Restaurant Mesikämmen Taikametsä & Co.

intro

Our task was to create a new business idea for the Hotel Mesikämmen's restaurant in Ähtäri. We started the project with the idea of creating something, that highlights the already existing premises and their strenghts with the hint of something fresh and new, that could attract new customer groups in.

In this project Jonna became the project manager and created customer personas and a path for the new business idea. The roles were divided according to the strenghts and interests of the people. Matteo took care of the marketing plan, Alexandra created a staff plan for the restaurant and Noora was in charge of the food and beverage ideation. Janina was taking the responsability of the visual side and the video presentation, with Matteo's help. All in all, the team was trying to be effective and help each other during the project, which made the entire process rather fast and easy.

project plan

Our business idea is to combine Finnish nature with the 100-year celebration of independence. The reason behind this project is to create a brand new image that represents the national culture and inheritage. Because hotel Mesikämmen is in a remote natural environment, we strongly believe that our theme will fit the business idea. This will give our visitors an immersive experience in a civilized natural environment.

Because changing the whole appearance of the restaurant wouldn't be cost effective and realistic, we want to refresh the image by upgrading the premises. The ambiance of the restaurant is created by the birch tree interior and the nature sounds given by an audio system.

Interior design example

Food & Beverage plan

As Ähtäri is located in the midst of gorgeous nature, surrounded by all the beauty and greatness the nature has to offer, makes it the ideal location for a restaurant with a theme honouring and appreciating nature in all its glory. When thinking about Mesikämmen the Restaurant words such as “purity” (puhtaus), simplicity (yksinkertaisuus), happiness (onnellisuus) and quirkiness (positiivisesti epätyypillinen/omalaatuinen) should come to people’s minds.

The theme of the restaurant stems from the nature, building itself on the pure, nutrient-dense ingredients the Finnish forests and farms provide with great pride and sisu. Hard work and making the best out of scarce resources has always been something to be proud of as a Finn and that passion and creativity should also be seen on the plate and heard through the bubbly conversations between staff members at Restaurant Mesikämmen.

The food itself should be based on seasonality and the harvest seasons as that’s when the nature is at its best, offering ingredients in their prime condition. We are talking about quality, taste and nutrient dense superb ingredients that’ll naturally transform into delicious, healthy and picturesque dishes for the customer to savour and fall in love with.

The dishes represent traditional flavours the Finns love, but as an exciting twist they are paired up and combined with unexpected flavours or cooking methods to shake things up a bit and surprise the customer. After dining at Restaurant Mesikämmen the customers should feel nostalgic, proud of the Finnish nature and culture, and most importantly hopefully having learnt something new about what is considered “Finnish food".

Dish examples (source: Ravintola Hella & Huone)

Service path

For the service path we decided to choose a young Finnish couple. We wanted to be able to attract new customer groups in to Ähtäri. The words purity, simplicity, happiness and quirkiness used in our food and beverage plan create a trendy atmosphere in the restaurant. These aspects can attract young adults who are curious to explore the nature and enjoy fresh ingredients to our restaurant.

Customer Persona

Anna and Tomi are going to Ähtäri for the first time. They are biology students from Jyväskylä looking for a relaxing get away in the nature. Anna likes photography and is hoping to take some great nature pictures. Tomi is wishing for a break from the stressful exam period. Anna is a vegetarian and Tomi is allergic to gluten, so they both follow special diets. The couple is hoping to enjoy stress free quality time together without spending too much money.

Wants & Needs

  • Special diet options
  • Fast service
  • Moderate prices
  • A lot of pictures
  • Stress-free quality time

Pain points

  • Diet restrictions (vegetarian & gluten free)
  • Limited budget
  • Travelling hours in train -> tiredness
  • Stress from the university and exams
Customer path

After the trip:

  • The highlights of the trip were excellent service, great food and good views. The couple is normally preparing very simple meals at home, and the restaurant experience gave them new ideas.
  • Tomi told his dad about the great gluten free options and great views from the restaurant, and now his parents are considering a trip to Ähtäri. Anna posted pictures in Instagram and Facebook, and wrote a positive review in Tripadvisor.

