November 19, 2020

Fafa’s expanding, developing digital channels amid pandemic

A young woman behind a counter holding a pita sandwich.
Fafa’s has not lost its appetite for expansion during the coronavirus pandemic.
Harri Rauhanummi

Fafa’s, a fast casual food chain hailing from Helsinki, is planning to continue its expansion despite the uncertainty the restaurant industry has been thrust into by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has put on hold its plan to open 300 restaurants globally in the coming years but will add at least two restaurants to its chain of 43 by the end of March – one in Vantaa and one in Vallila, Helsinki.

The original plan will be revisited once the world is closer to normal, CEO Ville Myllyniemi said to Markkinointi & Mainonta.

“We’ll proceed according to the situation,” he summarised. “We won’t be opening new restaurants unless we find good business locations. If we do, we’ll open as many as we find.”

Fafa’s is looking to secure its future also by developing its digital services to reach consumers through laptops and smartphones. Having opened its webshop in the midst of the pandemic, the company is set to start piloting its own delivery service toward the end of this month and has cooked up a plan to release a mobile app and chatbot enabling customers to order takeaway food on social media platforms such as Instagram.

“You have to go where the customers are,” retorted Myllyniemi.

A strategic focus on takeaway food is what has allowed the restaurant chain weather the pandemic-induced crisis better than, for example, lunch and à la carte restaurants. “We only had seven customer seats in our first joint on Iso Rooberinkatu,” reminded Myllyniemi.

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