What is Eatertainment? Get Inspired to Try This Trend

Mix one part eating, one part entertainment and one part social sharing. What do you get? One of Dawn’s 2020 global bakery trends: #Eatertainment.

“Eatertainment is really all about the experience,” says Jenny LaPaugh, Senior Director, Regional & Artisanal Channel Marketing at Dawn Foods. “People are looking for more than just food when they go out somewhere. They’re looking to have an experience which is a little bit of entertainment. And afterward, they want to be able to share it socially.”

Cooking demonstrations, playful pairings menus, customized food made at the table in front of you, pop-up dining events and speakeasies, entertaining experiences that incorporate food are extremely trendy, LaPaugh says.

To capitalize on this growing trend and incorporate it in your bakery, focus on these three actionable areas: in-store experience, products, and workshops and events.

In-Store Experience

One way to jump on the #Eatertainment trend is to create a space where customers want to engage. Walk into your bakery as if you were a customer visiting for the first time and take a look around. Do you feel part of the experience?

At Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden in Austin, Texas, the team has intentionally made the bakery visible to customers in its two free-standing locations, says David Norman, head dough puncher. The original location includes a glass wall as you enter with a view of the shaping table up front and the ovens in the background, and the second location features large windows behind the bar offering the same view. 

“Our overall restaurant is designed to be an immersive experience,” says Matt Russell, programming director at Easy Tiger, which also has a location inside a Whole Foods. “You can sit and enjoy a craft lager and pretzel while watching bakers pull fresh bread out of our deck ovens. It’s important that guests feel connected with the bakery, so we have created an environment to observe the artisans perform their craft.”

To immerse customers in your experience, create a space where they can take a fun photo to share on social media, such as an area where they watch your team at work, pose in front of a unique sign or frame your bakery products in front of interesting decor, LaPaugh says.


International Balloon Fiesta and Star Wars donuts from Rebel Donut

Rebel Donut creates “Star Wars” donuts for May the 4th Be With You day and hot air balloon-shaped donuts in honor of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.


Another way to embrace the #Eatertainment trend is through inventive products. 

At Rebel Donut’s two locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, pop culture and community events, along with customer requests, inspire the festive donut creations that take center stage in store and on social media. 

Margot Cravens, owner of Rebel Donut, works off both yearly and monthly calendars to keep up with the goings-on and her unique donuts. Her creations include hot air balloon-shaped donuts in honor of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, “Star Wars” donuts featuring stormtroopers and Chewbacca for May the 4th Be With You day, and “Harry Potter”-themed donuts for his birthday in July.

Her advice for creating an immersive, socially shareable experience with products? “Use inspiration from what’s going on in your local community,” Cravens says. “That gets people to support local businesses. Listen to your customers: What are they requesting? What are they looking for? What’s different that other people aren’t doing?”

For example, when the local zoo opened a penguin exhibit, the Rebel Donut team created a penguin donut to celebrate. 

Seeking out partnerships with other local businesses also can help boost your eatertainment factor. Consider working with a brewery for a pairing list or a coffee shop for a product infused with a seasonal roast. Use a community events calendar to plan products that will draw in-store and social engagement with your products. 

Oktoberfest at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden hosts an annual Oktoberfest.

Workshops and Events

If you’re looking for a way to create eatertainment for customers outside of their typical experience at your store, consider workshops or events where customers can interact with your products. 

Easy Tiger hosts pretzel-making, bread-making and seasonal cookie workshops, as well as its annual Oktoberfest for customers to participate in. 

“Have a clear idea, and do not try to overcomplicate the experience,” Norman says. “A class that focuses on one signature product—like pretzels in our case—gives people a good taste of what we do without overwhelming them. 

“Don’t be afraid of giving away secrets or teaching people to bake their own bread. For many people, it is eye opening to see how much work goes into the products you make, and they appreciate them even more.”

Be sure to charge the right amount to make workshops and events worth your effort, and also take care to create a memorable vibe—that the occasion isn’t something you do every day, LaPaugh says. 

From an in-store experience to engaging products to immersive workshops and events, participating in the #Eatertainment trend is achievable for a bakery of any size.


Photos: Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden; Rebel Donut