Working at Fredman – Riina Helander


At Fredman, we don’t dream of castles in the sky, but we do strive for the perfect kitchen. We are experts in food safety and reducing food waste. We combine data, technology and versatile know-how to create the best tastes.

We trust our staff

Without a skilled, dedicated staff, we might as well be building castles in the sky, so we wanted to give the floor to our employees. In the second part of our Working at Fredman blog series, we wanted to give the floor to Fredman Perfect Kitchen’s Program Manager, Riina Helander.

What is your role at Fredman?

At Fredman, I work as a Program Manager. I’m in charge of the new Fredman Chefstein® service’s development project, and I’m responsible for other projects related to service design. My workdays consist of doing things in cooperation with our partners, workshops, validation work, customer pilots and customer interviews. Everything from food waste to HACCP and from data analytics to VR headsets!

What is your best memory of working at Fredman?

Oh, there are so many that it’s impossible to choose just one. I started working at Fredman’s factory in Lapland as a summer worker in 2016, and the summers after that were all pretty great. After the summer jobs, I moved to the office in Espoo and got to know our team here.

Overall, the best memories are related to people: going on trips and attending events where all sorts of things happen. The moments when we find a solution to a shared problem with a customer or partner or get some new idea that we want to start testing right away. Phone calls and emails from customers when things have gone perfectly for us.

What developments do you think you will see in our products and/or services in the following year?

This year will be full of new things. More and more of our products will fulfil the criteria of our Sustainability Vision 2030. With the new Fredman Chefstein® service, we will be able to assist operations in professional kitchens in completely new ways. Under the current circumstances, it is vital for restaurants to be able to easily ensure that their operations meet hygiene and food safety levels and for the restaurants to be able to communicate that to their customers. We want to do more than we ever have to help them achieve these goals.

What does a superior customer experience mean to you and what, in your opinion, are the tools necessary for achieving it?

The last time I went to have my car inspected, I found out that I had apparently been driving with burnt-out taillights for quite a while without knowing about it (at least it was summer and light out…). My mistake almost caused me to fail the inspection. When I went to pick up my car and the inspector mentioned the lights, I thought that my trip would end there. However, they told me that they had changed the lights, so I wouldn’t have to change them and repeat the inspection. It must’ve only taken a couple minutes and been completely normal for them, but it stuck with me. After all, my goal was to pass the inspection, not just to have my car inspected.

All of us know what it feels like to have a particularly good or bad experience. The good feeling is made up of slightly different things for each of us but, for me, it means something like this: reliability, effortlessness, fluidity, expertise, being on the same wavelength and having my goal understood and reached even better than I expected. Especially if there are obstacles in the way.

And the tools? Listen and work together with the customer a lot. Keep your ears open, but remember to also observe what the customer can’t always put into words. Sometimes a single gesture tells you more than a thousand words. Try to understand why a customer values a particular thing or goal. Remember that each customer is different: someone’s feelings about a superior customer experience might mean the complete opposite for someone else.

You should be able to adapt your way of doing things when working with different types of people and learn to understand why everyone behaves the way they do. Offer options for solutions, but don’t be afraid to give guidance as well.

What does the perfect kitchen mean to you?

The perfect kitchen is a kitchen that experiments! It’s full of activity, joy and laughter. Sometimes you’ll burn a pizza or take a day to make that one perfect poached egg. Still, that’s usually the best way to learn. The perfect kitchen has the perfect group of people working in it. People are absolutely a part of the perfect kitchen, and I hope that we’ll be able to see that again soon.

Until then, here at Fredman, we will do our best to help professional kitchens become perfect kitchens remotely. For example, you can participate in our free digital clinics where you can ask for help with any questions that you might have on your mind.

There is no single perfect kitchen because every kitchen has something that makes it unique. The perfect kitchen can be found anywhere, from fine dining to home cooking, planes to cruise ships and fast food restaurants to kindergarten kitchens. Furthermore, the events of the last few weeks have demonstrated that a kitchen’s ability to adapt and find new ways of working can be worth its weight in gold.

If you need help with quickly developing your restaurant’s operations right now, you can contact us here!


Fredman Group