Staff plan

Staff engagement is an important side of any business that requires fair amount of time to work on and certain investments to do. However, this effort will definitely pay back, since your employees are a cornerstone of the business and keeping them motivated is in your best interest.

In a place like Hotel Mesikämmen it may be as well quite challenging to recruit young and active employees, due to the remote location of the property and lack of any employee benefits. Therefore, we would like to suggest a 8 steps approach, which will help you to find passionate employees and form motivated and knowledgeable team.

1. Visibility

We couldn't find any information on Hotel Mesikämmen web page about open job applications. Make sure to inform people that you are looking for new team members. In addition, try to include your current staff in the content on social media platforms, so that future applicant can feel the working environment of the hotel. Try to cooperate with the authorities of Ähtäri and inform local schools about possibilities for summer jobs and internships.

2. Internship programs

There is a huge amount of hospitality students every year searching for a work placement opportunity. Establish an intern position in your team for various open positions and send an open job application to the hospitality schools. Internship is a great chance for companies to recognise potential in young professionals and recruit them in the future. Moreover, most of the work placement programs in Finland are unpaid, so it is a chance for the Hotel Mesikämmen to cut down their labor costs.

However, you should be prepared to the fact, that remote location and a little bit outdated style of the Hotel Mesikämmen may not be very appealing to the young applicants. We would suggest to ensure your future interns with some benefits, for instant such as accommodation and work lunch, at least this is what many hotels do while hosting interns. Moreover, if you promote an internship at Hotel Mesikämmen as an exclusive opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in an unusual and challenging environment, people will be more interested to apply.

3. Possibility of growth

Any job applicant is searching for an opportunity of a career growth even while applying for a basic position, such as waiters. Promote an image of Hotel Mesikämmen being a great place to gain your first experience and get yourself familiar with the hospitality industry. Try to create possibilities for already recruited staff to show their determination and enthusiasm by completing more challenging tasks or coming up with innovative solutions. This way you will be able to spot the potential candidates for higher opening positions. Moreover, promoting your own staff is a reasonable step, since these people already know all the operations and details of work.

4. Goal orientation and clear task

Share your company goals and values with your team, make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what kind of experience Hotel Mesikämmen is aiming to provide for its customers. Employees should have a vision of what are they expected to achieve. As an example, motivate them by putting certain mile stones, such as certain amount of sales or customers served. Try to create a healthy challenging atmosphere, where staff it motivated to provide better and better service every day.

Make sure your team knows what are their own responsibilities, as well as tasks of the other team members. Giving out clear tasks and assignments will reduce the amount of frustration and help to build a structure. Knowing their own responsibilities and duties will make your staff more efficient.

5. Benefits

As it was said before, Hotel Mesikämmen may not seem as a dream job place due to its location and seasonality. However, work benefits may be a tipping point for some of the people when applying for a job. Try including a few employee benefits in the contracts and see, how the attitude will change. Health care, recreation, free time activities, discounts and offers may not be the biggest investments you’ll have to make, however it will definitely benefit the spirit and quality of work of your team.

6. Healthy working environment

There is always a place for stress and conflicts at any work place, no matter how satisfied your employees may seem to you. That is why it important to have constant feedback sessions with your team to find out in time if there are any issues. Try to be open for conversations and discussion both one on one and with an entire crew. Your should know that heir issues and concerned are being taken care of. Any conflicts inside your team will affect the work load and service, what will definitely have an impact on your customers.

In addition, we strongly believe it is important to keep the positive spirit in the team to make work an enjoyable place to come and spend time at. Consider putting some effort towards team building activities which will help to bring your team members closer and create a feeling of family.

7. Recognize potential

As an employer, it is important to understand, how important is to recognize people strengths and help them to open up their potential. Try to see what every staff member is best at and find a suitable position for them. Even a person who came to a company as a waiter could turn out to be naturally good at sales. Give your team a chance to show their creativity and share their thoughts with you and you may be pleasantly surprised, now many talented people are working for you.

A great way to recognize hidden potential is task rotation. Occasionally let employees change roles, for instant if one of the staff members is interested in kitchen practice, send her or him to do a couple of shifts at the kitchen. In addition, change of activity is a great way to realize stress and reload.

