Oct 10, 2016


Written by Avantgarde
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Founded by Oscar Farinetti in 2004, Eataly is today, the largest Italian marketplace in the world comprising a magnificent combination of speciality restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail market and a learning centre for food enthusiasts.  

Eataly, a name that is derivate of the combination of EAT and ITALY, was first coined and registered in 2000 by Celestino Ciocca, a brand strategy consultant who later sold it to Farinetti.  

Farinetti envisioned a store that would celebrate Italy’s rich food culture by distributing high quality agricultural products at affordable prices while at the same time communicating faces, production methods and experiences to give consumers a deeper insight into Italian food and people responsible for its production. Following the principles of Slow Food, a movement founded by Carlo Petrini, an Italian journalist and activist in 1989, Eataly’s business model focuses on ‘good, clean and fair’ production of produce meanwhile providing fair wage to the people producing the product. 

The first Eataly store opened in 2007 in Turin, Italy and since then has changed the face of food retail industry through a successful retail concept that incorporates experience, learning and retail under the same rooftop. Today, Eataly enjoys 24 independent stores across Italy (13), Japan (2), United States (4), Sao Paulo (1), Monaco (1), Dubai (1), Istanbul (1), Seoul (1) and is expanding quickly with plans for further global expansion to some of the world’s biggest cities including London, Hong Kong, Paris and Mexico by 2018.

Every Eataly store retails fresh produce sourced from hundreds of native Italian vendors or from local suppliers whereas some are made fresh daily in-house. Each item is supplemented by informational cards detailing each item’s origin and suggested use. Eataly stores also host demonstrations, tastings and events introducing Italian producers and food manufacturers and teach customers how to plan, execute and serve a meal.

Often described as a theme park for foodies, Eataly has successfully put forward an innovative way to retail products through complete consumer interaction. Over the years, Eataly has been able to sign important partnerships with several Italian restaurant chains around the globe thereby providing suppliers an opportunity to scale globally.

In 2015, Forbes named Eataly as one of the 25 most “disruptive” brands in the world and was the only Italian company to feature on the list.

The key aspect of Eataly’s business model that successfully distinguishes it from other high-end food retailers is its concentration on Italian food, culture, authentic flavours and native products. Another factor that contributes to Eataly’s success is its ability to adapt to the local needs of new markets while at the same time holding tight to its roots and principles.

Internationally, Eataly has collaborated with important partners that provide quick entry into the market and better access to consumers. For instance, Eataly’s partnership with businessmen Alex and Adam Saper and Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group (B&BHG), headed by Lidia Bastianich (Italian-born American celebrity chef, television host, author, and restaurateur.), her son Joe Bastianich (American restaurateur, winemaker, author, and television personality) and Mario Batali (American chef, writer, and restaurateur) for its expansion into the USA market in 2010, proved to be a strategic success and has emerged as one of New York’s busiest shopping destinations and tourist attractions, welcoming around 8,000 to 13,000 visitors each day. Another strategic partnership significant to Eataly’s fast achieved success is that with Coop (a cooperative of consumers’ cooperatives operating the largest supermarket chain in Italy that still own 40% of Eataly) as it allowed Eataly to quickly scale business by signing partnerships with several high quality suppliers thereby providing customers a great food experience.

Eataly does not use traditional media to market itself, instead strategic store location, use of social networks, partnerships with acclaimed industry leaders, uniqueness of its retail concept, great dining options, quality products, participation in international Exhibitions and strategic in-store posters are some ways in which Eataly promotes itself.

A business model like Eataly’s that provides a win-win situation for all parties involved while also offering customers an amazing dining, learning and retail experience is sure to make it a front runner in the food retail industry in the coming years.

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