Милош Мијић, власник Домаћих кифлица
Although they have grown since 2010 and thus changed the address, and although some new people have entered the business, one thing has not changed. Since the beginning, the quality and the manual production have remained something the owner will not give up on.
Miloš has visited us amidst the final preparations for this year’s festival which will mark the fourth year of cooperation between Bitef and "Domaće Kiflice", and brought along crescents of some new flavours; the move greeted not only by the employees but also by the dog who is also a part of our Bitef team.
What do you think was crucial for the success of the brand “Domaće kiflice”?
In the first place, it is the quality, that is what we are known for. The production has to be completely manual. I think that the quality of the production has shown the result. I would also like to mention the customer service. Those two things were crucial, I think. The brand was launched with a good advertisement but it came as a result of the quality, so people liked the opportunity to talk about something new, delicious, and marked by high quality.
Yes, the product itself has been your best commercial since the very beginning. Still, that has changed a little in the meantime and you have started investing in marketing?
True, yes, that has changed but it is still the best commercial when someone tastes the crescents. We have changed the approach a little, a more serious advertising campaign implied TV presentation, radio-shows, portals that wanted to make a story about us after trying the crescents. Social networks marketing campaign was a natural next step, but the quality is the core because we let people try the crescents each time we visit a certain media, and at each event. If I don’t bring the crescents, the story is pointless, and that’s why I have brought them to you today too (laughs). People who talk about the crescents and advertise them in various ways have to try them so that they know what they are talking about.
How do you motivate your employees?
Salary is in the first place, which is natural, but we also invest a lot of energy and attention to interpersonal relations. We are growing, we have almost 70 employees now, we are a serious firm and if the relations are not good, then the cooperation and the work will suffer. Another thing I would like to emphasize is that all our bakeries are air-conditioned, although people imagine bakeries as entrance to hell, with infernal heat. Once a year we organize gatherings where we spend some time together. We wish those celebrations were more frequent but it is impossible to organize since bakery is open every day.
I like saying that everything is organized so that people feel fine, including the small things that our employees can always have at work - drinks, coffee, common meals, etc. This sounds like nothing spectacular but people care about those things as well as about a healthy atmosphere where your bosses do not yell at you if you make a mistake. In our firm, if someone is having a bad day, they can really take frequent breaks, but what is important is that there is a mutual trust which is not abused. When someone is not feeling well, we let them go home early, which is why they feel free to let us know. Those are some things that should be normal, I can see that here you have the same atmosphere, but in the country where we live, that is not a common practice.
First time you invited us to talk about possible cooperation, two nice girls came to us, they were very polite, cheerful, all smiles, and since the atmosphere in our firm is similar, we recognized each other on that level. On the other hand, that is our way of contradicting the general tendency of not investing into culture. I believe that Bitef, just like all of us, struggles to survive on this specific market. This is our small and cute contribution to Bitef’s struggle, we had no desire to come under the spotlight.
How do you see the future of your brand? Can we in Bitef, and all your fans expect something new?
We are a firm from Pančevo and we cover the entire market in that area. Our aim is to cover the entire market in Belgrade because there are people who haven’t tried our crescents yet. However, the problem is the production because, for now, we cannot produce large quantities and maintain the quality. By opening another bakery in Belgrade, we would like to make it possible for everyone in Belgrade to try our kiflice and get them fairly quickly.