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Batak Grill: covid delivery services

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Batak Grill is a restaurant chain set up by Igor Smola and Slaven Stojic that offers a fine dining experience rooted in the draw of the traditional, local grill. “We wanted to bring something new to the market,” says Isabella Paver, Finance Director of Victus-Group, to which Batak Grill belongs, “offering the local grill but in a more modern way, catering for business lunches and celebrations for example. For this, we picked up the best chefs from the region and we’ve been doing really well. The brand is now very well-established.”

Like many businesses in the horeca sector, Batak Grill was hit hard by COVID-19: “When we went into lockdown on 19th March, it was a shock for us. But we realised very quickly that, if we were going to be closed for the foreseeable future and the government is allowing us to offer delivery, then this was the only way for us to generate revenue,” Isabella explains.

With this in mind, Batak Grill initiated a digitalisation revamp, setting up a website and taking the restaurant into the digital space. “We had delivery services before as well, but now we expanded delivery to all products and set up a dedicated centralised platform. We launched the web-page and set up a web-shop too, offering things like frozen foods that people can then cook themselves, bringing the experience of Batak to your own home. The whole process was quite complex: covering all the GDPR aspects, adjusting for mobile phones and tablets, optimising for search engines, investing in marketing, setting up an invoicing and inventory management systems and of course moving also into social media too…” But the transition was a success.

In these efforts, Batak (which means ‘drumstick’ in Croatian) sought support from Erstebank Croatia, in the form of an EU-guaranteed loan, backed by the EIF. “The loan helped us implement all these changes and boost our online presence. At the end of the day, the fall in sales due to the restaurants closing wasn’t that bad. Of course, the reduction in VAT from 25% to 13% played a big role, but with the new online presence we were also able to substitute lost revenue with delivery services. Sure, sales took a hit, but I think we managed to minimise it. In the end we didn’t lay off any staff,” she explains.

For the business, the digitalisation efforts will continue beyond the COVID-19 crisis: “We’re looking to create an interface with business intelligence systems, to get reporting on financial and non-financial data, and use that to advance sales. It’s working well at the moment, with very strong reporting that helps us with daily monitoring of activity so that we can adapt immediately to any developments. I think this will help us even more going forward,” Isabella adds.

Company: Batak Grill (Croatia)

Type of business: food & beverage

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Erstebank

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Croatia, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/hr

 

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