Whether you’ve visited Eataly stores in other cities before or not, Eataly London is well worth a visit. Here are some of our top reasons to do so:
1. A case study to learn from in retail-foodservice fusion
Interestingly the entrance to this store is all about the impactful Illy caffè bar, gelato and food-to-go. As covid restrictions are eased, more seating may feature here – it already feeds directly onto one of the outdoor terraced seating areas. Access to the main store is through La Via del Dolce (The sweet spot), a market style corridor, made up of an array of Italian sweet confections. Much of the main downstairs area is then dedicated primarily to foodservice, with the central bar, as well as pizza and pasta counters. Yet the pasta counter serves both food-for-now and take home needs, embodying the thinking that enables key components of the store to serve multiple missions.
Upstairs the focus is on retail, with an array of almost exclusively Italian food sat alongside a restaurant (closed for now) and a wine section that is truly standout. But the key principle here is that, across the store, the concept uses the blurring between retail and foodservice to its advantage – indeed globally it has been at the forefront of developments here.
2. Creating an experience, first and foremost
Features like La Via del Dolce combine effectively with an impressive broader design to give a very differentiated look and feel. There is a clear focus on making the most of each feature. And to our minds, this is a best in class example of combining store branding with uniqueness around individual counters, not least as the product plays a huge role itself in driving this differentiation. Again, another best in class aspect is the creation of an environment that encourages dwell. And, from May 20, we’ve no doubt that the array of restaurants, caffès and bars on site will do just that.
3. Celebration of the products and how they’re made
Eataly celebrates Italian food at almost every opportunity, from the mozzarella making as a core feature of the food hall through to a wine section that celebrates the different Italian regions and their indigenous grapes.
There’s also a focus on informative signage across the store that highlights specific products, or producers, and the stories behind them. Whether retailer, supplier, food-to-go operator or restauranteur, there’s something for everyone to take from how Eataly delivers this in an accessible way, but one that very much encourages the peeling back of the layers to learn more. There’s even a cookery school on site to support this learning journey.
4. Counters that provide plenty of visual theatre and opportunity to trade up
The charcuterie and meat counters do a fantastic job with this, with for example the hanging cured meats above the counter drawing the customer in. There’s also a focus on offering grab & go versions of key lines (for example pre-cut salamis). This, combined with attentive and helpful staff across the store, gives the impression of credibility and authority, encouraging customer buy-in to the concept as a whole, and helping to justify price points.
5. If Disney did food markets, they would probably look a lot like this
The broader reinvention of traditional markets is a really exciting part of the broader landscape right now. We’re seeing some brilliant developments of purer food hall style propositions, but the Eataly incarnation, currently working well across many global cities, is another iteration. From an inspiration perspective, we’ve just scratched the surface in this article (subscribers can look forward to receiving a Learnings from Eataly report very soon). It’s a must see destination for anyone focused on selling added value food & beverages.
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