A study project in preparation throughout the autumn has finally transformed from theory to practice. The skills of a group of hospitality management students received a baptism by fire when they opened three pop-up restaurants on the Aalto University campus.
The project tasked third-year students of Haaga-Helia’s hotel and restaurant management degree programme with designing and implementing a restaurant project.
“Some thirty students are participating. They have been divided into three teams, each of which has its own project manager,” says Risto Karmavuo, who is in charge of the hotel and restaurant management and food production training programme at Haaga-Helia.
The project was commissioned by Fazer and its working language is English, enabling exchange students to also take part.
At the start of August, the students began drafting their concept plans and, together with Fazer, choosing locations for the eateries. They agreed on Otaniemi, where Fazer operates several cafes and restaurants.
Once their designs had been presented and approved, the students began the implementation phase. All portions, menus, the visual appearance as well as the interior decoration with its materials and props were designed and realised by the students, who are also responsible for marketing and communications as well as the drafting of staff rotas.
“It’ll be time to take stock of the project before Christmas: we’ll look at the income statements, evaluate learning and hold feedback discussions with the lead instructors. The project is in the hands of four lecturers,” says Karmavuo.
A tiki bar, a street food kiosk and a speakeasy
These concepts can be tried in real life now, as the pop-ups have opened their doors to serve customers for two weeks at three different locations in Otaniemi.
The cafeteria Hav a Java, located on the second floor of the A Bloc shopping centre and the Aalto University metro stop, serves evening customers under the name What the Fr*sh. It’s a “tiki bar that offers fresh treats with a tropical twist”. The eatery also hosts live music and fun activities.
Dipoli is home to two pop-up restaurants.
Snäg operates on the premises of the restaurant Metso and combines a late-night fast food kiosk with fine dining: its hamburgers and hot dogs are washed down with quality wines or APA beers. Among other things, guests can look forward to handmade meat pies and fries topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The second Dipoli pop-up operates in the ground-floor bistro Tehnola, and its theme is that of a prohibition-era speakeasy. Dallapé 2018 will transport guests to the Finland of the 1920s. The restaurant offers cocktails and Nordic cuisine with a jazz score.
The shady ambience fits the theme of the joint, while the props are like something straight out of your grandparent’s house – literally. The student responsible for interior design scoured flea markets, recycling centres and her granny’s home for props. The tables, for example, are decorated with lace tablecloths, floral arrangements and brass coffee pots. There’s a gramophone on the bar and framed original sheet music from the Dallapé orchestra hangs on the walls. The orchestra graciously allowed the students to use their name for the bar.