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Service design provides solutions for sharing Ravintolakolmio’s employees’ ideas

Laurea’s students developed methods for strengthening the innovative atmosphere.

Students Suvi Salokari, Melanie Zoon, Miia Hartikainen and Jukka Kivari.

Ravintolakolmio group, which comprises approximately 20 restaurants, ordered a student project from Laurea this autumn. During the Service Design study unit, student teams were commissioned to come up with ideas for creating an innovative atmosphere at Ravintolakolmio. Ravintolakolmio is one of Laurea’s key partners.

Students from various degree programmes participated in the multidisciplinary English study unit, which was held at the Leppävaara campus. Some of the exchange students who are studying at Laurea this autumn participated as well. The study unit culminated at the end of November as the students presented the service concepts they had developed for Ravintolakolmio’s representatives.

Marketing Manager Tommi Lalu from Ravintolakolmio and Restaurant Manager Tuulia Lepistö from restaurant Paasi describe how in the commission, they wanted the students to examine the current state of the innovative working atmosphere as well as to come up with the methods to increase it:

-    The student teams worked hard on the project. Each team’s suggestions had good aspects and ideas which we can implement in the everyday work at Ravintolakolmio, they said.

Service design helps in understanding the customer’s point of view

After presenting the ideas, Lepistö and Lalu from Ravintolakolmio awarded the service concept with the most potential. The winning idea was praised especially for the fact that it was a ready-made solution that could be implemented immediately throughout the entire Ravintolakolmio group.

The team behind the winning idea included Business Management students Miia Hartikainen and Jukka Kivari, Hospitality Management student Suvi Salokari as well as exchange student Melanie Zoon from the Netherlands.

Their idea included a scoreboard for mobile devices in the form of an innovation game called “Leaderboard”. With the help of the game, ideas created by Ravintolakolmio’s restaurants could be made visible and employees could be encouraged to participate in an idea competition between the restaurants.

-    According to the students, the biggest challenge and, simultaneously, the biggest lesson of the project relates to understanding the customer’s point of view.
-    In service design, it’s important to visualise what the end user — i.e. a Ravintolakolmio employee in this project — needs. You cannot come up with the challenge yourself, you must ask the customers.

The project also provided important service design-related insights for another student team, which included Teemu Härkönen, Teemu Pirkkalainen and Joonas Porrassalmi, students of safety, security and risk management, as well as German exchange student Hendrik Turner:

-    The most important lesson on service design was how important it is to track the process. You should not rush to come up with solutions before you have carefully defined the problem, they emphasise.

Students carried out mystery shopping in a parallel project

During the autumn, Ravintolakolmio also partnered with Laurea in another project. In that project, five student teams from Laurea carried out mystery shopping in restaurant Casa Mare. The customer understanding and experience they gained were analysed and used to create a sales script for the service staff. It was tested to see how it impacted the restaurant’s sales.

The results were positive. With the help of the project, restaurant Casa Mare managed to create additional sales and create a new, more customer-oriented operating method, which also impacted the customer experience in a positive way.

For further information, please contact:

Senior Lecturer Veera Lassila (veera.lassila@laurea.fi), senior Lecturer Päivi Harmoinen, (paivi.harmoinen@laurea.fi) and senior lecturer Kati Tawast (kati.tawast@laurea.fi)