Pupu - Have a tasty bite of the green revolution of food!
Pupu (eng. Bunny) is Finland‘s first healthy fast casual restaurant chain where the business is based on food megatrends. The expansion has been rapid and the first four restaurants have been extremely well received.
Our vision is to build a restaurant chain supported by the current food megatrends
- Adding more vegetables to everyday diets
- General health awareness and personal well-being
- Environmental issues and reducing meat consumption
We believe that the environmental concern for the future is linked to eating habits. The green revolution of food is already happening in the media. This means emphasizing healthy and clean choices in eating. It also means more demanding customers who prefer a plant-oriented food and want it fast - without compromising the quality.
Food with purpose
We decided that healthy plant-based food no longer needs to be a depressing compromise – in order to hit mainstream it has to satisfy the needs of a demanding customer with the same qualities as full-service restaurant food: delicacy, artistry and enjoyment. Our gastronomic salads were born – delicious and energizing food that will leave a smile on your face.
The first Pupu was launched in downtown Helsinki only about a year ago. The concept was an immediate hit and the success shows no signs of slowing down. The newest restaurant at Citycenter mall (also downtown Helsinki) was launched mid-December and the previous daily sales records were broken right away.
Based on our first year of operation: there is a serious demand for easily available, delicious and healthy plant-focused food.
During the first operating year, we opened four new restaurants in the downtown Helsinki:
- Kamppi (Annankatu 21)
- Center (Mannerheimintie 4)
- Kallio (Hämeentie 36)
- Shopping Center Citycenter (Kaivokatu 8)
Our efficiency is based on the central kitchen, which serves all the needs of our restaurants. We also produce salads for our digital sales channels (Wolt, Foodora and Posti) via that.
Vår affärs- och marknadssituation
The future of food is green
A growing number of people all over the world are adjusting their diets to include more vegetables – in Britain one in three people is planning to increase the portion of vegetables (Mintel 2017) and in the US more than half of the people are planning to add more vegetables to their diets while reducing meat consumption (Mintel 2018). In Finland, the number of vegetarians and those who favor plant-based options is growing steadily. “Green dining” is here to stay.
The popularity of plant-based food is due to a number of factors: green vegetables are proven to be healthy (Neurology 2017). Following a plant-based diet is also known to improve mental well-being and helps to maintain a steady energy level during the day. In addition, plant-based diet is more environmentally-friendly and is increasingly seen as an ethically positive choice (PNAS 2016).
Green dining is clearly a megatrend especially in Europe and North America where the phenomenon has been widely adopted. The trend is highlighted among urban population and in the preferences of young and educated individuals. However, things are not black and white; the role of vegetables is becoming more important irrespective of the socio-economic segment.
We position Pupu in the fast casual segment which is outgrowing other food service segments. Fast casual means high-quality restaurant food that is available as quickly and easily as fast food. The recent annual growth of fast casual in the US has averaged 10 to 11 percent. In the meanwhile fast food has grown around 5 to 6 percent annually while the traditional casual dining segment has struggled to reach an annual growth of 1 to 2 percent (MaRa 2017).
Pioneering concept in Finland
Pupu is a concept that has so far been missing in Finland: a restaurant with delicious, healthy, sustainable food at the speed and ease of fast food. Traditional casual dining restaurants fail to provide this.
Our gastro-salads are prepared with respect for traditional gastronomy. Meals are professionally prepared and constructed from pure and mainly organic premium ingredients. The menu changes seasonally and is designed by one of our co-founders, top chef Petri Hotti. Petri is also one of the Pupu founders.
Our colourful menu is simple and contains no red meat. The few animal-based ingredients – as well as the majority of other ingredients – have organic (Eco) and MSC certificates where possible. Cooking of raw ingredients is kept to a minimum in order to preserve nutrients and maximize taste. Our menu is also completely free of gluten, without added sugars or any other preservatives.
Transparency is key: customers want to know both the personal and environmental impact of the choices they make. We display all relevant information such as origins and nutritional values in our restaurants.
We operate a central kitchen for preparing the ingredients that are distributed to the salad shops. As a secondary function, the central kitchen serves home delivery channels. Delicious salads are prepared infront of the customer from high quality ingredients that are delivered fresh every morning from the central kitchen.
We deliver our products in fully biodegradable premium packages or served on a plate as an attracting and delicious full-scale salad meal.
Our salad restaurants (four locations, December 2017) are found near the shopping districts, offices and homes. Customers are served both eat-in and take-away. We design the restaurants to fit their surroundings. The look and feel of the restaurants helps to emphasize the craft, artistry and superior quality - these are the cornerstones of our products.
Ingredients for growth: steady customer flow and agile business model
Our growth strategy utilizes the demand arising from the megatrends. We launch agile, concept-based salad restaurants at inner-city locations. Our restaurants are both sales and marketing channels. The optimal size for a restaurant is between 6 and 40 seats.