8. Recognition and reward

Recognize the effort and success of your staff and show them that you care. In the end of the day, they are the people who keep your customers happy and create the image for your business. Occasionally reward your team and give them valuable feedback, whether they have done an excellent job or if there is still room for improvements. This will let them know, that their effort is valued and give them extra motivation to work harder.

MarketinG

Swot Analysis

  • Strenghts: Natural environment, entertaining for many target groups, related to Finnish culture, high potentiality (possibility to improve)
  • Opportunities: Market developments, foreign tourists & travellers, new staff, F&B developments
  • Weaknesses: seasonality, location, transportation, F&B services, online engagement
  • Threads: competitors, weather, transportation, online engagement

Description briefly

  • Name: Mesikämmen Hotel Restaurant.
  • Sector: Restaurant Business (Hospitality).
  • Location: Ähtäri.
  • Years in business: 40 years.
  • Typical client: Families (mostly from Finland), tourists.
  • Main marketing activities: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Web page
  • Main marketing objectives: Gaining visibility also in winter time. Attract potential staff.
  • Biggest challenge: Seasonality, other restaurants nearby.

Social Media Marketing Plan

Facebook

Just like for the rest of the F&B services, a social media marketing plan is at the utmost importance for the restaurant in Hotelli Mesikämmen. Organic (free) content throughout different platforms should be created. These platforms include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Mesikämmen is present on Facebook with an official page that includes the hotel service and the restaurant service. However, it’s highly recommended to have 2 different pages so that it’s easier to market the restaurant separately and increase awareness among visitors. In addition, it’s a lot better to create a separate content for restaurants without mixing it with content related to the hotel. Overall score of Facebook page is 61/100, which means there is space for improvements.

Except for the above-listed recommendations, the Facebook page should pay greater attention to likes growth (1.83% in the last month), PTAT (26) and engagement rate (1.11%). Engagement rate, especially, plays a key role on all social media platforms. To reach success on Facebook, every company should have an engagement rate higher than 7%. Engagement rate is calculated by dividing PTAT (people talking about this) by the total number of likes.

Other tools that needs a change are posts per day (0.36), posts type (91.7% are only pictures), length of posts (too short) and curiosity which is related to engagement. This means that staff should engage more by making questions. By making questions, you encourage people to make questions as well.

Instagram

Instagram presents the same issues as Facebook. The restaurants doesn’t have a separate profile (It’s again called Hotelli Mesikämmen) despite the fact that most of the pictures are related to food. Once again, engagement is poor and we can see it through the number of followers (345), posts (111) and especially followed profiles (only 6). Posts are not as visual as they could be and they are mainly ads and brochures. In relation to this, most of the posts don’t contain any comment from followers. In a few cases, followers posted questions and never received an answer.

Another important key factor that is missing is storytelling, which is one of the most powerful assets on Instagram. Thus, it’s recommended to post not just pictures of dishes, but also pictures of the staff and what is going on in the premises. Storytelling is one of the most efficient ways to attract customers and make them feel as part of something deeper than a “plain” restaurant service.

Screenshot of hotel Mesikämmen's posts (Instagram 2017)

YouTube

Hotelli Mesikämmen is present on YouTube but has only 1 video posted that shows ads for 54 seconds and have no background music. This is translated into 0 subscribers on their channel.

The restaurant should have a separate channel where they continue their storytelling plan and make catching videos with their dishes or the staff (e.g. the headchef or restaurant manager). In this perspective, “how to” videos can be posted as well, to involve customers in the restaurant processes.

Videos should containt interesting headlines that make viewers click on the video. One good example is to include titles such as “5 different ways to cook salmon”. Generally speaking, people are attracted to numbers or lists, which is the reason why such a title would work for many people and not just on YouTube.

Once videos are created, they can be used on Facebook and Twitter as well creating a good variety of content that differs from pictures or text. Videos shouldn’t be too long and can be in fast motion as well.

