Satama Bar & Bistro wins the Best Lunch in Finland 2022 competition
The winner of the Best Lunch in Finland 2022 competition is Satama Bar & Bistro in Helsinki. This year, the competition was patronised by chef Harri Syrjänen and the winner was chosen by lunch diners from all over the country who voted in an open online vote. The competition ran from 1.9.-25.9.2022 and more than 57 000 votes were cast, 57 297 in total. The silver medal went to Factory Kalasatama TROOLI and the bronze medal went to Mimosan Aito in Kouvola (also the winning restaurant in 2020).
This was the first time in the four-year history of the competition that restaurants from the capital city made it into the top three, as both first and second place went to the Kalasatama area of Helsinki. The restaurants are located less than half a kilometre from each other. Third-placed Mimosan Aito from Kouvola won in 2020 and was sixth last year. The top three were therefore taken by restaurants from Uusimaa and Kymenlaakso.
Big cities rushing to the top
In a tight competition, 5 107 restaurants in 444 different locations received votes. Uusimaa was the most successful of the regions, with 21 restaurants from Uusimaa being voted among the top 50 by Finns. Helsinki was the best performing region, with 11 restaurants making the top 50 list. The next most successful cities were Kuopio and Vantaa. Both cities had 4 vote-getters.
The top ten included two restaurants from Helsinki and restaurants from Kouvola, Turku, Oulu, Salo, Iitti, Espoo, Mikkeli and Ilomantsi. The top 50 lunch spots included restaurants from 23 different cities.
The popularity of the competition shows that people have returned to healthy restaurant lunches and appreciate local restaurant options as part of their working day. Using local lunch services is important for the restaurants since it supports the continuation of the business," says Laura Kuusela, Edenred's sustainability manager.
Marketing was boosted by social media and Moomin lollipops
The winning restaurant, Satama Bar & Bistro in Helsinki, believes that differentiating itself from its competitors has brought success. The first-time entrant quickly climbed into the top three and, thanks to the final push, past its rivals into first place.
"Our cuisine is North African. The colourful and vegetarian lunch stands out from the competition. We are delighted that it was such a success on the first try. The competition was marketed through the restaurant's own social media channels, and our staff were also very active in promoting the competition to their customers," says Habi Saini, the restaurateur.
"The win is great for us. A big thank you to the chef and the whole team at Satama and to all the voters. Our slogan has been 'Together we are more'. Let's celebrate soon!", Saini continues.
In an extremely tight race, the second place holder Restaurant Factory Kalasataman TROOLI, was successful thanks to its active marketing. The restaurant, which was competing for the first time, engaged its customers on site, on its website and on social media.
"In the restaurant, the incentive was the use of Moomin lollipops and thank you notes. The lovely customers of Kalasatama smiled as we told them about the vote. And the competition was very visible in the shared social media of Restaurant Factory's locations," says Sini Halttunen, Restaurant Manager of Restaurant Factory Kalasatama TROOLI.
However, Halttunen believes that the core of success lies in the lunch itself.
"We are praised for the variety of the lunch. The salad buffet is generous, there are several hot food options and dessert is included. That is surprisingly important to many people," says Halttunen.
Restaurant Factory has 16 popular lunch restaurants in the capital region. Restaurant Factory, located in Otaniemi in Espoo, was the best ranked restaurant in Espoo. It was eighth in the competition.
Competition gave a boost to awareness
Restaurant Mimosan Aito from Kouvola won the Best Lunch in Finland competition in 2020. This year they were third. According to restaurateur Mimosa Koskipuro, the competition has a big role to play, especially in raising awareness.
"Many people know us thanks to the competition and after the 2020 win we gained a lot of new customers. The competition also had a positive impact on our employer image. It's been a pleasure to find people who are passionate about what they do," says Koskipuro.
The main objective of the Best Lunch in Finland competition is to highlight Finnish restaurant culture.
"A varied lunch offer is more important now than ever. People have returned to work and to workplace lunches. Lunch at home does not always have the nutritional value of a restaurant lunch, and now you can improve your work-life balance by taking a break and eating a good quality restaurant lunch," concludes Kuusela.
The results of the Best Lunch in Finland vote are available on the competition website, where the 50 restaurants with the most votes are listed.