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Restaurant Day turns the logic of retail successfully on its head

Retail is not only economic exchange, but also an important part of social interaction.
restaurantday2011_tuomas_sarparanta_en.jpg

Restaurant day in Helsinki 2011. Photo: Tuomas Sarparanta

Researchers from the Aalto University School of Business and from Stockholm Business School examined the logic of retail when it does not focus on the distribution of goods and striving for profit. Restaurant Day, a Finnish phenomenon, provided an excellent opportunity to do this.

The study revealed that economic exchange is deeply rooted in the western way of thinking and, in addition to striving for profit, these models of thinking can also be used for many other purposes. On Restaurant Day, they become instruments of the community spirit and self-expression.

‘It is very interesting that it is the logic of retail that is used in self-expression and creation of the community spirit,’ says Antti Sihvonen, researcher at the Aalto University School of Business.

At the same time, the researchers noticed that the carnevalesque atmosphere on Restaurant Day plays a central role as regards perceiving and experiencing new possibilities. Momentarily, it helps people see urban spaces, the community spirit and exchange in new ways. Consequently, as an event, Restaurant Day is a kind of optimistic and positive protest, whose influence can nowadays clearly be seen in the streets of Helsinki.

‘In the Finnish daily life, Restaurant Day is a good example of communal creativity and collective willingness to create a change that challenges normal practices in a positive spirit,’ states Joel Hietanen, researcher at Stockholm Business School at Stockholm University.

The study was published recently in the esteemed marketing research publication Journal of Retailing and it is based on three years of  intensive participatory research.

Link to the article

Antti Sihvonen, Sammy Toyoki, John Schouten and Pekka Mattila from Aalto University participated in the study. Joel Hietanen from Stockholm University was also involved in the project.

Further information
Antti Sihvonen, Researcher
Aalto University School of Business
tel. +358 40 353 8350
[email protected]

Joel Hietanen, Researcher
Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University
tel. +46 72-318 38 70
[email protected]

 

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