Ep. 103 – The Greatest Italian Retail Experience with Dino Borri, VP of Purchasing at Eataly


Back in November, I saw posts from Dino Borri on Linkedin and all this buzz about opening Eataly’s newest location in Los Angeles. Conveniently, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to message him saying if I could interview him at the spot.

It turned out, I was able to go to Eataly, take a tour of the fantastic new LA location, interview Dino, and did such a good job, I ate the heck out of their food.

Dino was a hugely authentic guest. His voice was pure Italian and his mission to spread good food to the world made him the perfect representation of Eataly culture.

In this interview, Dino talks about the heart and soul of Eataly, how his Purchasing team finds food to put into Eataly store, and talks in great detail the care it takes to make each Eataly location special, and how Eataly will dominate the world in the next few years.

For the audio, I did this live and I took the mike too far away from me. My voice is a bit fuzzy, but Dino’s voice is perfect. If this bothers you, let me know at podcast@myfoodjobrocks.com and I’ll upload another copy.

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Key Takeaways

  • What Eataly means to Italian food
  • What makes each Eataly location unique
  • How Purchasing vets their 25,000 SKUs

Show Notes

Eataly is all about Susbtainability
What is your official job title?: VP of Purchasing, but titles dn’t matter in Eataly
What’s the best thing about your job?: We create a lot of jobs in the United States. We also support a lot of small business products

How do you find new vendors? We go out and they also go to us. We have a blind taste for all of our products. They use a simple ranking system. The food has to be Good, Clean and Fair.

The History of Eataly
SLOW Food Philosophy – a movement
Mr. Oscar Farinetti, the founder of Eataly who wants to combine Italy Food and Retail
Used to be called Eat Italy
Opened in Italy to start (duh)
Then the Tokyo Location
5 more stores in Italy
New York Location (Aug 31st 2010)
40 stores in 2017. Finally in Los Angeles
Possible next locations: Las Vegas, Toronto maybe Phoneix (haha)
Launching Eataly World in Bolongna November 15th Eataly world 65 acres of Italian food. Has FICO – Italian farmer production

Why do people like Eatlay so much?: We deliver the experience. Every location is different. When you walk, you feel like you’re in an Italian market.

Differences in Eataly
Every location is a mix of products.

What’s different in Japan’s Eataly? We use soy sauce and tofu.

Los Angeles has more Vegan and local Fish products Claifornia Wine

Flour is sold locally. We want to use local ingredients

What is your favorite food event or expo?: The town of Bra, Cheese event in Italian 30000 people. All the cheese mongers in the world for 4 days

How did you get into Eataly?: I worked for SLOW Food and my boss Carl Petrini knew the owner of Eataly
El Bulli
Dino had a dream of going to New York, and he opened the Eataly store in new York
El Bulli will create a class

Did you have any experience in purchasing or was it all there?: I had to learn it on my own
Any advice for quality products versus cheap products?: It’s easy to buy the best product, but it’s hard to afford the best product. I need to find good food for everybody. Our system makes it easier for smaller businesses to get to our market. Our job in Eataly is to deliver good food to the store.
Why does your food job rocks?: Food has become cool. In the past, food was a common person’s job. Now food is important. We have to take care of the earth
What type of Food Trends are you interested?: We want labels that say “not organic”. Also, the certification is too harsh for small businesses.
GMO Good or bad?: Bad
Gluten-Free: It depends. I love pasta and pizza but I don’t overeat. We should enjoy food.
Clean Meat: We need to eat meat. But we should eat less meat
Sustainability: Everything should be sustainable
The biggest Challenge the food industry has to face?: Food Waste. We produce food for a lot of people but a million people still go hungry. Eataly is almost 0% waste and we give food away.
What is one thing you’d like to know more about?: Other food cultures. Whenever we open a new store, I discover a new culture.
What’s a new favorite cuisine?: Whenever ask people what’s my favorite, I tell people I haven’t found my favorite yet. Whatever reminds me about my roots.
What do you recognize when you eat your home town food?: Raw meat at my home town Bra. A local cheese from Bra  mixed with tomato.
Who inspired you to get into food?: Carlo Petrini was in my hometown and he inspired me. I started working for him at 14 year old. I met people like Michael Pollan
Why did the owner like you?: I got lucky. I was born in the right place and met the right people. I was part of the University of Gastronomy. We hire a lot of people there. (is this like food science?)
Favorite Quote: We are what we eat, don’t eat sh*t
Favorite Kitchen Item: Knife. I eat raw food so I like to cut. I have knives from Japan and Brookyln
Any advice for anyone who wants to go into your industry?: When you’re in the food business, you’re feeding people. You’re in the ecosystem. Study a little bit.
Where can we find you if you want to be found?: You can go to our website and contact our buyers. We will blind taste your product.
Eataly SKU’s: 25,000 in the United States. The Los Angeles SKU has 15-18,000 SKUs.


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