POSITIVE FEEDBACK ON EUROBASKET IN SLOVENIA
1. Is being one of the major players in the organisation of EuroBasket a responsibility, a burden or a pleasure?
In fact, all the aforesaid. During the preparations for the championship the event demanded a lot of invested work and effort, with no immediately visible results. Many of our employees have been engaged over the past few months only with the EuroBasket project, which is an additional burden for the entire company in a variety of ways.
When the championship was beginning, especially us, the leading ones, have felt very great responsibility. To prepare and serve 70,000 meals at five locations in Slovenia is no laughing matter, and in the last month this responsibility has led to much grey hair.
But when, after 14 days of championship you walk around the Stožice complex and watch how 150 people are completely rehearsed in how guests are satisfied, when international guests are commenting that the catering is the best in the history of EuroBasket Championships, then the whole thing turns into an intense pleasure that outweighs all the previous concerns.
2. How would you evaluate the results and significance of EuroBasket for your company and the Slovenian meetings industry?
Months ago, we the Jezeršek family have decided that the project will not be undertaken solely with the objective of maximising earnings. We wanted to exceed guests’ expectations and to use this event as a springboard for the future. How will the Slovenian meetings industry take advantage of the Championship is another question, which I cannot answer. Surely we could use it more with more active involvement of all stakeholders of the meetings industry. From first hand I can tell you that at the championship there was a great number of individuals who could bring to Slovenia both sports and sports-related events, such as congresses. The question is if we were able to present Slovenia to them as a meetings destination.
3. What kind of organisational challenge was the Eurobasket for the Jezeršek catering?
In the past, we have already implemented major one-day events similar to EuroBasket, however, this was the most complex project in organisational sense. In the project, we have invested months of effort, planning of recipes, logistics, contingency details, investment in equipment, personnel … The project has claimed almost 30,000 hours of invested work and this number is sufficiently eloquent.
4. To whom were the banquets intended during the EuroBasket? Did the athletes also have the opportunity to try your food?
Banquets were designed for different groups. Our food was tried by the volunteers, the media, judges, personnel of the championship, FIBA personnel, FIBA Europe staff and guests in the VIP lounges, guest at the Super VIP lounges, VIP guests in the Corporate Hospitality, where FIBA Europe hosted its sponsors. Only athletes had their food arranged in the hotels where they were staying, but some were occasionally invited among the VIP guests, and so also we had the opportunity to meet our own and foreign heroes.
5. Do participants at sporting events distinguish between the good and the bad? What convinces them?
What is good and what is bad is relative and depends on one’s expectations. The aim is always to exceed expectations of the individual.
The fact is that our guests were people who in their life have seen many things, and thus their expectations were subconsciously high. We did everything to understand their expectations before the championship. We have made a survey of the most important guests, so our bartenders also knew their favourite drinks or what kind of coffee a few dozen of the most important guests would drink. I estimate that we have exceeded the expectations of many, but unfortunately it is never possible to satisfy all.
6. Do you expect Eurobasket to cause an increase of interest in Slovenia?
Slovenia has certainly gained some visibility, but it is difficult to assess or quantify how much it will increase interest in Slovenia. According to my information, the first estimates show that the investments of the state and cities have returned and that the project will be financially positive, which is the most important thing. There are many companies that because of the championship have one way or another created business which otherwise would not have happened. This also solves the crisis, so we must encourage new candidacies for major sporting events.
7. What is the biggest challenge for Jezeršek catering in the future?
Our main goal is to break through in the field of catering in international waters. For this purpose, in the context of the EuroBasket Championship we presented a new brand name – SORA Catering – with which we are already present on the Croatian market. Our biggest challenge is thus a successful breakthrough in the segment of international catering and expansion of business to neighbouring countries.
8. If with ‘basketball logic’ you had to assemble a Slovenian culinary team, who would you pick as your the top five, and why?
I am currently playing in the best culinary team of Slovenia. We have a long bench, good replacements for players of all positions, technically profiled knowledge, talent … With hard work and a little luck we can win it all. Our team consists of:
Martin Jezeršek, Jure Jezeršek, Luka Jezeršek, Rok Jezeršek, Primoz Križnar, Ana Šušteršič, Aljaž Toplak, Kristina Jurjevec, Polona Rihar, Helena Režek, Mojca Kosec, Blaž Starman, Primož Plešec, Ivan Stipič, Luka Rusić, Ivan Jager, Anže Pavlin , Danila Jereb, Peter Jereb, Andrej Hribernik, Uroš Kordež, Alja Kolar, Andrej Mis, Špela Triler, Klemen Maletič, Tomaž Bergant, Dejan Požaršek, Vida Kopač, Ines Perger, Zinka Bajrektarevič, Matej Radeljak, Jakob Knific, Gašper Škerjanec, Jernej Čarman, Mileva Grobin, Justi Grobin, Ana preklaj, Nada jovanivič, Lidija šebrek, Cilka Brankovič, Dragica Ajdovec, Martina Šerjak, Martina Jezeršek, Alenka Lipovec and, of course, Sonja and Franci Jezeršek.