The Croatian bakery chain Mlinar is a relative newcomer in Hungary. Seven outlets have been opened in Budapest. The company planes to enlarge its market position, mainly in the capital via franchise agreements requirement, since it can offer to every franchisor a proven business model, know how, logistic and marketing support.
Interview with Mlinar Board Member Hrvoje Tretinjak on the history and plans of the bakery chain
What are the milestones of Mlinar's history, especially in the last ten years?
The first steam-powered flour-mill and steam-powered sawmill of the village of Kri¾evci was built in 1903 by Hinko ©varc and Sons company. As demand increased rapidly, a new mill had to be built with a capacity for 20 tons in 24 hours in 1913.
In 1946 the state company Kalnik bought the private mill of the Svarc family.
The mill was electrified and modernized allowing for greater output. In 1960 the baking cooperative „Napredak“ and Kalnik merged, and the production of bread and pastry was united with the cereal processing. In 1993 the transition from public ownership into the joint stock company Mlinar d.d. was performed.
The year 2009 was another turning point: we defined a new brand identity and a new business strategy, which are now established in our whole retail and wholesale network. Since 2009 we have expanded our retail network in 3 European countries – Slovenia, Hungary and Germany. In the last few years we have built 2 new production plants in order to satisfy needs of the regional market for fresh and frozen bakery products. This year marks another important step as we have just started to export our products to Australia and UAE. We appreciate the trust of more than 30 million customers who visit our shops per year.
How can you increase volumes of production, is there a need to extend the production facilities now?
Currently we do not need to extend our production facilities, since we can satisfy current and potential export needs as well as the ones of the regional market. The whole production is organized in four plants in Croatia – more than 30.000 tons of frozen and pre-baked products are produced on a yearly basis.
What was the motivation to enter the competitive Hungarian market?
Due to good international cooperation between our countries and positive recognition of some Croatian brands in Hungary, we were inspired to consider the possibility of expanding our retail network in Hungary. After a long consideration, market research of customer preferences and thorough business analysis, we have decided to start that business venture.
How would you assess the first phase of your presence here?
I would say that the past few years have been to a certain degree struggling and competitive, as it is for every brand trying to enter a foreign market. But we are satisfied with our current position and we will make continuous efforts to enlarge our market position and to present our brand and products in the best possible manner.
How quickly can you expand your franchise network in Hungary?
We can promptly react to every franchise requirement, since we can offer to every franchisor a proven business model, know how, logistic and marketing support. Using that business model it is really easy to enter the world of entrepreneurship in this type of industry.