Food & Beverage response to "customer voice"

I’d like to find solutions that meet everybody’s needs

Intended for those trave ling with children in Italy, some stores feature play areas and baby rooms called Kids Berry Gang Areas. These are recreational spaces designed in a differentiated way, with small chairs, small table games, children’s trays, placemats to color, gift crayons, videogame consoles and large-screen TVs showing cartoons.

For truck drivers, the Trucker Club project was launched, including a completely free-of-charge, basic-need service package (shower, video surveillance parking, entertainment areas with pay TV).

In partnership with Ducati and Dainese, the Bikers Club was also launched, to offer innovative and targeted services to motorcyclists, including modern parking areas and relaxation areas with specially designed spaces for stretching exercises.

The attention to differently able people has always been a priority for Autogrill in order to provide them with the most suitable service. According to this logic Autogrill has prepared a memo for its employees, describing the special needs that such customers may have.

For travelers with pets there are 16 Fido Parks, dedicated areas on Italy’s most heavily trafficked highway routes, with spaces equipped with thermally insulated cots, developed in collaboration with Amicopets and A.N.M.V.I. In summer a veterinary advisory service is set up in the Fido Parks providing assistance and useful information. In 2011 for customers who relied on the service, Royal Canin prepared a free kit including the necessary travel products and useful advice on how to travel safely with pets.

An oasis that helps you enjoy a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet

In recent years Autogrill has increasingly promoted a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. For instance, in the Pacific area, the “Boost Juice” concept, with its natural products, highlights the importance of a healthy diet with low quantities of additives, preservatives, artificial coloring, fats and calories, while in Switzerland, in collaboration with the Swiss BioSuisse association, the “Greens” concept offers natural food designed for those on low fat and low sodium diets.

Today, attention to food quality is a widely accepted value, acknowledged and confirmed in all types of diets. The selection of quality products is also extended to common food. Every year, in Italy alone, Autogrill sells 40 million brioches and over 40 million sandwiches. These products have always been at the core of the ritual stop at the Autogrill stores, and the Group has decided to focus its attention exactly on these products in collaboration with its partners, to increasingly meet customer demand for more naturally produced products and regional varieties. The brioche variety has been extended to include naturally leavened products, easier to digest and metabolize, with a natural taste and aroma. The Company has long ago introduced DOC, DOP, IGP, DOCG branded sandwiches, as well as regional varieties selected thanks also to the contribution of Autogrill people who live nearby and know the territory. The Market Area and, in particular the “La Bottegaccia” corner, is a showcase intended to bring travelers into contact with local products including:

  • 200/250 local products in assortment;
  • approximately 100 certified products (DOC, DOP, IGP, DOCG).

The Group is also engaged in the fight against obesity, an innovation driver for the product offering. In the US sandwiches and menus with smaller portions and in combination with salads have been developed and in compliance with the federal regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration, the nutritional value and calorie content of the food products on the menus are specified.

In all the countries in which the Group operates, great attention is paid to children’s dietary needs. Autogrill has designed special kids’ menus, designed to satisfy their specific nutritional needs. These menus are currently available in all restaurants: Ciao, Spizzico and Burger King. Thanks to the support of nutritionists, HMSHost has developed a Kids’ Menu in the US, further evidence of its commitment and attention to providing a balanced diet for children.

In some European countries in which the Group operates and, in particular Austria, Italy and Spain, specific menus have been developed, which take the specific needs of coeliac (gluten-intolerant) individuals into account. This scrupulous attention led to the creation of dedicated cooking areas in the stores to prevent cross-contamination.

In addition, the Group does not neglect the needs of those who, mostly for ethical reasons, do not eat meat and food products of animal origin. Autogrill has developed new recipes for vegetarians and vegans in collaboration with the Italian Association of Vegetarians. These menus are available in Ciao restaurants and snack bars identified by the association’s logo.

In addition, close attention is paid to religious differences, especially in terms of dietary laws. Autogrill has developed an ample variety of menus in the different countries in which it operates, in order to satisfy the needs of customers of different religions, for example Moslems.

A book for every trip


Since the ‘90s, Autogrill has progressively solidified its claim to the title of “on the road” bookshop for the vast area dedicated to books in the stores.

In collaboration with the main sector-specific observatories, Autogrill has acquired in-depth knowledge of its targets. Autogrill bookshops offer volumes from Italy’s leading publishers, including novels and nonfiction works, manuals and business books, as well as books for children and toddlers.

Making a comparison among the top ten bestselling books, it is interesting to note the different tastes of readers in different countries. Italian travelers prefer thrillers, biographies or books to learn English and improve one’s lifestyle. In the US, novels and humor are the preferred categories.

A completely separate category of books is that sold in Travel Retail stores: these are mainly tourism and travel guides.

