Oscar Farinetti is the founder of Eataly, the first market in the world totally dedicated to a complete food experience that ranges from tasting to buying great quality food. The first Eataly opened in January 2007 in Torino, 11.000 mq spread over 3 floors, complete with 8 specialized restaurants, a coffee shop, a pastry shop, a gelateria, classrooms for cooking lessons and tastings, a wine bar, aging cellars for salumi and cheese, a beer degustation bar and the Carpano Museum.
Eataly was thought up on a whim, a utopian idea, fast becoming one of the biggest multipurpose wine and food centers in the world. Eataly Roma is even bigger: 18.000 mq. In its first year Eataly Torino made over 30 million euros, with two and a half million visitors. 200 advertisements were published in various newspapers and print sources. This success is the direct result of innovation and creativity, used to overcome one of the biggest challenges in food today: teaching people that to eat well should not be a luxury.
How did you get into the Culinary industry?
I was born in Alba, in the area of Langhe, where passion for high-quality food and wine is very much ingrained into our culture. After the Unieuro experience, I decided to venture out in this world more, and started thinking about the project that later became Eataly.
Tell us about Eataly. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for company?
I've been inspired during my travels around the world by visiting the most traditional markets, especially those of Istanbul, London (Borough Market) and Barcelona (La Boqueria).
My idea is to export the best Italian food and wine products all over the world.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Eataly's success?
Eataly's success is linked to our philosophy, because people can eat, shop and learn, three activities that don't coexist anywhere else. Moreover, our informal style of communication shows how direct and approachable we are, just the way people like.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
In the last few years, the public attention has been focusing on raw materials. We always work hard to guarantee the high quality of our raw materials and the products we offer.
Never, never, never give up.
Your greatest success as Founder of Eataly? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
The biggest success is seeing my kids passionate about this work and seeing them become even better than me. There are difficult times daily and sincerely believe that without difficulty does not become large.
Your advice to an aspiring restaurateur?
I can't give advice. Being a restaurateur is a really hard job. In order to do that, a big passion and good attitude, combined with numbers, of course, are required.
Describe the ideal experience at Eataly.
A family entering our store, to shop for high quality food, while learning something about the products they are buying by reading our signs, and enjoying a good, authentic Napolitean pizza.
How important are architecture/design to the success of Eataly?
They're both very relevant, but even more important is to create stores with a distinctive mood, in which people desire to come and stay for a long time.
Most popular dishes/drinks and your favorites?
Hand made potato Gnocchi with tomato sauce, accompanied by a glass of Barolo wine.
How do you motivate your employees?
I face them with big challenges, explaining to them that they will be able to succeed.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Nothing, because food monotony would kill anyone.
What literature is on your bed stand?
The latest book of Alessandro Baricco, La sposa giovane.
Role model - business and personal?
Favorite travel destination?
Travelling means always visit new destinations.
What's next for Eataly?
The Green Pea, a project focused on green and sustainability.
The selection of products available at Eataly includes artisan products ordered directly from the supplier, shortening the supply chain. This is a conscious decision that was made to offer high quality and hard to find products at affordable prices. As of 2008, Oscar Farinetti has left the role of Managing Director, becoming Chairman, till the first months of 2015.
In the meantime Eataly has opened new stores in Milano Cinque Giornate (2007), Japan (9 stores from 2008), Bologna with Librerie.coop (2008), Pinerolo (To) (2009), New York (2010), Monticello d’Alba (2010), Genova (2011), another one in Torino (2011), Roma (2012), Bari (July 2013), Dubai (November 2013), Istanbul, Chicago and Firenze (December 2013), in Milano at Smeraldo Theater and in San Babila (March 2014), in Piacenza (September 2014) and in Forlì (February 2015).
Through its wide variety of products and sustainable prices, Eataly represents innovation in the world of food and wine. Oscar has become a leading figure in the business world for the development of successful and innovative projects.
Oscar's energy and vivacity for his work are innate. Between 1978 and 2003 he transformed the family business into UniEuro, one of the biggest competitors on the Italian appliance market. The famous UniEuro slogan “Optimism is the spice of life” sums up Oscar's approach perfectly. In July 2008, he became the Managing Director of Fontanafredda, wine producer. Oscar attended the University of Turin, studying Economics and Business, leaving to immediately start a career in the family business.