What if Apple Opened a Restaurant?

New York City’s Eataly is food heaven, especially for an Italian like me. Partly owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Eataly is an enormous marketplace that includes seven restaurants and every Italian food imaginable.

On a trip to New York I sat down with partner Nicola Farinetti and asked him to describe the vision behind his family’s food empire. If you didn’t know Farinetti was running an Italian food emporium you’d think he was working for the Apple Store. He talked about the importance of messaging. He proudly described the importance of offering an uncluttered experience, despite serving hundreds of visitors a day. He talked openly about spending $250,000 a year on training employees in customer service skills. And Farinetti revealed why cooking classes called “La Scuola,” enhance a consumer’s appreciation just as One-to-One training classes in the Apple Store enhances a customer’s appreciation of Apple products. Regardless of whether you’re running a tech company or a food company, the more your customers understand the product, the more likely they are to remain loyal customers and that’s why education is so important.

The signage is also carefully considered at Eataly. Just as in the Apple Store, Eataly signs are simple black letters on a white background. There are signs at every product station designed to teach the customer something they didn’t know. The signs describe everything from where the best Italian honeys are sourced (southern Italy) to where the art of Italian coffee roasting began (Piedmont). Farinetti’s family has learned that customers are looking for more than food products; they are seeking an experience. The more they know the more likely they are to enjoy the product. Read More

Posted on July 31, 2012 and filed under Restaurant Marketing.