 I want local quality products 

Consumption trends are similar in the US and Europe: customers look for the cultural identity of the geographical area they are visiting through the enjoyment of the typical products of a country or a city.

To promptly respond to this trend, Autogrill launched the “Grand Tour. Italian Taste in Europe” project in November 2011, an initiative developed in strict collaboration with Unioncamere and Assocamerestero with the objective of giving European customers the opportunity to experience genuine Italian quality products.

The event, recognized by the agency responsible for the events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy and under the aegis of the European Union, is intended to leverage on the value of Good Food for Europe against the spread of Italian-sounding products in a context in which international agrofood is registering sales of up to € 52bn.

For two months in 600 Autogrill stores of six European countries — France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria — various menus were proposed with recipes including the typical quality products of three Italian regions (Campania, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont), chosen as “ambassadors” of Italy’s agrofood industry. Some of the ingredients of the recipes could be purchased in the same stores, where free information material on the characteristics of the products and their territories of origin was also distributed.

In recent years Autogrill has played an important role in relation to certified and local products. The Group launched the “Super Regionality” project, through which it transformed temporary promotional activities into a continuous and structural presence of the products inside the market assortment, thanks to the introduction of more than 80 new typical products (sweets, salami and cheese, groceries, freshly cut products, etc.) in compliance with the Manual of Regional Products of the Italian Ministry for Agricultural Policies.

More than 80 new products on the market shelves of 250 Autogrill stores in Italy

Promotions to facilitate tasting and product knowledge

All the Italian regions are extensively represented thanks to the breakdown of the territory into 15 geographical areas and the contribution provided by local employees in the selection of the products. This initiative proved very successful with customers and the new products generated a sales increase of approximately € 1m in 2011.

Local agrofood products: from sporadic appearances to fixed presence in the market assortment

To underscore the importance of the Italian food industry, Autogrill signed a protocol of intent to leverage on the value of Italian local products with the Province of Piacenza and the Consorzio Piacenza Alimentare at the end of 2011. The objective was to attract tourists to Piacenza, an increasingly popular destination. The initiative is in the framework of Expo2015 and is not a temporary spot event. The Consortium will represent the operating arm of the project, with its 75 member businesses, its guaranteed local typical products and a short supply chain, while Autogrill, in turn, will set up a number of areas on the Milan- Bologna and Turin-Brescia routes with display cases featuring these products.

This collaboration is the best example of a “glocal” approach, promoting a local identity at the international level. Through this protocol Autogrill intends to confirm its engagement even more clearly, changing petrol stations on the highways into outposts of excellence.

Do you also have sustainable products in your assortment?

The Amsterdam airport, with more than 45 million passengers every year, is one of the key European hubs, featuring over 70 stores including restaurants and catering areas. Today’s passengers want to find products from fair trade circuits and the Company has promptly responded through the proposition of the new “Fair Taste Cafè” concept. Here customers can find a wide range of sustainable products, including sandwiches prepared with organic ingredients or taste Fairtrade coffee with the Max Havelaar guarantee trademark. The majority of the products available have at least one of these characteristics: fair trade, organic, local, recyclable or certified with the Rainforest Alliance trademark.

Also in the US, greater attention is being devoted to quality gourmet products. The “Ciao Gourmet Market” proposes 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 customers buy Ciao products, they can make a difference by supporting the “Endangered Species Give Back Program” to help threatened animal species.

Where are the sandwiches or the meals prepared at Autogrill?

Autogrill Group commitment to food experimentation and research has always been a priority. The Group’s experimental kitchens — in America, Italy, Spain and Switzerland — are places where our chefs can develop new recipes with a wide selection of quality products in full compliance with the principles of diet and health.

In 2011 in Italy, Fucina was inaugurated, a true research laboratory where chefs of the organization, renowned Italian cooks, assess new recipes and products to include in the commercial offering of Autogrill stores. The experimental kitchen is also a place in which new technology is tested for product preparation and distribution processes, creating new ways to maintain a product’s organoleptic characteristics while also trying to save energy. A place that exemplifies the company’s approach to innovation, which is Autogrill’s key feature.

After its inauguration on April 18, 2011, the Spazio Fucina hosted a series of meetings with highly skilled chefs, involving all corporate functions in order to disseminate the culture of traditional and ethnic cuisine and create innovation and a culture of taste inside and outside Autogrill.

The first cook invited to Spazio Fucina was David Lau. In addition to being a cook, David Lau is also a businessman and is currently collaborating in future promotional activities for the brand in Asia. Thanks to his precious contribution, specific aspects of Thai cuisine were analyzed in depth. Another important guest was Diana Beltran, one of the most renowned Mexican cooks in Italy, who provided an exhaustive overview of all the dishes of the Mexican tradition.

