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Humans of Helsinki Airport: Richie’s Gourmet Hot Dogs restaurant keeper Sandro Riccio

Article published
26.12.2019 at 09:00
Sandro_HelsinkiVantaa
As a child, Sandro Riccio got tired of his father’s pizza and pasta and slipped off to eat at a nearby hot dog stand. Today, he has two Richie’s Gourmet Hot Dogs restaurants serving delicious hot dogs at Helsinki Airport.

“I got the spark for my own hot dog business already at the age of 12. I lived with my family in Copenhagen, where my father had an Italian restaurant. We would eat pizza and pasta all day, every day. I got tired of it and slipped off to eat at a nearby hot dog stand. I decided that one day I would have my own kiosk where I would sell the most delicious hot dogs.”

“For several years I had a hot dog van outside a hardware store in Vantaa. One winter morning, when I was ploughing snow around the van, I decided it was time to move the business indoors. I had a strong belief in the quality and taste of my products. From my hot dog van, I could see Helsinki Airport looming in the horizon, so one day called Finavia to ask about their business spaces. A tender opened a little later, and, luckily, I won. Now, I’ve been running Richie’s Gourmet Hot Dogs at the airport for eight years.”

My staff has grown to around 20 employees. I want to hire people with different backgrounds, a result of which is that we serve customers not only in Finnish and English, but also in Chinese, Spanish and Polish, to name but a few. Richie’s also expanded to Terminal 2 in June, so we are now operating two shops.”

“Helsinki Airport is a great place to work. It’s safe, well-functioning and dynamic, and people are friendly. We have a common goal: to serve passengers as well and smoothly as possible, putting safety first. We are ambassadors of the entire country. For many, we give the first impression of Finland and Finns, and, to transfer passengers, we may be one of the few contacts.”

“I don’t think of myself as going to work. I just live my life and enjoy it to the fullest. When customers are thankful, tables shine and my team is happy, I know I’ve done a good job. Encounters with customers cheer me up every time. One of our regulars is a pensioner, who travels a lot and always comes for a hot dog and chat before and after her flight. Last time, she had come from Mozambique.”

“There’s a view to the apron from our new counter. Airplanes just have that something. Watching them take off, you often wonder where they’re going.”

Delicious sausages and crispy nachos – now you can enjoy the treats of hot dog restaurant Richie’s at the departure gates

People & Aviation