Students brainstorm ideas for revamping Alvari Restaurant and Café Aino
'A case competition is a great opportunity to apply and develop your own competence and create contacts with the business world,' says competition organiser and University Lecturer Christa Uusi-Rauva.
The company selected in the case competition presents a real problem from its own business activities and student teams develop solutions for that problem. Each team presents its own solution to a jury made up of company representatives and other experts, who then provide them with feedback.
A total of 41 students participated in this, the second Aalto Crossroads case competition. They came from the Schools of Business, Engineering, Science, and Electrical Engineering as well as the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The aim of the multidisciplinary competition is both to promote cooperation between students from different schools and also to learn new ways to approach problem-solving. Students could themselves form teams of three or four students or alternatively register alone and let Christa Uusi-Rauva put them into a team.
Students hope to utilise digitalisation for restaurant experiences
On the morning of the competition, the case business for this year was revealed to be Fazer. The case task was to work on revamping Fazer’s Alvari Restaurant and Café Aino, which are located in the Undergraduate Centre in Otaniemi.
The members of the winning team were Ville Lehto and Vili Väänänen from the School of Business and Harti Hänninen and Miska Kankkonen from the School of Science. The team came up with a new look for the restaurant, a take-away concept, a monthly ‘food trend day’, and better practices for using social media, collecting customer feedback and making use of the information obtained.
‘The restaurant can operate in a clockwise direction, there could be two more checkouts than at present, the serving of food should be moved away from the checkouts, and a separate coffee point could be found,’ the team said in summary of their ideas for how the customer flow in the restaurant could be made smoother and faster.
The members of the jury from Fazer Food Services were Head of Sales Mariela Nortama, Senior Manager, Digital Solutions Development Eija Andström-Saarinen, Director, Gastronomy & Food Development Marianne Nordblom and Senior manager, Concession key accounts Sari Räsänen. The jury were especially pleased with the team's idea for using the RESQ app, which can be downloaded onto a mobile phone and used to advertise the opportunity to buy leftover food. The Coffee HUB idea for a place where people can easy grab a coffee was also considered by the jury to be an excellent idea. Additionally, the jury also praised the idea of clearly branding the restaurant and café as belonging to the same Alvari family.
As a reward for their excellent ideas for a comprehensive overhaul of both the restaurant and café, Fazer representatives presented the winners with an invitation to visit the Fazer Visitor Centre, where they can learn about the business’s operations and its wide range of products and innovations.
Selecting the three finalist teams from among the 11 that participated was a jury composed of both Fazer representatives and also representatives from the School of Business. The jury members from the School of Business were Assistant Professor Olli-Pekka Kauppila, Professor and Head of the Creative Sustainability master's programme Armi Temmes, Senior University Lecturer, Organisational Communication Marja-Liisa Kuronen and University Teacher Taija Townsend from Hanken. The jury members from both Fazer and Aalto praised in general the student’s concrete proposals and presentation skills. The jury also mentioned that choosing the three finalists was not easy because the general level of the entries was very high.
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