Restaurant Day: A New Restaurant Revolution?
If you’re not from Finland, you might not have heard of Ravintolapäivä, or Restaurant Day. Described as “a food carnival when anyone can open a restaurant for a day,” the day aims to bypass all of the permits, paperwork, training, marketing, and inspections that might otherwise prevent someone from opening a restaurant.
As Restaurant Day cofounder Timo Santala explains, “The idea was to show what was possible if we gave people complete freedom to do whatever they liked. It’s all about people serving food to people, and the policy makers, the lawmakers and restrictions shouldn’t prevent good things from happening.”
So how does Restaurant Day work? Four times a year, restaurants pop up in unexpected places in Finland: street corners, parks, and even people’s homes! The Restaurant Day app allows curious diners to find nearby restaurants. Restaurant Day is immensely popular—in fact, its been held in over 400 cities in 60 different countries!
What is it that makes Restaurant Day so appealing? Restaurateurs and diners alike appreciate the pop-up nature of the event. The lack of red tape is certainly attractive, and many feel that the spontaneity of Restaurant Day encourages creativity. It takes the emphasis off of logistics, profits, and business and puts the focus squarely on food and fun, two things that are sometimes missing in restaurant culture.
As we mentioned before, Restaurant Day has spread far beyond Finland. In fact, the event is extremely popular in Montreal—the third event happened in August and attracted over 50 restaurants! More Restaurant Days are planned for the future.
Could something like this happen in the United States? It hasn’t yet, but who knows? Restaurant Day is certainly something to keep an eye on—this restaurant revolution just might hit the country soon!