Who influenced the meetings industry the most in 2019?

The 5th edition of Kongres Magazine’s “Most Influential People” segment is here, analysing who influenced the meetings industry of New Europe the most in 2019.

Our editorial board has been carrying out the competition since 2014, constantly adding new recommendations from reputable European meeting planners. We assessed more than 185 influencers in Central and South East Europe after reviewing highlights from the meetings industry in 2019. Our assessment was based on several key criteria, such as:

• Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2019, (significantly deviating from the average);

• Implementation of the most demanding improvements and innovations in their field, which also includes successfully implemented projects that have defined the year 2019;

• Help in enhancing the reputation and profile of the meetings industry in 2019;

• Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or in their way have pointed the direction of the industry in the future.

Based on 1273 individually completed surveys and 5559 total individual visits, Kongres Magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP most influential people. We have also added 2 newcomers in each category, voted by our readers.

The candidates have been divided into 6 categories


The MEETING SERVICE PROVIDERS with the most votes are:


Chef at Hiša Franko

A co-owner of the family-owned restaurant Hiša Franko (ranking No. 50 in the world, according to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation) located in a small Slovenian town by the Italian border. Besides cooking her greatest pleasure is world travel. Her delicious dishes are full of intense flavours, lovely colours and unusual combinations. She was named the World’s Best Female Chef 2017 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards and was the first woman to join the exclusive Cook It Raw chefs’ community.

Thomas GRUBER,
Chef at in Schlossstern Restaurant (AT)

The main characteristic of the “Gasthaus von Thomas Gruber« at the lake Wörthersee is the regional cuisine, where different cultures and genuine dishes from Slovenia, Italy and Carinthia meet. Eating and drinking together becomes the indispensable experience factor. Thomas Gruber is not following the culinary mainstream, so instead of great gourmet menus, you will find dishes with heart and mind. He was gaining knowledge and experience for many years in the most prestigious restaurants and hotels in the States, France, Italy and Austria. In 2013, he opened his own restaurant “Gasthaus von Thomas Gruber”.


Dominik STOJAR
Managing Director at Sanfish Catering

Dominik is the Managing Director of Sanfish Catering, which specializes in fish and seafood. Their mission is to surprize their customers with new, innovative products, while focusing on quality and sustainable products.


Owner at Catering FAVORY (HR)

Tamara Tuđman Šuk is the owner of the Favory – Catering & Banqueting which has been with its uninterrupted operation of 28 years the oldest Croatian catering business. Its corporate and private club are of a unique character in Croatia and make, thus, for a really special service agency when it comes to MICE needs not only in Croatia but also in other parts of Europe. Certainly Tamara Tuđman Šuk is one of the catering pioneers in the region that still sets the trends today.

Owner and Chef at JB Restavracija (SI)

World-renowned chef Janez Bratovž has always been defined by his strong desire to find perfection. His culinary creations are bold and original, and you can savour the tastes of exquisite plates and let yourself be entranced by a completely new culinary experience. JB’s dishes are from completely fresh ingredients straight from Ljubljana’s farmers’ market. You will be charmed by their presentation and primal taste, especially so by the unforgettably unique combination of the Mediterranean, French and nostalgic Slovene cuisines.

dada, jerovšek

Director at Kaval Group (SI)

Dada Jerovšek is an architect turned entrepreneur who heads up The Kaval Group, a collection of 19 bars, fine dining restaurants, casual cafes and, of course, Lolita, the best ice-cream in the world (according to #worldICECREAMindex). The Kaval Group is made up of hospitality experiences that are undeniably Slovenian, yet comparable with any contemporary trend from New York or London.

Managing Director at Jezersek Catering (SI)

Martin Jezeršek, the youngest son of the renowned Jezeršek family, has been successfully managing the family business with over 35 years of tradition and experience in the field of HORECA, for the last five years. After a graduation at the best hospitality and hotel management school in the world, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, he returned home to take over the family business. He has internationalised the company through the brand Sora Catering and passed the test with flying colours, taking up the family business management, with a desire to become the leading catering provider in South-Eastern Europe and to rank among the top 10 organizers and catering services providers in the European Union. Due to Martin’s contribution, Jezeršek catering today is the leading company in the field of catering on the Slovenian market.


Director at Vivo Catering (SI)

At the 20th anniversary she earned her ranking through the socially responsible co-operative project of setting the Month of Design in the abandoned factory premises of Mladinska knjiga. The revival of this place has created a completely new event space in Ljubljana with an unimagined development potential. Visitors to the event were excited about the look of the premises; this is a completely new dimension of socially responsible conference tourism.


CEO and Chef at Frederik’s Vienna (AT)

“Stay in the kitchen” is the motto that Frederik Mayringer, the CEO and Chef at Frederik’s, is adhering to at all times. His dedication to investing time and patience in new culinary creations along business plans is seen in the work that the Frederik’s team does with catering magic that particularly shines through the Frederik’s gardening decoration concept and its edible flowers.

CEO at Sharkam VIP Catering (SK)

Sharkam catering was established in 1998 and belongs to one of the European leaders in catering. They are mostly proud of having built the business from scratch on solely Slovak capital and through years of testing know-how. The majority of their business is in event catering, although they are also one of a very few caterers in Europe to specialize in protocol catering. Their marketing policy is built on offering a first class service and quality and which additionally guarantees a sufficient quantity of food and beverages.

Sanjiv SURI,
President & CEO at Zátiší group (CZ)

Since 1991, founder of the Zátiší Group, currently operating four restaurants in Prague: V Zátiší, Bellevue, Mlýnec, Žofín Garden & Zátiší Catering, exclusive caterer to Žofín Palace, general caterer for Prague Congress Centre and exclusive caterer 2012 – 2013 to VIP Village Moto GP and Fresh & Tasty divisions. He earlier worked as General Manager, Food – Beverage Manager & Kitchen Coordinator at various hotel chains in France, India, Egypt and western Africa. He is a member of the UNICEF Supervisory Board, Head of the Board of Directors of the Prague Convention Bureau, member of the Young Presidents Organisation worldwide, and Vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce Supervisory Board.

Newcomers in 2019, voted by readers


Marko ERTL
Co-founder and Director of Wrapstars

Marko, together with his friend Matthias Kroisz, founded the catering company with the philosophy #realfood #nobullshit in 2013. Wrapstars comprise of a catering service, restaurant and food truck. Their specialty are wraps of all kinds, with natural, locally sourced ingredients.


Managing Director at Motto Catering

Dominika is the Managing Director of Motto Catering, a modern company with respect for tradition since 2008. At Motto Catering they say they are a unique symbiosis of the modern and the classic, combining zeitgeist with indulgence and sensuality. Besides the company, she is passionate about her family, good food, design and her dog Charlie.


Toni MÖRWALD, Mörwald Catering
Marijana and Ivana PRIZMIĆ, Lokrum d.o.o.
Bernd SCHLACHER, Motto Catering Vienna
Wolfgang STUBENBERG, M*Eventcatering

Would you like to nominate an influencer for 2020?

Please tell us why your nominee should be among the TOP Meetings Industry Influencers in 2020 in the online form.