Restaurant & Smokehouse Nuotta and Bikini Bay
“I benefit from my engineering education and my former career in the forest industry as a clerical worker and a consultancy entrepreneur in my current profession a lot, even though you can’t spot the correspondences right away,” entrepreneur Timo Mankki laughs. “This job requires an equal amount of planning, documentation and project management skills.”
Timo Mankki put on his thinking cap in 2007. After a challenging industrial project that required a lot of trips abroad, he took a couple of years’ sabbatical to think about the future. Entrepreneurship with the family and local services began to tempt the traveling consultant increasingly more. “Because my work had taken me out of the home town for years, I had no acquaintances and networks,” Timo Mankki reminisces. “I had to think of a local business of my own and to create a network first at the kitchen table and after that by meeting lots of people, by selling steamed sausage, if nothing else,” Mankki gives a laugh.
Local entrepreneurship started out slightly surprisingly in the Mankki family after different corporate acquisition setups, when Tuomas, at the time 18, set up a business name, rented two business places from the city and became an ice-cream kiosk entrepreneur. At the same time Tuomas hired his siblings, a few friends – and on the side, his dad. This worked quickly as an impulse to start a café selling sundaes, which in the end took shape as a harbor restaurant with a liquor license. “The paper work and fast-tempo projects were easily manageable thanks to old experience, and the restaurant was set up in three weeks,” Timo Mankki reminisces. “This was enough time to negotiate on rented premises, renovate, hire the staff, plan the range of the menu and even to become licensed.”
“I have always cooked as a hobby, so it’s nice to have a hobby turn into a profession,” Timo Mankki, who is also a member of the association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, says. Karina Mankki threw herself into a new career in the wake of her husband, and as she’s graduating as a restaurant cook, cooking became the couple’s shared job. Previously Timo Mankki’s cluster of companies included even a grill and event kitchen function, later on also a fish smokehouse, and as the latest newcomer, the beach bar Bikini Bay, a homecoming gift from Vietnam. The freshest service renewal so far is the first ship restaurant in Imatra, Christina, in the passenger harbor of Imatra in the front of the restaurant Nuotta. “You wouldn’t believe it, but the summer of 2015, with its lousy weather conditions but excellent sales, gave new weight to our entrepreneurship. Bikini Bay and other new type of things add to the range of services our customers want,” Mankki ponders. “Our supply of services isn’t aimed at tourists only, but local customers are our most important customer segment. They can nicely get a quick vacation in their hometown right here.”