Jan 26, 2017

What happens when star chefs create their own products.


There is always a lot of expectation when you cross the threshold into a star-rated restaurant and a lot of "magic" when you taste its dishes. Every detail of your experience is carefully planned, from the welcome to the exit, and from the decor to the service, which conveys exclusivity, attention and extreme quality. But this often unforgettable opportunity is not always within everyone's reach.

For this reason, chefs tend to reach out to all consumers by making the culinary experience of star-rated restaurants more accessible through branded products. In fact, you can find these products more and more commonly on dedicated e-commerce websites. This is a way to spread the idea of the cuisine, the history and the quality research of the great chefs.

We have seen the products of some star-rated restaurants –including the Osteria Francescana by Massimo Bottura, the Don Alfonso 1890 by Alfonso Laccarino and the Madonnina del Pescatore by Moreno Cedroni – and have found that the purchasing experience does not always meet expectations.

The visual identity of restaurants and products is not always consistent. Even the attention to detail is sometimes not the same: a striking example is the web address wrong on Bottura products.

The visual identity of the products sometimes has little to do with the values that we associate with the restaurants, such as the liveliness and spontaneity of the Villa Manodori, or the elegant minimalism of the Osteria Francescana.

These products often come in standard packaging, with a cheap-looking finish. This means that they end up seeming lower in quality compared to conventional products. In a star-rated restaurant, even the smallest detail is skilfully designed to constantly offer the best, but looking at the gastronomic products you often do not get the same feeling.

The use of standard and non-designed graphics package may bring up extremely high quality products as products to tourist stall.

A consistent visual identity would help to communicate a clearer message, recognizable to all customers.

The experience of unpacking the products that we receive at home should live up to the promise made by the restaurants where they have originated, but even then, we have sometimes noticed a lack of care and attention: products are received inside anonymous corrugated cardboard boxes, without any protection or the slightest hint of personality. From this point of view, the gulf separating the e-commerce experience of star-rated restaurants from that of the fashion industry –to make an example where expectation is just as high– is still very wide indeed.

Pasquale Di Meglio

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