Laurea alumnus Aarni Tuomi conducting research into robotics in the restaurant industry


​-    The LaureaES camp for young entrepreneurs in Cambridge was my first step out into the world. After that I decided to do an internship in England and here I am now, says Aarni Tuomi, summing up his journey in international studies. He graduated from Laurea as a Bachelor of Hospitality Management.

Originally from Helsinki, Aarni Tuomi began his Bachelor studies in 2012 at Laurea and at the end of his studies he took part in the Cambridge Venture Camp arranged by LaureaES. After his internship he stayed in England and after graduating from Laurea in 2015 he went on to a Master’s degree course in International Hospitality and Tourism Management at Anglia Ruskin University.

-    The studies at Laurea were very practical, while studying in England was more theoretical, says Tuomi.
-    Part of the Master’s degree course was a half-year research project during which I developed an interest in research and teaching. When I graduated at the end of 2017 I decided to go on to a doctoral programme and I am now studying at the University of Surrey.

Notable award granted for research plan

As part of his PhD, Tuomi is involved in a study by the University of Surrey that looks into the future of the restaurant industry. It aims to discover how new technology such as AI and robotics is changing the nature of work in restaurants. This three-year project began in January, and at the initial survey stage, Tuomi will be getting acquainted with forerunners in robotics technology in Japan and the United States.

-    The final aim is to develop a service prototype to see how robots could be a part of the service path of a restaurant, Tuomi says.
-    The intention is not for robots to take over peoples’ jobs. Robots could do the monotonous, “worse” jobs leaving people the time and energy to focus on tasks that demand creativity and social interaction.

The project has already been recognised and in May, Aarni Tuomi was granted the notable Russell Partnership Technology award in England. The award was given for his research plan in which he makes use of his skills in service design learned at Laurea by bringing together different actors in the restaurant industry to discuss the opportunities offered by robotics.

Esteemed research institute in the field of hospitality

According to Aarni Tuomi, the University of Surrey, located southwest of London, is an esteemed higher education & research institution particularly in the field of hotel and restaurant management.

-    It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work here with the top researchers in the field, Tuomi comments.

As part of his doctoral studies, Tuomi also takes part in the activities of the university by marking students’ essays, giving lectures and holding seminars for students. Teaching has been fun, but Aarni is also interested in working as a consultant in the future.

-    Practical cooperation with companies, in addition to service design, is one of the things I learned at Laurea, Tuomi says.
-    This is why I want to work as a specialist helping companies succeed. At the moment, I work with a start-up in London. They are creating London’s first robotised restaurant.


Read more about Aarni's research and the Russell Partnership Technology award on University of Surrey website.


Modified 9/11/2018 12:47 PM

​Aarni Tuomi. Photo: Paul Stead