First look: Eataly, Westfield WTC, New York

Date : 15 November 2016

We visited Eataly’s second location in New York at Westfield World Trade Center (WTC) in the heart of the city’s financial district, to see how the retailer is evolving its unique global retail concept.

Developing its North American network

This new location has opened as part of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center in New York, which also includes the landmark Freedom Tower. The Westfield WTC shopping centre features an iconic design and a broad range of non-food retailers, food-to-go outlets, and subway station, a key element which drives significant foot traffic. This is the retailer’s second location in the city, and third in North America following its Chicago opening in 2013. Eataly Boston is scheduled to open later this month, while the retailer is also developing a site in Toronto which is expected to open in 2017.


Source: IGD Research

With this new location the retailer has stuck to its successful Italian-led model which blends a broad range of restaurants, food-to-go counters and grocery market in an open concept layout. A snaking pathway through the store brings shoppers into contact with all the various elements, with signage also highlighting a more direct route if required. Four of its five restaurants are co-located at one end of the store, offering a great viewpoint of the city. These restaurants feature traditional table seating and counter seating around the prep areas, enabling a high level of interaction between its team of chefs and customers, and creating a very social environment.


Source: IGD Research

The retailer also caters for shoppers looking to eat or drink something quick, incorporating ten different elements to meet the needs of the large number of both tourists and city workers which visit the store daily. These include a Lavazza branded coffee bar, juice bar, gelato, pastry counter and pizza-to-go. A wine bar is located prominently at the front of the store.


Source: IGD Research

Within the fresh food and grocery market, the retailer’s flare for creative merchandising with abundant product displays comes to life. Counter services include meat, seafood and cheese, with the latter being one of the most impressive displays in the store, featuring both Italian and American products.


Source: IGD Research

Grocery items are also displayed distinctively, with simple fixtures and clear product information, which helps to signpost categories and inform shoppers.


Source: IGD Research

Cheese is central to one of the unique elements of this store, its ‘Mozzarella Lab’. Here shoppers can interact with its team of cheesemongers and see how a range of products are made at the store, including mozzarella which is made daily, and nodini, stracciatella and burrata which are made on other days. As in other areas of the store, Eataly also provides a significant amount of information with regards to the process and the products which are produced.


Source: IGD Research

The store also operates an active events program as part of its ‘Foodiversita’, “the free university where we encourage you to play with your food.” These include wine tastings, sessions focused on specific products or cocking techniques and Italian language classes. These are often held in the early afternoon or early evening, and beyond being key traffic drivers, they also help to generate wider awareness of the range of products which it sells.


Source: IGD Research

A source of inspiration for retailers globally

Although Eataly operates in a relatively large, but niche market, it has demonstrated that its model can be scaled globally through working with local partners in individual countries. However, the real strength of the concept is as a source of new ideas for other retailers and suppliers, sitting alongside some of the world’s great food halls and markets as a key destination to visit. Many of the ideas which are brought to life at Eataly, including format blurring, cookery schools and product and sourcing transparency are also evident in many mainstream grocery formats globally. For operators placing an increased emphasis on creating excitement in-store and providing shoppers with new reasons to visit, Eataly can be a great source of inspiration.

Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada
Based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage in North America. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across the region. Contact Stewart at [email protected] for further insight on the trends shaping the market.
Twitter: @Stewart_IGD