Spazio Fucina

I want quality coffee

Enjoying a cup of coffee in a Autogrill store has become a ritual, a habit that regulates the moments of a day, a safe place during the journey. It is a break, a special moment, an energy boost, a small reward, a comforting sip to enjoy in a warm environment. Coffee is undisputedly the most important product in the Autogrill offering and a habit that translates into the sale of 120 million cups every year in Italy.

Based on these premises and the findings emerging from the focus groups conducted in 2011, an innovationoriented project was launched specifically focusing on coffee and coffee products. In collaboration with the Institute of Coffee Tasters, Autogrill intends to refresh the taste and the aroma of its coffee blend through the dissemination of scientific methods for the sensorial measurement of coffee. A supplier assessment phase followed for comparison with customer tastes and blind tastings were carried out, also inside the stores, to select the best brand and blend.

The result of this multi-focus path centered on quality and innovation led to the launch of “Storie di Caffè” in the first months of 2012, the new coffee blend that Autogrill has developed in collaboration with Kimbo for the over 600 cafés it operates in Italy, which sell more than 120 million cups of coffee every year. The selected Kimbo blend was rated best by customers. This is a robust Arabic blend with coffee beans knowingly processed and roasted according to their origin.

Over 1,800 interviews and 2,500 tastings carried out in Italy, both blind and branded

Three key valuation parameters: taste, sight and smell

"Storie di Caffè" is launched along with a series of other products, ranging from the daily “espresso”, to the espresso prepared with a limited edition blend and the gourmet espresso, a comprehensive coffee experience, where both the sensorial components linked to the quality of coffee and the professionalism and competence of the baristas, as well as the environment in which coffee is served, are taken into account.



Approximately 900
coffee machines
Approximately 4,000
employees dedicated
to cafés
and the production/distribution of coffee products
Approximately 16,000
theoretical and practical training hours will be provided to coffee baristas

I’d like to see some design even while I am enjoying a meal

Over the years, Autogrill has developed important concepts that link the Group to the world of design: another way to respond to the current trends that profile an active customer looking for highly involving experiences, providing a wealth of sensorial suggestions. The initiatives confirm the Group’s orientation towards innovation through the design of restyled spaces where customers can enjoy a shopping experience that includes both food and design.

Design Bistrot, developed within the McArthur Glenn outlet at Castel Romano

Design Bistrot is the result of the collaboration between Autogrill and the Skitsch design brand. It includes a restaurant featuring both national and international dishes, an elegant cafeteria where customers can find a rich assortment of sandwiches, desserts and quality coffee blends. The environment is highly stylish with a dedicated display area for Skitsch branded products.

Light & Design Restaurant (Fiera Milano)

Light & Design Restaurant is a collaborative project developed with Cosmit (the company that organizes the Milan Furniture and Design Fair), offering customers a self-service solution with recipes and dishes from the top international cuisine and an Acafé snack bar with a wide selection of coffee blends, sandwiches and snacks. The special modern mood and high end design touches make this experience unique.

Sky Lounge

A strong projection into the future is the Sky Lounge format at the Central Railway Station of Milan. A new food&entertainment concept that offers travelers a catering space with services that range from a simple snack to a complete meal and relaxation with 12 Sky branded videos broadcasting programs 24 hours a day.

I’d like to be in a safe place

In Italy the stores are constantly monitored thanks to the implementation of an operative center that conducts remote video surveillance on all the stores to guarantee more security and safety, especially during night hours, both to employees and customers. The system, which is currently operating in 200 locations, is expected to be extended to the entire network, in particular on the highway, where the stores are open at night.

Autogrill is actively involved in the Italian National Observatory of Sports Events at the Italian Ministry of the Interior and it participates in the weekly meetings where, together with the several attending authorities, it plans shifts and stops along the highway network during the days in which the football matches of the Italian League take place.

For the second consecutive year, Autogrill supported the campaign to raise awareness about road safety "On the right road" promoted by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transportation. The Company made more than 300 stores along the highway available for the dissemination of the themes of the initiative to the millions of travelers that stop in the stores during the summer exodus and counter-exodus from end of July to the beginning of September.

In the moments of peak traffic and according to traffic flows, a steward and customer assistance service was set up in the mostly trafficked parking areas with the presence of dedicated personnel or paramedical control units with ambulances.

An airport with a "natural" feel

What happens when a garden springs up in an airport? HMSHost and the Chicago Department of Aviation inaugurated the world’s first aeroponic garden in O’Hare International Airport. The system is designed to raise different plants and vegetables, in specially made supports, without the use of soil, because they are sprayed with water enriched with mineral fertilizers at the roots. Lettuce, basil, oregano, beans and parsley are just a few of the plants that will be cultivated and then used in the HMSHost restaurants in the airport. Travelers can admire the garden while sitting at the tables of the O’Hare Bar and Grille.


Go to the customers requests