allows us to have contributions from everyone and an attachment to the enterprise that is, and must remain, the same as Giovanni Rana. This system has been able to withstand successfully the entrance on our most important market in the world's food groups: developing from two to four new products a year, talking on television and producing a quality that only the wisdom and ability can give, We managed to stay within this market that continues to grow year after year ".
San Giovanni Lupatoto, a village on the outskirts of Verona, is the location of the operating headquarters of the frog spa. And Giovanni Rana, who with his grandfather from fisique that each of us would like to have and the joke always ready speak attractively and typically Venetian confidently. The impression is that a person has remained simple despite the great reputation, serena and common sense. And surely a marketing genius.
"My dad died when I was ten years-tells-and I was the last of six children. My mother dreamed of a future of studies, but I went to work in the family oven with brothers. Here I learned a lot: to work, to make bread and spinning for customers ". The crucial moment occurs when Giovanni has twenty years: one brother decided to make the pastry chef (because he had always had the bullet for sweets), the other continued the business with the family oven while Giovanni decided to devote themselves to tortellini.
"I took – blissful smiles – right now for crazy, because at the time, and I speak of the beginning of the years ' 60: the tortellini were sold in stores and only on Saturday for Sunday lunch ". But the nose for the market that was changing and the intuition that the tortellini could be an economical dish on the table of the Italians pushed Giovani Frog to believe this initiative. "Oh yes, women went to work and then to make the pasta I thought I!“. In 1961, with the money of the clearance that gave him his brother to the family oven, decided the great leap: created in the former barn completely renovated a workshop with a small shop ("Laura, my girlfriend, preparing the filling, I the paste: We used them on Friday and Saturday I walked around with an old Guzzi with the basket behind. That Guzzi I put it in the waiting room of my company to always remind me of the early "). Soon will come a Renault 4 paid in 25 rate and "made go until they lost the pieces on the street!”. Things grew at its best, disproving the most optimistic forecast. Children's policy, but the company grew fast: in 1963 produced a quintal of dough per week, in 1965 had a dozen women helpers ("how much talking!"remember Rana), the following year came the first small machines for making gnocchi and tortellini, but were still closed by hand. "We grew up a lot but only in the surrounding area – points out – because the freshness of tortellini lasted more than three days. One evening talking to a brother, dealer of Recoaro, I made the discovery that the carbonated mineral water lasted more than normal, and this because of the presence of carbon dioxide. So it was that I went from Dr. Speri, a well-known chemist in the area, I explained that carbon dioxide is a bacteriostatic. After you understand the meaning of this buzzword to me an idea and I said it straight up, asking if I could introduce carbon dioxide in vacuum bag of tortellini to make them last longer ". And so it was that the duration of the freshness of the tortellini of frog went from three to 15 days with immediate enlargement sales markets, extended beyond Central Italy. A few years after the introduction of a new technology ("the modified atmosphere: I did do I act on this innovation – emphasizes proudly Frog – and that today is used for many products) allowed for longer periods of storage and sale, as well as the achievement of more distant markets.
Meanwhile, was the 1969, bought half a hectare of land to build a shed from 2000 square meters, completed in less than 24 months. "At the time was equipped with two production lines – remember – that I had invented because there were no manufacturers of these machines, From that piece of land there are more motivated because a few years later we expanded the production site without moving the Headquarters ".
"The 70 's were a Rossini crescendo – stresses kidding – because of aumentavamo 10-15% per annum, so much so that in 1980 We had passed the 20 billion turnover, with 70 employees and a network of 25 dealers, with a market share of 18% percent ".
Gli anni ' 80 run away fast with many happy but also notes some sad; separation from wife Laura, a divorce would come several years later but were still good friends. In 1989 fulguration, the mass media insight: appearing in commercials in the first person. Today Frog has a very high reputation index that varies between 95 and the 96, behind only Coca-Cola and Barilla. The other ad intuition was to accompany, in commercials, in Marylin Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Rita Hayworth, or to Stalin on the red square. "The idea was why initially everyone thought that I had not I the real Giovanni Rana, but I was an actor. We had to find a solution. And it was this ".
But with the arrival in the company of his son Gian Luca that frog Spa sales take off, and today boast 360 million turnover 1200 employees. "My son Mohammed and I reign – Frog – but jokingly says, beyond the beat, Today I deal with research and development, plant, of marketing, i.e. all the things for which I was born and I believe deeply. Gian Luca instead takes care of everything else: that is not just!”. But Giovanni Rana acknowledges another important added value to the son: "Until then – I was just stressed – to lead the company: by that time I could talk to him and Exchange, at the end of the day, doubts and impressions. And that's how we decide in two hours what competition, and I speak of multinationals in the sector, can do become operational in at least two years ".
Then there is the fast food section "By Giovanni", 21 points in Italy, 4 in Switzerland, 3 new opening soon: Bolzano, Catania, Novara. And now that frog is landed in the United States maybe even a factory overseas: "It costs too much to produce in Italy and transported to Usa".