Twitter

Twitter is perhaps, the least important among the above-mentioned social media platforms. This is because Twitter is knowing a slight recession among medium and big companies. However, it’s still a valuable tool to support other social media activities such as news posts and event or gift-card based advertising.

Mesikämmen is not present on Twitter, therefore, in this case it would be a good idea to create a profile for both hotel and restaurant side. Tweets should be posted almost on everyday basis and include informations about menus, events or interesting news.

Also in this case, tweets can be linked to the Facebook page or website. Headlines should be catching and bring curiosity among viewers (as in the headline example for YouTube). Finally, each tweet should have hashtags and mentions to e.g. Ähtäri Zoo and Hotelli Mesikämmen.

Paid Social Media Campaign

The first step is to identify a target group, what is the product exactly and what the restaurant wants to offer. Only after this, we can think of ROI (return on investement) and how to deliver a strong ad/message in different platforms, which will also include Google AdWords.

The screenshot below is an example of a ROI calculation that the restaurant in Mesikämmen can use for its Google Ads. Conversation rate shows the percentage of visitors who buy and average sale shows revenue per conversion.

The restaurant in Mesikämmen can create a campaign for e.g. young adults (from 20 to 39 years old). Ads can be created to promote a special dish for a certain period (time-limited offer).

A landing page should be present on a PPC ad and should be used to facilitate the booking for a visitor. For that reason, it can’t have too many elements. The Ad will also contain a call to action, e.g. “Book a Time and Enjoy The Taste of Nature!”.

Facebook would help to promote offers which can be seasonal or based on events/holidays such as Christmas or Easter. Facebook ads will contain a headline with restaurant’s name and a call to action (e.g. “Finland’s 100 years Menu – Dine with us now!”).

Under the headline there should be a link to the landing page and a brief description of the offer. The graphic should be suitable for desktop newsfeed, mobile news feed and desktop right column.

Target group could be narrowed down to young adults from 20 to 40 years old who live in Finland (a range in km or miles can be insert on Facebook ads). This segment speaks mainly Finnish, likes nature and restaurant experience.

One of the assets of Facebook ads is that it automatically estimates a daily reach that includes also people on Instagram. This is crucial because from one single dashboard you can deliver the same message to 2 different social media platforms.

Finally, the estimated daily budget for a Facebook campaign can be 5€ at the beginning. Spending too much money is not the best option if you are not familiar with Facebook ads. After some practice, different campaigns can be started to attract different segments. Also, when creating an Instagram campaign, the daily budget can be the same (5€), which equals to 35€ per week.

On YouTube video ads can be edited to catch people’s attention already during the first 5 seconds (which are the most critical seconds because that’s when people normally click on “skip ad”). A YouTube campaign can be created with the same budget of 5€ which will increase video views by approximately 0-100 views per day while costs per view can be 0.04€.

The headline of the video applies the “listing rule” mentioned before (“5 different ways to cook salmon”). The video should be dynamic, starts with mesikämmen’s logo. The last seconds of the videos would include a call to action.

The target group can be wider and e.g. include people from 25 to 44 years old, located in Finland with no gender distinction. Video ads can be created to attract foodies, tourists and family-focused people.

On Twitter, Hotelli Mesikämmen can start with one campaign to get website clicks or conversions. Finally, ads should include a URL to the main webpage. The initial budget for a Twitter campaign could be of 20€. Just like the previous cases, a limited budget is very important at the beginning as it’s hard to tell what is working best for the restaurant

Last but not least, it’s highly recommended to apply remarketing. Remarketing (also called re-targeting) would give a second opportunity to attract those viewers that were initially not converted. In other words, potential customers that visit the website and leave without making any action.

Remarketing is an essential tool of reconnection/re-engagement for restaurants because it works as a reminder for those that are still unsure whether they want to purchase a product.

A good plan is to create a remarketing ad for the restaurant on Facebook so that users will learn again about its time-limited offers and finally become customers. The content of a remarketing ad can be, e.g. a gift card.

Credits:

Created with images by Sharandra - "Rough Wood 3" • Mr B's Photography - "Creeping Light" • congerdesign - "blueberries berries fruit" • congerdesign - "mushrooms brown mushrooms cook eat food close"

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