Fratellini RG, which operates under the name Vinny’s Panini NYC, provides several ‘Grab n’ Go’ options and different concepts, from gourmet panini to bagels, hot dogs, pasta, pizza, and more. Its food concession operates 24 hours a day/seven days a week at the TWA Hotel Food Hall at JFK International Airport, and the company provides fast, casual dining and catering options to the airport community, especially those in the TWA Hotel vicinity.
Vilson ‘Vinny’ Dautaj is the owner of Fratellini RG, Inc. and has worked in the food service industry for over 20 years. Immigrating to the United States from Florence, Italy, in 2011, he worked in the restaurant industry in New York before opening his own business. Vinny has been a part of the TWA Hotel Food Hall since its grand opening in the spring 2019.
In late 2019, after a previous food & beverage service provider left, Fratellini RG began operating three kiosks at the TWA Food Hall, and in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he extended operating hours to meet demand.
Charismatic and passionate about what he does, Vinny always looks for ways to improve his business by thinking outside of the box and being flexible, overseeing day-to-day operations, financials, legal and business relationships. With a strong belief in giving back to the community, he regularly provides food donations to a local food pantry.
Mirian ‘Miri’, Director of Operations, supports Mr. Dautaj by working onsite and overseeing day-to-day operations, as well as employee training and quality control. The staff at Vinny’s Panini NYC embody the same philosophy of customer service that Vinny prides himself on, and some staff has been employed with Vinny’s Panini for almost as long as he has been at the TWA Hotel Food Hall.
With carry-out and online ordering already in place before the pandemic, ‘Grab n’ Go dining allowed Vinny’s Panini NYC to remain open during the pandemic and accelerated its use as fast-casual dining continued to adapt. “In the beginning of the pandemic, with its many unknowns, our ability to pivot and re-position ourselves, despite being a young business, was a great challenge. Fratellini RG successfully navigated these uncertain times by being flexible and quickly adapting. Online ordering options were added, as well as provided meal options for flight crews, first responders, and other groups (such as utility crews flown in to assist PSEG after Hurricane Henri) that were temporarily stationed at the hotel. “We also worked with an increasing number of wholesale food providers to ensure that we were fully stocked, despite the food and labor shortages that existed during the pandemic,” said Vinny.
As COVID restrictions are rolled back, the quick-service industry is well-placed for the beginning of automation. Vinny added, “We are witnessing the beginning stages of the evolution of restaurant modernization with inventions like contactless payments and ordering kiosks; however, even with automation, Fratellini RG strives to maintain its sense of “family affair” and superior customer service as we keep growing and evolving.”
Fratellini RG envisions expansion within JFK airport and the Tri-State area for their ambitious yet grounded company, with controlled growth, so it can maintain its signature type of operation.