Autogrill concept innovation

Ciao’s family-oriented and typically Italian concept is currently subject to restyling to travel overseas and become an exceptional mix in which innovation and tradition meet.

Ciao is undoubtedly an example of the extraordinary innovation of the concepts developed by the Group to respond to emerging trends. Ciao is a complete and cross-sectional reply that expresses the Group’s international approach; adapting a concept to suit the country of implementation and local consumer needs, a continuing process driven by the collaboration of the consumers themselves.

The restyling of the Ciao restaurant image proved one of the most successful projects of past years. The purpose was to make the restaurants warmer and more appealing to a young and urban target, without revolutionizing Ciao’s core concept. Autogrill achieved this through the design of a brand experience centered on the Mediterranean spirit, simplicity and empathy. The colors and materials were chosen with the idea of evoking Italian and Mediterranean natural settings: olive green, mocha brown, wood, stone and glass. From the service perspective, the restyling was centered on the families, through the proposition of multi-tray carts especially designed for groups and people with limited mobility. Specifically, Autogrill made Ciao counters more accessible to people in wheelchairs. On the product side, special sandwiches and single course meals were introduced, satisfying consumer expectations of a complete yet light meal. Asian specialties were also introduced in a specific section called “Asia”, in response to emerging diet trends.

2010, the Ciao Concept, exported to the US, developed along new lines there, morphing into “Ciao Gourmet Market”. This concept is modified and adapts to US customers, transforming the quality of Italian family cuisine into a search for gourmet products derived from organic farming, US Trans Fair certified, or designed for vegans or coeliacs, or fat-free, low in cholesterol, or, also, certified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). This approach is underscored by the claim adopted by HMSHost, the US affiliate, to launch the Ciao concept: “Commitment • Inspiration • Awareness • Open Practices”. Thanks to the “Ciao Gourmet Market”, customers are encouraged to increase their awareness of socio-environmental issues: when consumers buy Ciao products, they can make a difference by supporting the “Endangered Species Give Back Program” to help endangered animal species.


Design Bistrot and Light & Design Restaurant: two routes between catering and design in response to consumers who seek an unforgettable experience.

Over the year, Autogrill developed two important concepts that link the Group to the world of design: Design Bistrot in the McArthur Glenn outlet at Castel Romano and Light & Design Restaurant on the occasion of the Salone del Mobile 2010 (Milan Furniture Fair). The two initiatives confirm the Group’s orientation towards innovation through the design of restyled spaces where customers can have a shopping experience that includes both food and design.

These concepts allow Autogrill to respond to current trends, with consumers becoming increasingly active players and looking for highly involving experiences, rich with sensorial suggestions. Design Bistrot is the result of Autogrill’s partnership with Skitsch design brand. It includes a restaurant with both Italian national and international cuisine, an elegant cafeteria where customers can find a ample variety of sandwiches, cakes and a selection of top quality coffee blends. This is all presented in a design environment featuring a display area, where consumers can also buy Skitsch branded products.

The services offered by Design Bistrot were developed in line with the specificities of the location and for the purpose of attracting numerous customers who are travelling while shopping at the outlet. This is the reason why table service is offered during the week but is replaced by self-service on weekends, guaranteeing more flexibility during peak traffic times.

Light & Design Restaurant is, instead, a collaborative project developed with Cosmit (the company that organizes the Salone del Mobile in Milan), offering customers a selfservice with recipes and dishes from the top international cuisine and a Acafé snack bar with a wide selection of coffee blends, sandwiches and snacks. The special modern mood with top quality design touches makes this experience unique.


Together with the re-opening of the traditional Motta Caffè Bar, a new Sky Lounge format is introduced; because improving on the past means looking to the future, and the journey we started back in 1928 is still in progress.

In 2010, Autogrill decided to revisit the concept of the traditional Milanese Caffè Bar, like the one opened back in 1928 – the first step in the development of the Autogrill Group – in a contemporary key. The Motta Caffè Bar was re-opened after 15 years and the concept is that of a typical Italian bar, a formula that is expected to represent the prototype for a European expansion.
The idea is to preserve the key elements of the Motta Caffè Bar: a meeting place, an elegant space, a selection of products and attention to detail. All this in a definitely contemporary context. This is the new formula of the Motta Caffè Bar, with an image that knowingly combines traditional decor – chairs, tables, lamps, china, Motta prints, beveled mirrors – with modern materials and design elements. This new blend creates a modern atmosphere, but incorporates the traditional elements of Italian style.

The Group knowingly combined the past with the future, and in this perspective the Group considered the needs of all those consumers whose psycho-physical condition is stressed because they are travelling. For this reason the Group designed a new format, a first for Italy, at the Milan Central Railway Station, in collaboration with Sky.
The Sky Lounge, a refreshment bar located on a panorama terrace extending over a surface area of more than 500 sqm overlooking the tracks. The idea is to offer travellers a place to relax, with services ranging from snacks to complete meals, and 12 Sky branded large screen TVs, with nonstop broadcasting of entertainment, sports and news programs.

This is not the first time that Autogrill has pioneered a format in collaboration with large global information networks. In 2002, it opened a refreshment bar in collaboration with CNN (at the Atlanta airport) and did the same in 2004 in partnership with Fox News Channel (at the Dallas, Houston, Washington and Minneapolis airports). In Europe, also in 2004, the Sports & News Caffè was inaugurated at the Marseille airport in collaboration with Canal+.

These projects were made possible thanks to the Group’s international dimension, which enabled Autogrill to stipulate agreements with the world’s largest broadcasting operators.


A sustainable answer

Sustainability results and objectives

Objectives declared for 2010
Gradual expansion of the new concepts and/ or commercial offer in other countries and/or business sectors based on market needs and trends

Projects and results
Concept innovation and evolution of the commercial offer continued over 2010 thanks to the strong focus on consumer orientation and customer satisfaction research analyses.
Bistrot, Light & Design Restaurant

Target for 2011
To continue monitoring consumer needs in the different travel channels in order to develop new concepts in response to emerging trends