If only more businesses were run like Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini’s | #638

If only more businesses were run like Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini’s | #638

Last month in Tuscany, Italy an eighth generation butcher by the name of Dario Cecchini totally blew my mind, for sooooo many reasons, the least of which is the incredible customer experience he and his team deliver. But trust me, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a meaty, and slightly teary, episode 638 of The (13 year-old, award-winning) Small Business Big Marketing podcast.



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A little more about Tuscan Butcher Dario Cecchini …

I‘m so excited (and honoured) to bring you this interview.

Dario Cecchini is an eighth generation butcher based in the small Tuscan town of Panzano, Italy. Population 1,152.

I discovered him last month when Sarah and I googled fun things to do in Tuscany, and one travel blogger was adamant that a visit to Dario’s butcher shop was an absolute must! In fact, the blogger went on to say that not only should you visit his shop, but you should absolutely book a seat at his now famous long-table lunch or dinner that he holds every day on the first floor of his shop. Six courses of the beast with all the Chianti and Grappa you can drink for fifty Euro.

At that point they had my attention as both Sare and I love a good feed at a long table. Who doesn’t?!

So we try to book online but there’s no spots left.

Instead, we rolled up one morning about 9:00 AM and that’s where the fun began. Allow me to paint the picture.

Dario’s butcher shop is in a non-descript side street of Panzano, nestled in between a souvenir shop and the local post office. If it weren’t for AC/DC and Andrea Boccelli playing at full volume on high-rotation, or waiters offering you a free glass (or four) of Chianti as you wandered past, you would be excused for walking straight by. 

Yep, you heard right, a butcher’s shop playing Acca Dacca and opera, and serving free wine at 9AM on a weekday! This happens everyday of the year BTW, except Xmas Day!

After a quick tipple out on the street, Sare and I wandered into Dario’s butcher shop where we were warmly greeted by Grant, a friendly Scottish fellow who acted as a sort of Maitre d. Yep, a butcher’s shop with  a maitre D! He welcomed us, asked where we were from and suggested we make ourselves at home, at which point I asked him (trying to hide my desperation) if there were a couple of seats left for the day’s long lunch. Miraculously there were, so after paying our fifty euro each at the booking office up the road (yep, a butcher’s shop with a booking office!), we settled into a couple more Chiantis and got talking to some of the other 170 people (from all over the world) who we’d be joining at the long table!

I then laid eyes on the great man himself. There he was, standing behind his chopping board that his great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather had worked on, surrounded by the most amazing cuts of meat, cleaver in hand; eighth generation butcher Dario Cecchini dressed in all his finery, finished off with an impressive handle-bar moustache.

Panzano butcher Dario Cecchini

So what’s the first thing Timbo the Tourist does? Ask for a photo of course! At which point Dario puts his arm around me, stuck his chest out like the proud butcher he is, and the first selfie of many was taken. 

After a couple more glasses of Chianti, midday swung round and we were ushered upstairs to a room full of long tables, and a roaring BBQ of hot coals ready to cook the first of six meaty courses. 

Now, I could go on and tell you about what an amazing lunch it was. How incredible the staff were at creating an unforgettable experience. How tasty the various courses were. How much fun it was sitting between and getting not-so-quietly drunk with folk from all over the world. Or how at one point, Dario comes out to thank everyone and yells out “Carne Diem” at the top of his voice … that’s his take on the Latin Carpe Diem (AKA Seize the day). 

However, I’m sure you get the picture; plus if you’re a Member of my Patreon then you can watch a video of it over at Patreon.com/MarketingPodcast (Here’s an excerpt) …

The point of this interview is much deeper than me sharing my travel stories. 

What I want to get across is that Dario Cecchini is a rare breed of business owner who overflows with love and passion for what he does, and who genuinely wants to share this with his precious customers. 

Dario is a man who operates from a strong set of values passed down through eight generations, he’s not scared of hard work and is full of pride in everything he does. This is also evident in all his staff who absolutely love him.

As a result, this humble Tuscan butcher has put his hometown of Panzano on the world map. Not only does he have a thriving butchers shop, and rooms full of long tables that accommodate hundreds each day. He also has a food truck on the city limits, a second restaurant two hours away, and an entire shop dedicated to merch. And who doesn’t love a good bit of merch!?

He’s also built a strong personal brand, so much so that an entire episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, is dedicated to this beautiful human.

Yes, Dario had a huge impact on me in the short time I spent with him, and I hope I’ve gone some way in this interview to impart why, so that you too can benefit from how he goes about life and business.

Yes, you’ll discover the power of running a values-based business, and how an unforgettable customer experience is built; but you’ll also be reminded of the power of a mentor, the importance of love in running  a business, and why creating a successful business is much more a feeling than it is an algorithm (Dario’s words, not mine!). In fact, in the same breath he says “You can only truly see with your heart.”

Before we meet him, three things I want you to note. 

Dario doesn’t speak English, so his beautiful wife Kim (who’s also his business partner) does the translating. Please don’t let this put you off, as half the magic is hearing him speak in his thick and passionate Italian accent.

Dario & Kim Cecchini

Secondly, there are times during this interview where all three of us get quite teary, in a very positive way. Soz if that’s not your style, but it’s mine. And Dario’s! And Kim’s!!

Thirdly, you can watch the full interview over at https://www.patreon.com/marketingpodcast 

Enough from me. 

I started off with the biggest of questions … Why does he love AC/DC so much!



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