23 October, 2018

Chef Davide Oldani and Ristorante D’O

Harvard Business School Case 613-080

This case examines the unique business model of Ristorante D’O, a high-end gourmand restaurant located near Milan, Italy. Founded by Chef Davide Oldani, D’O offers meals at approximately one-third the price of other Michelin starred restaurants. Oldani has made this business model profitable by making a conscious set of operating strategy choices (menu, meal design, service process, lay-out, reservation process) that reduce waste and inefficiency, while preserving quality. The case enables students to understand how cost-quality trade-offs can be altered through creative operating strategies, and sufficient data are available to analyze the operating model in depth. A second focal point of the case concerns Oldani’s choices for growth. The wait list for D’O is currently 18 months. He can presumably open another D’O at a different location. At the time of the case, however, he is considering opening a new restaurant in the same vicinity as D’O that would operate at an even lower price point. Case debate can center around whether this new restaurant format makes sense from a strategic point of view, and, in particular, whether the capabilities and know-how acquired in operating D’O are applicable to the new restaurant. The deeper issue in the case concerns how businesses based on the creative talent of an individual (like Chef Oldani) can grow, without losing what makes them special.