- Eataly will open its sixth U.S. location in Las Vegas on Dec. 27 at the new Park MGM resort. The 40,000- square-foot restaurant and shopping emporium will have food counters, bars, restaurants, cafes and live culinary demonstrations.
- The Cucina del Mercato, or "Kitchen of the Market," venue will have six fresh counters where guests can eat, shop and learn about cuisine. The venues will include a butcher, cheesemonger, fishmonger, street food station, handcrafted pizza counter and a fresh pasta maker.
- Eataly Las Vegas will also showcase a robust bar program with three bars focusing on Italian coffee, apertifs and wine.
The new Eataly is being positioned as an experience, not just a marketplace, with interactive shopping and dining experiences, as well as a focus on education. The team behind the endeavor designed this concept with the goal of having people spend several hours — learning, eating and shopping — experiencing Italian cooking traditions at the various markets and during live demos. And in true Vegas fashion, the store will be open 24 hours a day.
Eataly has been successful balancing food service and retail in their existing stores. The proximity of restaurants to shops that carry items on their menus creates an opportunity to showcase foods and ingredients that customers can take home. Their staff creates a culture of creativity and collaboration across departments. That's no easy feat. Speaking at Groceryshop, Ennio Perone, vice president of business strategy and marketing with Eataly, said the day-to-day process of balancing product quality, customer service and food preparation can be, in his words, "crazy."
It may be crazy to manage, but the model makes sense for today's shoppers and can help other retailers drive sales of prepared foods. Research by NPD has found that U.S. consumers are increasingly eating and preparing their meals at home. These consumers aren't dining out as often, they are looking to food establishments as a shortcut for their home cooking. The report found that a growing number of in-home meals are a blend of prepared dishes and items purchased ready-to-eat from a foodservice establishment.
To help concepts like Eataly work, there has to be synergy between employees on both sides of the business. When a customer enjoys a specialty item in a restaurant, their server can also suggest they stop in the store after dinner to bring part of the dining experience home with them. The educational culture that Eataly cultivates helps foster these interactions. The same philosophy could be applied to the in-store experience. Educating staff on diverse items, providing unique recipes, creating interesting prepared items and interactive in-store demonstrations all encourage home cooks to buy new products and come back for new ideas.
Grocers would do well to help customers make in-home meal prep easier by providing meal inspiration in addition to products. Stores that make the process from meal planning to purchasing as seamless as possible could help deliver more sales by consumers who are hungry for creative ideas that make meal prep easy.