Success story

Hard Rock Cafe

Finland’s first Hard Rock Cafe opened right in the heart of Helsinki in October 15th at 2012. Entering the Finnish restaurant scene was smoother thanks to practical help from Invest in Finland.

Helsinki's fame as ‘the capital of rock’ convinced Hard Rock Cafe to open a restaurant in Finland

 

The modern and bright premises are far from a dark and dingy rock cave. Yet the Hard Rock Cafe concept is clearly visible with its HRC-products and famous rock gear, such as Gene Simmons’ boots and Michael Jackson’s Thriller mask.

“Despite the concept, I want to bring something from each country to my restaurants. For example, here in Helsinki it means a stylish and clear interior. Also the target groups have changed during HRC’s 40-year-long journey. We want to attract a younger crowd and women too,” says CEO Lalle Morberg in his newly opened restaurant.

 

Finding the perfect property

 

Morberg, who lives in Sweden, manages all the Hard Rock Cafe restaurants in the Nordics. He visited Helsinki already five years ago but the decision to open the restaurant was only sealed after he found the perfect property, right across the street from the famous department store Stockmann.

“The tip for the location was given by a Danish real estate broker who, by the way, was convinced that Helsinki is ‘the capital of rock’. We also found out from the same person about Invest in Finland which has helped us in certain aspects of starting the business in Finland.”

"Invest in Finland had a great influence on our decision to invest in a restaurant in Helsinki", says Lalle Morberg, CEO.

 

Practical help for foreign investors

Although Finland wasn’t much of a cultural shock for the Swedish owners, local help with communicating with the authorities came in very useful. Matters related to construction, alcohol or terrace licences, for instance, are handled slightly differently here than in the other Nordic countries. Morberg is happy with the support provided by Invest in Finland.

“Every country should have a similar system where foreign investors can get assistance with even the most practical matters. I could say that Invest in Finland had a great influence on our decision to invest in a restaurant in Helsinki,” says Morberg.

Hanna Lankinen from Invest in Finland is also pleased with the jobs Hard Rock Cafe has created. “The restaurant brought some one hundred new jobs to Helsinki,” she says.

 

Text: Maarit Niemelä / Finpro inFront #4 2012
Photos: Hard Rock Cafe