An international ambassador of the high quality-focused ‘Made in Italy’ brand, Eatlay is bringing exceptional Italian food and beverages and educational experiences about their origins to an expanding number of locations around the world. Its founder Oscar Farinetti explains why demand is high for Italian cuisine and where Eataly’s high-end marketplace concept is headed next.
What would you say is the legacy of Expo 2015?
Expo 2015 has a strong legacy. It demonstrated that Italy is capable of successfully delivering its huge potential. To achieve that, the private and public sectors need to work together, with the main aim being to double our exports through a simple, common narrative, as well as doubling the number of foreign tourists visiting Italy by creating appropriate infrastructure. Our hospitality skills also need improving.
What is the personal meaning you give to Made in Italy? And what is the contribution of Eataly to Made in Italy worldwide?
Made in Italy is powerful because of our country’s ability to create extraordinary products. Simple tools are needed to make them readily identifiable and raise awareness of the power of our unique biodiversity. I believe the work Eataly has consistently carried out can serve as an example to other private Italian concerns, as well as the institutions.
How would you describe the genesis of Eataly and the main milestones that marked its global growth?
Eataly was set up with two main objectives: the first was to tell the rest of the world about Italian biodiversity in both the agro-food and the food and wine sectors. The second was to provide reasons for Italians to be proud, to make them want to stop complaining and start working on the beauty of our country. New Eataly openings both in Italy and abroad (33 sales outlets so far) have shown, step-by-step, that these goals can be achieved.
What makes Italian products and the Mediterranean diet unique?
What makes Italian products unique is our country’s particular geoclimatic situation. It is the only peninsula that runs from north to south along a perfect latitude, encapsulated within a “good” sea. The sea breezes combine with the equally benevolent winds from our mountains and hills to create a microclimate like no other. We are the most biodiverse country in the world, and we have known how to express this biodiversity in our food and wine too. All of this in just 0.2% of the planet’s land surface. It’s only natural for the world to look at us with a certain degree of attention... and envy.
Can you please give us a snapshot of Eataly’s global presence?
Today Eataly is present in Europe, the United States, Brazil, the Middle East, Turkey, Korea and Japan. As well as growing our presence in these markets, over the next few months and years we will be opening new Eataly stores in Russia, Asia and Australia. We will strive to get across the phenomenon of Italian food and wine more and more, and better and better.
What is the role of the US market for Eataly?
Eataly has two domestic markets: Europe and the States. In the US we already have two Eataly stores in NY and one in Chicago. In October 2016 we are opening in Boston, in March 2017 in Los Angeles, and between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 in Las Vegas. But we are looking at many other locations in the States. We make no secret of the fact that it is the most interesting market for us in terms of sales volumes, profit, customer loyalty and the opportunity to successfully tell the impressive stories of Italian products.
What is your personal viewpoint about the future of Italy and what can be done to align the perception of the country abroad with the image of Italy’s excellences?
Italy has a wonderful future because the hardest part is still to do. There is a dichotomy between the country’s marvelous products and the desire/ability of its people to champion and sell them in the world. As soon as we have ironed out this contrast, we will once more deserve to be the coolest nation on Earth. I have no doubt we will get there.