Fighting food counterfeit branding: how Italian roots enhance an Italian restaurant abroad


Walking through New York, as in many cities of the world, there is nothing simpler than finding a sign at every corner to show you the location of an Italian restaurant. A symbol for the communities of Italians abroad but also an ‘Italian representative point’, they are like our ‘ambassadors’.

The cuisine of the beautiful country of Italy continues to be one of the main symbols of good food and the guarantee of the acquisition of new customers. The mantra, “Eat, Pray and Love” says what people think of Italians abroad.

This trend, however, over the years has clashed with the reality of counterfeit branded food – those with the Italian name but sourced far from the area of origin: everyone wants to enter this large world market.

How to fight counterfeit branded food?

The businesses in the food sector have therefore had to study and promote new strategies to enhance their products and increase the level of customer satisfaction, giving customers more than gastronomic experiences.

The actions taken in this direction have been expressed primarily in two ways. The first approach is more institutional – such as Chamber of Commerce, while the second is linked more to marketing of territories, which has proven to be more effective over time as it has been able to provide multiple means of legitimization through promotion of products definitely from the named territory thus creating greater customer loyalty.

Thus, we find on one side Unioncamere that has created the label “Italian Hospitality, Italian Restaurants in the world” assigned only to those activities considered as such. Vastness of the territory and dynamism of the markets make it difficult, however, to keep track of all the food varieties. For this reason, most Italian restaurateurs have understood the need to take collateral actions by experimenting with innovative marketing partnerships.

The Discoverplaces.travel tourist guides represent one of these partnership solutions, as they strengthen the restaurant’s relationship with the towns and areas of origin.

Through the technique of Storytelling the guides explain the territory in which the proposed dishes were born, placing them and reinforcing their identity. They link the restaurant to a certain area and legitimize it in an original, emotional way and without a doubt.

The combination between territories of origin for some dishes and emotive storytelling about the territories is the key to entertain the customer by wrapping him in stories of the dish that go beyond the description and allow establishment of special relationships.

By delivering the guide to the guests of the restaurant who decided to taste a certain dish typical of their origins offers them a means to know the stories, told in the section “Local Food and Wine”. But also, it brings to life the real Italy that so intrigues because much of it is still unknown. It allows clients to participate in centuries-old stories able to transmit emotions and offer more than just a wonderful gastronomic experience.

Furthermore, the presence of the activities of the restaurant in the guide, with the logo and its own story in the new country that welcomed them, favors the beginning of a network of contacts that interests both the restauranteur and the food producer.

Restaurateurs will have the opportunity to be better appreciated. Producers the possibility to be known. Customers the pleasure to discover unknown Italy.

This combination also gives an ethical value to the action as it reopens awareness of product sectors, often atrophied, promoting the competitiveness of both local products and restauranteurs who use these quality products.

The collectible nature of the guides, the strong supportive activity on the web, as well as the presence of a related article on the page of the town of origin, amplify the visibility at the international level.

The effectiveness of certain marketing actions does not come as much from the formal character with which they are invested, as for the ability to ensure continuity, coverage and effectiveness over time.

Creating friendly relationships with the customer is the key to success for every restauranteur who knows that reputation is built on quality and loyalty with continuous good feelings.