3 F&B Lessons Meeting Planners Can Learn From Eataly

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Eataly, meetings
Baskets of fresh pomodori tomatoes at Eataly

Being Italian and a New Yorker, now Boston–based, imagine my excitement upon learning that the NYC food institution Eataly recently opened an outpost in the Prudential Center in Boston’s Back Bay.

Following are 3 lessons meeting planners can take from Chef Mario Batali’s diverse and delicious foodie concept, Eataly.

Make it immersive

Eataly’s Mozzarella Lab offers tours of its mozzarella production, up close, from start to finish. During the 30-minute experience, experts demonstrate how to make the cheese from curds and boiling salted water and, at the end, participants get to try a sample fresh from the pot. Group F&B experiences can be immersive as well, whether that means bringing in an farmer to discuss about how he or she grows organic produce or a chef from a BBQ restaurant to share tips on smoking meat.

Choose only the best ingredients

Eataly’s beef commands the prices it does ($180 for 2 Piemontese porterhouses, 2 Prime Black Angus filet mignons and 2 Prime Black Angus rib eye steaks) because it’s so fresh, coming directly from a third-generation meat wholesaler in New Jersey. The truffles ($330 for 4 oz. of black winter truffles) are sourced from the most esteemed truffle distributor in the world, Urbani Tartufi. Today’s meeting attendee, just like the Eataly customer, is increasingly sophisticated and has the same high expectations.

Promote your best sellers

Eataly has created a collection of its most popular products for its online store, everything from olive oil to mandarin soda. Rely on the chef to tell you what is most popular for different types of groups and events. This will at least create an F&B roadmap to navigate from.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.