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Monday 18.06.2018 | Name days: Madis, Alberts

Delikateso: lack of staff stems from «fat years»

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Delikateso Development Director Edgars Kalejs

Delikateso Development Director Edgars Kalejs

The lack of qualified work force is a consequence of the «fat years», when salaries were boosted artificially, thus now employees believe their work costs more than it actually does. At the same time there will always be people in Latvia willing to pay a lot for quality goods, shop & café Delikateso Commercial Director Zigmārs Urbāns and Development Director Edgars Kalējs told in an interview to the business news portal BNN.

What is your opinion on the cafe industry in Latvia and who are your direct competitors?

Zigurds Urbāns: To a certain extent delicacy niche is full already, with one of its key players being, for example, Reaton. Despite there are many small cafes and the competition is fierce, we believe high quality food will always be demanded also in Latvia. Speaking about the sector in general, not only cafes, but also fast food restaurant still have enough room for development.

Purchasing capacity has dropped, of course, which is why we have opted for the particular district [Riga Silent Center]. Because there are people looking for something innovative also in these conditions. Moroever, not everything we call a delicacy costs a hundred lats. One can also buy a small something to bring friends when visiting. Still it will be something special you cannot find on every corner.

What do you believe is vital for a successful company? Are there any specific criteria you follow?

Urbāns: Quality comes first, followed by the niche and the uniqueness. Basically, you need to have this unique feeling when you come to a place you want to spend time in. In addition, our criteria includes people associating the place with something special. As I have already mentioned, there are many competitors in the Silent Center of Riga. It is exactly why we have to stand out with something unique. In our case it is a mix of food, nontraditional products and value added in communication with clients.

Are Latvians acquainted with the so called delicacies at all? What does the word mean in Latvia?

Edgars Kalējs: I believe there is a wrong stereotype in Latvia the word delicacy is immediately associated with something expensive. People think it is something extremely extravagant. Actually, it is sophisticated food with a sophisticated flavour. For example, ecologically-grown Latvian strawberry in cinnamon or cranberry in chilly cream are delicacies as well.

What is your most exotic delicacy?

Urbāns: We plan offering Kopi luwak coffee, obtained from beans of coffee berries eaten by the forest cats Asian Palm Civet and passed through their digestive tract.

Have you faced lack of qualified work force? Namely, it must matter in the sector that the employee is able to tell, for example, about the origins of the food?

Kalējs: It is a serious issue, indeed. We do not even dream about the staff having previous knowledge in the history of food. First and foremost, it is difficult to find someone to turn up at the job interview at all. We have been witnessing for weeks already that we have three job interviews a day, but people simply do not show up at all. They simply switch off their phones. If they do turn up, it is already an advantage to include on their CVs. However, there is still a risk no one will appear at work the next day.

Moroever, young people aged up to twenty do not know Russian, which is very crucial in service industry, while older people do not know English. It is increasingly complicated to find people speaking in these three languages.

Why do you think the situation has turned out like this, given that people still leave to work abroad and the unemployment does not drop?

Kalējs: This might be stemming from the «fat years», when employees remuneration was boosted artificially, so that now they believe their work costs more than it actually does on the Latvian market.

Urbāns: Moreover, there are little specialists in the sector. They either are already employed or have emigrated. The simplest way, which actually is not that simple after all, is to look for motivated people ready to learn.

What is your assessment of the government’s contribution to businesses? What were the most considerable challenges you faced upon launching Delikateso?

Kalējs: Taxes in general and the value added tax rise trigger the most significant problems. The government does try to help, for example, by classifying microenterprises, however, this idea would work our better if 5% were collected from the profit, not from the turnover.

What I have also been eagerly waiting for two years already is a single agency for the State Revenue Service, the Enterprise Register, ect. When a person can do all the paper work on the spot. In addition, all the duties are unreasonably high. Most of it can be done electronically. They say we need a smaller state apparatus, but as you walk by the ministries and state institutions, you see light in every room. It means someone is working there.

Urbāns: Much depends on one’s own attitude as well. Sometimes you are surprised by the politeness, while it also happens people make use of their monopolistic status and spoil your day with their bad mood.

What are your future forecasts? When do you plan to break even?

Kalējs: In late 2011 already. We are also considering special advertising activities, that we would not like to disclose yet, but they will announce us as serious competitors.


Leave a reply

  1. Andrew says:

    I’d liek to try out that coffee :D

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