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When Ford unveiled the U.S. versions of the Transit Connect in Chicago earlier this year, one of the potential uses the company highlighted was as a restaurant delivery van. The small vans won't be available for sale in the U.S. until mid-2009, but one will soon be in use at Bugatti's Ristorante in Dallas, especially in owner Zee's catering business. Why this restaurant was chosen isn't exactly clear, but - following the New York Auto Show's taxi version of the Transit Connect - Ford is pushing hard to get the message across that these are work vehicles for the fuel-conscious city set. Zee's tasted the Kool-Aid, saying in a statement (available after the jump) that, "Not only will the Transit Connect help with our bottom line thanks to its fuel economy, but it will save time as we won't need to refuel as often between deliveries." The proof will be in the (delivered) pudding, come next year.



Press Release:

FORD TRANSIT CONNECT HELPS BUGATTI'S RISTORANTE DELIVER 'FIRST-CLASS DINING ON A FIRST-NAME BASIS'


DALLAS, Apr. 2, 2008 – With the new Transit Connect, Ford has dished up a fine transportation option for Bugatti Ristorante, a renowned Italian dining and catering establishment in Dallas.

A local favorite, Bugatti Ristorante serves the celebrities in Dallas, including Emmitt Smith, George Strait and the Dallas Stars. Behind the success of the restaurant is an unlikely man – Zee, a Pakistani who landed in San Francisco in the 1980s to pursue his passion for food and wine.

Trained in the best establishments of San Francisco's fine dining scene, Zee became a maitre d' and a sommelier. He eventually moved to Dallas at the turn of the decade and purchased the then struggling Bugatti Ristorante.

Zee jokes, "I'm a Pakistani who lives in Dallas, Texas, and owns an Italian restaurant!"

While the recipe for Bugatti may seem out of the ordinary, the end result is delectable. Zee prides himself in turning around the business into a profitable and respected restaurant. His attention to detail is meticulous and his passion and knowledge of food and wine are unparalleled.

One-to-one service, under the motto "first-class dining on a first-name basis," has defined Bugatti Ristorante and attracted the finest clientele in town mainly through word-of-mouth. Because many of his customers wanted to savor Bugatti's food away from the restaurant, Zee established a catering service, which now represents about 20 percent of revenue.

"We cater three to four events a week," explains Zee. "The Dallas Metroplex is vast and driving to locations has become expensive as gas prices rise. This is our number one concern. Not only will the Transit Connect help with our bottom line thanks to its fuel economy, but it will save time as we won't need to refuel as often between deliveries."

Zee also looks forward to the innovative storage system, which will make deliveries easier and help maintain the freshness and flavor of the food. That's something he believes all his customers will enjoy.

Twenty-five employees strong, Bugatti Ristorante caters to all types of events, from elegant dinners to corporate cocktail parties. Zee will also arrange special deliveries for unique occasions.

"One time, the Dallas Cowboys called me announcing that Emmitt Smith had just welcomed his son into this world. Immediately, we arranged food to be delivered to Emmitt and his family at the hospital." Smith later celebrated at Bugatti's with friends and family when he became the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 245,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

[Source: Ford]

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