29 Jun, Wednesday
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Proakatemian esseepankki

Opening a restaurant

Kirjoittanut: Gustav Perttilä - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.

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 What do I know about running restaurants and on what information are my tips based on?


I do not have yet any experience of my own, but I believe that seeking the information from people who have done it, is already half as good, and that I have done. In this essay I will share knowledge about running a restaurant business, which I’ve gained throughout my 2 years of studies in Proakatemia.



What is your reason to open a restaurant? It is a dream, but for why?


This type of question can be a good one to answer, before going and opening a restaurant. Knowing the motives and having a clear vision is crucial to create something that resonates with people. It comes down to whether the target customer feels that their needs are taken care off by this service.


When opening a restaurant, one should concentrate on the feeling they want to create to the customer. That is what brings them back, with friends even. It’s most often wise to create only few specific desired feelings. One could be the target audience’s common vibe, if they are young, create something cool and in style.

Another special tip regarding this niche is, if a company does not have any young people working for them, they are already falling behind the present moment. Different perspective><different age groups. Lighting and decorating plays a huge role in the feeling a person gets from the restaurant, they don’t only impact the persons feelings but as well their behavior, to buy more or not to buy. If the restaurant screams quality, the customers will likely purchase more, because what they are feeling is an experience.



Here’s a few tips on how to increase profits daily in a restaurant:


  1. Having a booking for certain amount of time so people would want to spend more money while they are there. Not just lounging around throughout the whole evening reserving the tables from other customers.


  1. Actively selling table to table. This kind of a behavior is not common in Finland because of our culture, where Finnish people tend to be a bit more private and not wanting to be disturbed. It’s a very fine line where it becomes crossed, so the waitress or the owner must be delegated about it.


  1. Selling cocktail snacks. The special & magic ingredient in cocktail snacks is salt. That is what creates the sense of thirstiness (because salt absorbs water), and in tandem, the hunger hormons start to work. Even when just seeing the snacks, a person will start to excrete saliva. Restaurant owners could make it a policy to even serve drinks/little snacks to people who are in line/waiting to get in.


*To create or find a snack that could be served to the table for free. The costs of the served item would have to be as low as possible to maximize profit margins.


Special tip for restaurants that offer alcohol: make distribution contract with Hartwall, Sinersbycoff or some other distillery for them to be the main product sold at your restaurant. Of course it’s up to your negotiation skills but it’s very common that they will give ”branding” money for this deal. Restaurant owner can also ask for fridges or whatever items they would have to spare. Business owners have a leverage that can be utilized, when there’s a place where people go to, and the customers see companies’ products.


What are the most important things in a restaurant as a restaurant/Bar owner?


  1. Service – This is placed as the first one for a very good reason. Quality service’s importance is something which cannot be underestimated. It’s the very root core of why someone would want to become an entrepreneur in human-centered business, to provide service to others.


  1. Atmosphere – Music is vital when talking about the facilities athmosphere but there’s so much more of what comes to play. There’s factors like lightning, decoration, the main customer segment present, details in the cutlery and so on.



  1. Quality of the food and drinks – If the restaurants marketing is putting emphasis on the food and drinks and the pricess are a bit higher, they better match the hype. If not, the restaurants credibility plummets. This is because it was based on the presumption of them being great on these specific matters.


  1. Marketing – Even if the facilities would be operating in the city center, there’s no guarantee of customers finding their way. The restaurant is new to the market, and no one knows about it. It could be as well that the nearby area of the restaurant is not that heavily used, which means that people wont even stumble across to the venue by accident.



  1. Employee wellbeing – Good customer service starts off by this. Customers can always sense when the employees are enjoying their work or not. As well it it’s confirmed by employee wellbeing studies, that taking care of your workers will increase the work performance of the employee, health is elevated, and happiness increases, which will show to the customers.


  1. Being very specific with the selection of the goods – Food waste is a real problem in the restaurant business section. It can cause a real burden financially, which is why there needs to be a limited menu of goods.



  1. Good Team – These are the people who will save the day when the sh*t hits the fan. Reliable people are hard to find, and when one shows up, they should be appreciated and taken care off.


*remark – Liquor license (anniskelulupa) whether or not it passes during the first try, it costs 600€, and to maintain the license, it costs few hundred euros per year.


How can you make the customers remember you?


  1. Suprising the customers positively
  2. Special type of marketing / creating the brand
  3. Possibly a maskot
  4. Special something – even small thing that’s different and new



”Vitun hyvä kahvi”, by Johannes Mansikka-aho: couple teespoons worth of butter and a bit of  sugar mixed with black coffee.



Tampere City’s local restaurants and Cafeterias turnover 2021:


This part will showcase unanimously the real turnovers and learnings of some businesses located in the Tampere city center area in 2021.


Restaurant y: May-August turnover was 140k and profit margin from this was approximately 30-35%. It costed 20K to open the business, but his price included only the most mandatory things.


Restaurant x: 140k turnover from only the summer period, and profit made from this was 40k.


Restaurant z: Turnover 100k and profit landed around the 35-40K mark.


Cafeteria y: Turnover was 50-55K from a 2month period during the summer.


Restaurant q: Turnover was 60-65K, and profit from this was unfortunately only 15-20%.


Cafeteria ö: Turnover from a period of 2months was approximately 30k.


The highest sales made from only one single day has been: 1500€, 800€, 5K, 2,5K, 4K-8K. The highest profits are made from alcohol sales, they bring most of the renevue.


What were the highest expenses with these example restaurants and cafeterias: employee expenses are the highest, and as a close second is the ingredient costs.


What was the biggest mistake, misfortune, or learning from the summer:


  1. Power shortages,
  2. Hardware problems as in payment terminals
  3. Birds
  4. Vandalism and robberies
  5. Shortage of stock and food loss.


What would you do differently next year?


The entrepreneurs said that they would hire more staff and they would start the recruitment process more sooner. They would specify the products to be more in according with the clientels needs, more focus on marketing and branding, recruiting amazing employees and would host more events near the business premises which would automatically bring more traffic.


Last tips:  Wolt and Foodora can be major recourses and saviors for rainy days. Keep coming up with innovative products and remember to collaborate with nearby businessowners and other direct competitors.



Special thanks to Johannes Mansikka-Aho, I gained a lot of firsthand practical wisdom from your night of pajas training session. The first part of this essay is based on the learning of Johanne’s Restaurant paja and the other part has been constructed based on Proakatemias 2021 Autum projektori.




Cemazar, S., 2020. Employee Wellbeing in the Workplace: Importance and Future Predictions. [online] Semos Cloud. Available at: <https://semoscloud.com/blog/employee-wellbeing/> [Accessed 1 June 2020].


Mansikka-Aho, J., 2022. Restaurant business.


In: Projektori. 2021. .


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