We want to offer our guests the best possible culinary experience in Ranua
On many consecutive days, Spanish travellers came to dine at the restaurant of Hotel Ilveslinna located in Ranua. The sudden rush occurred during the busiest period of the early Christmas season. From a restaurant owner’s point of view, the easiest option would be to hand out the same menu for every guest. But cutting corners is not an option for restaurant entrepreneurs Esa and Heidi Tarkiainen.
“When a customer comes to dine and pays for their food, we believe they should get more than just a great meal. We customise menus for every individual and serve them from start to finish”, says Esa Tarkiainen, who has been working in the culinary business for 30 years.
Basically, such a promise means, for example, that all food is locally prepared and produced using as many local ingredients as possible sourced from farms that work with Hotel Ilveslinna. The age-old question about ready-made sauces is debunked straight away; all sauces are prepared from scratch.
“Eggs, honey and reindeer meat are also produced locally. We are currently negotiating with local organic farms, with the aim to use more locally sourced organic vegetables”, Esa adds.
The best culinary experience in Ranua
Eight months have passed since the Tarkiainen family took their leap of faith and responsibility for running Hotel Ilveslinna’s restaurant, which is also known as Bar & Restaurant Ilveslinna. The move was especially courageous due to two reasons: firstly, the couple’s previous entrepreneurship concentrated on areas where the business was steady and there were no big fluctuations in sales. However, business in Hotel Ilveslinna is denoted by tourist seasons.
“We have noticed that there may be a couple days with only a handful of guests, followed by days with a massive rush of people. The first step is getting to know the customers’ needs”, says Heidi Tarkiainen.
The second courageous move is that the Ranua municipality is commonly known among tourists for its zoo only. Many might think that entrepreneurship in such a municipality is simply not possible. Esa and Heidi thought otherwise.
“We love challenges. We’ve also received feedback from the local people asking if we could extend our business for the locals as well. Often a hotel is seen as such a fancy place that you can’t show up for lunch in work attire. Everyone is welcome here, tells Esa.
The couple knows that it takes around a year for a new business to settle in. They believe that by April next year, opening hours and services will be perfectly optimised according to actual demand. They will also learn to adapt to the different seasonal fluctuations. As of now, their business also offers catering services and a dinner service hire, giving customers a helping hand for large and small events.
“It would be ideal to receive dining reservations well in advance. This would enable us to have the right number of skilled restaurant staff on duty and sufficient time for planning menus. This would be beneficial for us and our customers, as we want to give them the best possible culinary experience in Ranua”, Esa summarises.
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Translation: Peter Culley