I moved to the Alppila area about 1, 5 years ago and it is the furthest away from the Helsinki downtown I have lived during my residency here in the capital city. Before this apartment I used to live in Hakaniemi area which has many of the characteristics of the Kallio region but is still very near to the centre. Because of the busy location, there are many restaurants in Hakaniemi. It is pretty amusing though to notice how quickly the chances to find a quality restaurant change to slim the further you depart from the downtown. Here in Alppila there really are not any quality restaurants. There are some cosy places and some trendy places, but nothing of a high standard. This makes me quite angry, as the prices are still very high (excluding some of the ethnic restaurants which keep their prices attractively low, but so is the quality of the food as well, unfortunately.)
As I started my studies this year in Haaga, I started to travel a route to the campus which took me trough the "office district" of Vallila, an area I was not familiar with before. I saw many restaurants which I had never heard of and the more I took that same route day to day, I understood those were lunch restaurants which offered their services mainly for the business people at the area. I was intrigued if there could be some hidden gems amongst these restaurants and started to investigate their websites and also the customer comments on the website www.eat.fi. Unfortunately I was left quite disappointed. I only found one restaurant which had gotten quite many thanks for their nice salads, but on the other hand, people had hated their sushi. Rest of the comments were quite average. Of course I have to be quite critical when reading these types of customer feedbacks and the best thing to do would be to visit the restaurants myself. I also know that many people use their lunch voucher which they received from their employee (in Finnish it is called Lounasseteli), for their meal and therefore are not too fussy about the quality, but this does not justify the fact that the standards are too low.
I have worked in the restaurant business nearly for a decade and the one thing that kept me motivated was to see how customers enjoyed their meal and the atmosphere. The combined experience of taste, the visual things, the fragrances, the atmosphere and the service is what makes it so different to eat out compared to eating at home. I actually believe that the restaurant business as a whole is going to be shaken to the core as more and more of the people get interested in cooking (more than ever before) and thanks to globalism they can buy any ingredient from their local supermarket. I have heard too many times lately from my friends that they have eaten a steak (=expensive) at a restaurant and felt that they could have cooked the meat better at home. That is not acceptable. With my business idea the standards of at least one little area would get higher.
The business idea would be to bring a good quality, mid-price restaurant to the Vallila area. The problem is that if the customers need to have a bit more formal meal or to invite a customer to a restaurant, there is no place for them to go except the city centre. For lunch it is not very practical to travel far away from the office. This new restaurant would offer Scandinavian treats with a modern twist. There would be a menu with starters, mains and desserts. The menu would change weekly or there would be the day’s specials on offer. There would be at least a few good local beers available but no wine. Seasonal and local raw materials would be preferred in the food production.
The price of the main dishes would vary between 11 € and 21 €. It might be a bit too expensive for some of the customers to eat daily but there would be also some less expensive salad and soup available to keep the customer flow even. The customers would come from...