Working in the restaurant industry can be a valuable learning experience

In Kastelholm in the Åland countryside, Jenny Björklund runs the restaurant Smakbyn along with her husband, chef Michael Björklund. The business also includes Åland Distillery with a summer café and the golf club’s restaurant at Ålands Golfklubb. 

Every year, Smakbyn welcomes approximately 30–40 seasonal employees to its operations.
- We need chefs, waiters, kitchen help, dishwashers, runners and cleaners. We welcome workers from the Nordics as well as other countries. The main thing is that you have knowledge of Swedish or are good at English. We would like to have staff with a mixed skill set and who vary in age and gender. 

As a seasonal staff member, you will be employed at one of Smakbyn’s facilities, but there will be an opportunity to try other things within the various work activities for those who want to. For example, by jumping in and working extra hours.

Experience or the right attitude

According to Jenny Björklund, it is the most difficult to find experienced waiters.
- We really value the attitude towards the job more than education, the most important thing is that you are flexible and think it is fun to work in the industry. At the same time, good skills result in a higher salary.

For the kitchen staff, a certificate of food hygiene proficiency (Hygiene Passport) is a must, while it is a plus if waiters have a certificate of alcohol proficiency (Alcohol Passport).
- We also appreciate staff who are efficient and independent. You do not have to know everything, but you should seek answers yourself for what you do not know.

A happy community

Jenny Björklund points out that the atmosphere and joy at work are of great importance.
- The restaurant profession is tiring and stressful. So it is important to have a good group who helps each other and works together. Because you do a better job if you have fun while working!

Many of the employees also socialise outside of work.
- It is an advantage for everyone, especially for those who are not from Åland. Rather than being lonely, you will make friends and socialise immediately. Some also live together.

She says that the seasonal employees see Åland as an adventure abroad.
- Going away to work, and maybe learning a new language, can be a valuable opportunity. You grow as a person and gain real experience.

Early planning

Smakbyn starts planning for the year’s seasonal staff as early as January and February, but you are welcome to contact us at any time during the year. There are often gaps to fill.

Our office staff are happy to help with the practicalities before the move. From housing to the necessary paperwork.
- Most people arrange their accommodation themselves, otherwise we help to find something to rent near Smakbyn. Then there are quite a lot of other things that also need to be arranged, mobile subscriptions for example.

Jenny Björklund feels grateful that many employees choose to return season after season. Some also move to Åland.
- They like Åland and think it is a good place to live and work. It is quiet and safe here, and we have beautiful nature, good working conditions and high wages. And they have a fun and good group to work with!