The Slovenia Times

Bringing out the Slovenian Ethos for the Future



What is the role of catering in business tourism?
Its basic service is providing food and drinks but at the same time catering plays the role of an ambassador of the location where the event is taking place. Catering companies thus act as indirect promoters of the country and are an expression of its culture. Business tourists are the most demanding and sophisticated guests who can and do spend. However, they know what is good and what it not. The goal is then to make a good impression of the country on them so that they later on return with their family and friends for a private visit. A well-known fact is that what sticks in people's heads years after the business event took place are the fun events with dinners and culinary experiences.

How does business tourism catering differ from its other types?
One needs to be highly professional in all contexts, but in business tourism catering awareness of the complete approach where the entire service is thorough is vital. The organiser must take into account norms that apply for the world of business and not something that he or she fancies privately. The approach and purpose in a private or business event are diametrically opposed. For example, one must always bear in mind that the attendees come from extremely heterogeneous environments and thus a proper balance in the traditionally heavy Slovenian cuisine needs to be achieved. As organisers usually do not have professional knowledge of arranging events, the caterer has to possess it to offer advice and make suitable decisions on the food, programme and service, all following a certain protocol.

Is there room for being original?
Despite the fact that there cannot be any improvisation and since food must not be too exotic, very much so. A huge difference can be made with either the choice of service, food or design, but the best way to show innovativeness is by preparing a dish in front of the guests. Business catering requires complete harmony as everything needs to act as a whole - table decorations, cutlery, music... Paying attention to details is crucial which is very visible on multi-day events - repetition is bad so one must make small but efficient changes like changing the colours of tablecloths, napkins, staff uniforms. And food of course, it should be varied. Contrasts work!

How important is ecological awareness?
Business tourists are such guests who notice those things and it is significant that this aspect is taken care of. At the moment the times are not in favour of organic ingredients since their price is considerably higher, but there definitely is room for this. We deal with it by having "eco-corners" where guests can find two or three dishes. But my opinion is that since Slovenia is blessed with fertile land and enjoys clean environment it is the origin of the ingredients which really matters. We use exclusively Slovenian ingredients and also make them priority over the imported organic ones as the local produce here is qualitative and comparable with the highest international standards. Guests of course need to be made aware of this.

What are current trends in business catering?
The guests are more conscious of what they eat and want the service to be environmentally aware in all aspects, be it the energy use or proper dealing with waste which are among the high standards Vivo adopted in all our services. Another thing is that programmes are not so lavish as currently price that dictates everything.

Where lies the future of business catering in Slovenia?
Definitely in emphasising and recognising the Slovenian aspect everywhere. We need to be aware of our own identity and promote it as Slovenia has immense potentials in tourism. As I said before, one remembers the food and the fun not the business agenda and we should keep reminding us that a business tourist does not just simply happen - they are a result of a well-thought-out strategy and hard work from both the state and all others in the tourism chain.


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