Learning from the industry experts

As part of our Culinary Experiences course, I had the privilege of listening to two guest lectures by two experts in the field. Janne Larisuo, Hotel Manager of Yyteri Hotel & Spa, shared with us the journey of revitalizing Yyteri Hotel to what it is today with his combination of insight and great experience in the face of various challenges.

Moreover, coffee expert Jani Wahlman took coffee to an unknown dimension by leading an enchanting exploration. I offer my heartfelt thanks to both Janne and Jani for nurturing us with knowledge!

A journey with Janne Larisuo

Yyteri Hotel & Spa, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, is situated in a quiet natural setting on a stunning beach in the Satakunta region of Finland, approximately 18 kilometres from the city of Pori.

A new chapter in 2017 was opened by Janne Larisuo, who unfolded the story of the revival of the Yyteri Hotel in his lecture given to us in January 2024.

Yyteri Spa Hotel

Janne said the arduous journey of ongoing reforms was delayed by the unexpected shadow casted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Under Janne’s stewardship, the hotel has expanded to a total of hundred fifteen rooms by adding two new suites with modern facilities. It appears that this is a tourist’s paradise during summer. I listened with interest as he presented the progress of his business. ”My goal is to increase the revenue and to increase the number of rooms,” Janne stated.

Obviously, we all know that places like Lapland and Helsinki are considered top tourist destinations in Finland. However, Janne described the profile of customers visiting his hotel as follows: ”Yyteri Beach is one of Finland’s most attractive beaches, but it’s remarkable that more than ninety percent of our potential guests are from within a three-hour drive.”

In addition, Yyteri’s consumer segments were presented and accordingly there were four main consumer segments. Clients span a wide range from business clients, couples, subsidized vacationers, and loving families.

Restaurant services at the Yyteri resort

Janne revealed that Yyteri’s main source of income lies in its culinary talent. ”Food and beverages contribute fifty percent to annual revenue, making it the base of our revenue stream” he stressed. Yyteri has two restaurants within the Yyteri Hotel, a beach restaurant called Helmi during the summer, and many facilities including a gym, spa, and sauna. Accordingly, it is clear that Yyteri has reached an important milestone in the tourism industry, while celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024.

Being aware of the target groups in restaurant operations helps in the success of the business. By understanding the different levels of customers, their preferences, and the services they expect to receive, they are able to provide superior service. Every aspect of the dining experience must be aligned with the expectations of target customers, such as tailoring menus to suit different demographics, setting up the restaurant premises, and making necessary purchases. Because it not only increases the income and profit compared to the operating cost of the restaurant, but also reduces unnecessary waste and runs a sustainable business. Ultimately, being aware of target groups can increase customer satisfaction, foster loyalty, develop long-term relationships, and provide memorable services to customers.

Discovering the world of coffee with an expert

Reflecting on Jani Wahlman’s fascinating lecture on coffee, I began to note down thoughts about it. I feel like I am drowning in an ocean of coffee with the rich aromas and delicious flavours that truly exist in coffee.

Although I am not much of a coffee lover, Jani’s presentation was a great opportunity to add to the book my knowledge of the art and facts of making the perfect and quality cup of coffee. It is a great opportunity to explore the facts about coffee while experiencing the world’s largest coffee-drinking country. Join me on a coffee quest!

While making the perfect cup of coffee requires the right proportions of coffee powder, the amount of water and the cleanliness of the equipment, everything contributes to the final flavour profile. Jani’s extensive knowledge and experience with coffee lead to a proper understanding of this process.

Among the world’s most popular coffees, Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee stands out among quality brands. I never knew there was such a wide range of coffees. However, I was surprised when Jani explained it. His presentation made me realize that the world of coffee is truly diverse and rich in complexity. There are over 50 varieties, including Arabica and Robusta as the original varieties, and many sub-varieties such as Gesha, Typica and Bourbon. There is a curiosity to know what the flavours of all these are.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. Picture: https://www.beaches.com/blog/jamaica-travel-tips-dos-donts/

The methods of making coffee are also very complex. Sometimes I think it is not as easy as drinking tea. Pouring methods have gone beyond traditional methods to French press, modern machine brewing methods. Meanwhile, coffee lovers can enjoy an ocean of different flavours and aromas. Not only sweet, bitter, salty, sour flavours, but also fruity, spicy, floral, nutty, and chocolate-like aromas provide a wonderful experience.

However, amidst all the praise for coffee, it must be remembered about its consequences. Jani explained it by adding an experience he had. ”One day I drank a lot of coffee all at once to test myself. I felt my heartbeat faster” he said. Since coffee is a highly caffeinated beverage, those seeking a good night’s sleep would like to fondly remember that they should not drink coffee close to bedtime.

Broadening my mindset on coffee

Jani Wahlman’s guest lecture significantly changed my vague picture of coffee. I really do not like coffee very much. But now I have an interest in trying different flavours of coffee. I gained some insight into the factors that go into making a good cup of coffee. Jani’s exploration of the diverse range of coffee producing countries expanded my knowledge of the global reach and impact of coffee cultivation. Also, introducing the different flavours and aromas of coffee broadened my enjoyment. I did not know that caffeinated beverages can make the heart beat faster and I also learned how to maintain good health while consuming beverages like coffee.

In conclusion, encounters with guest speakers like Janne Larisuo and Jani Wahlman as real-world experts not only foster industry-specific knowledge but also lead to curiosity for a deeper study of the hospitality and culinary industries by sharing their experiences. By sharing their expertise, these guest lectures bridge the knowledge gap between theoretical and practical in our learning journey.

Text: Dona Sameera Welivita, first year International Tourism Management student