Digital sales channels are an important way to reach customers. Our product is more suitable for delivery than any warm restaurant dish. In addition to delivery services Wolt and Foodora, we have been invited by Posti to pilot their smart post delivery concept.
Business-to-business entails big opportunities for Pupu. Serving sustainable high-quality food is a way to differentiate any business to its customers and personnel.
Restaurant sales and home delivery services are the two main channels of Pupu (image 2). The sales from fourth location opened mid-December, as well as the steady growth of all the locations, bring the estimated growth of monthly sales to 85%(image 2). The delivery area for home delivery services in Helsinki has remained the same, but sales are still forecasted to grow around 16% compared to December 2017. December was the best month of the 2017, both in restaurant sales and home delivery services.
In February a fifth location will be opened on Annankatu (downtown Helsinki). This is going to be our biggest restaurant so far with over 30 seats. Also our Uudenmaankatu location will be renovated around February-March and re-opened with additional 10 seats in April. We aim to launch five new locations this year with the help of the new capital.
Diverse experience with a common mission
The Pupu team comprises doers brought together by shared values and a mission to build something meaningful. The founders are professionals in service sales, finance, marketing, and restaurant business. This has proven to be a winning combination when it comes to executing a business plan.
Thanks to our backgrounds we are able to create life-enhancing experiences for demanding customers. For us, food means a lot more than just nutrition. It is a part of urban culture, a craft, a way to have our say on the future of the planet, as well as a healthy way of life. We base our business on five core values:
RESPECT We respect our customers, nature, and each other.
OPENNESS We are transparent about our ingredients and the nutritional information of our food.
PASSION We love food and our customers.
QUALITY We understand what good quality is. Excellence is the basis of everything.
FUTURE The future will be plant-based.
Food Director & Co-Founder
During his thirteen-year career Petri has cooked at several Helsinki’s top restaurants. Besides Finland, he has managed the kitchen of the Finnish embassy in Washington DC for two years. In his early career Petri competed in the Culinary Team of Finland – a national team of young chefs – and published a book exploring Finland's traditional organic food: Luomu & Tila (WSOY, 2008).
Petri is a true artisan and culinary craftsman - with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. This somewhat unusual combination plays an important role in general process optimization as well as in designing the food product.
Petri is responsible for the food product and restaurant operations.
Chief Executive & Co-Founder
Simo has fifteen years of experience in business-to-business service sales at the Finnish change management consultancy Trainers’ House as well as IBM. His wide experience in project management has been useful during the first year of intense growth.
“Becoming an entrepreneur in a field that is currently a driving force globally, and meeting customers with similar interests has truly been an empowering experience.”
As the Chief Executive, Simo is in charge of the company’s growth. Check out his LinkedIn profile here.
Co-Founder & Business Development Advisor
Jukka has a Master’s degree in organizational behaviour studies and over ten years of experience in business development and solution sales at IBM. In 2014 he co-founded and helped to build a successful microbrewery, Maku Brewing – known by craft beer enthusiasts for its outstanding Indian pale ale.
Jukka advises on general business development and financial planning. Check out his LinkedIn profile here.
Co-Founder & Strategic Advisor
At the start of the millennium, Kimmo was a local trendsetter in urban music. As the award-winning DJ K2, he broadcasted his own mixshow on national radio and promoted a huge number of popular clubbing events. Since finalizing his Master’s degree in Finance, Kimmo has worked full-time within investment management and capital markets risk management. He is currently employed by Nordea Bank.
Kimmo is the chairman of the board and also advises on brand and trend related issues among other things. Check out his LinkedIn profile here.
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Restaurant industry is highly competed and entails risks when starting a new business. However, the number of meals eaten in restaurants is growing compared to meals eaten at home. The restaurant sector is slightly more sensitive to economic cycles than food industry as a whole, but the fast casual sector is expected to outgrow other restaurant sectors – irrespective of economic trends. Pupu is mitigating the risks further by developing the concept to be more efficient and healthier than potential competitors’.
Price point above fast food
Here lies a risk if profiling the concept is not successful enough. Many customers, especially young adults and the well-educated are willing to pay more for high-quality food. The demand for healthy restaurant food is expected to grow in the coming years. By communicating and marketing its concept right, Pupu can avoid the risk of being misunderstood in terms of quality-price ratio.
Reputational risk is critical for any restaurant business and brand
Pupu will pay special attention to customer feedback and complaints, and always aim to exceed all expectations in customer service. In addition, food safety is a key priority and therefore special attention is paid to the storage and hygienic handling of ingredients.
Losing a key personnel
Losing a key personnel is always a risk. This risk has been managed by hiring and educating Pupu's knowledgeable restaurant managers. Founding members can back up each other in corporate governance issues.
Financial risk at early stage and when scaling up
It is important to consider how to acquire financing to grow the business. The financial risk is managed by planning the necessary investment rounds well in advance.