Nedelya is a confectionery chain store with more than 20 years of history and over 40 locations in Eastern Europe, 10 of which in Romania. Only natural high quality products are used in the manufacturing of handmade cakes. Cakes have not been frozen at any point in the production cycle, which is a prerequisite for their fresh taste.
Part of Nedelya's team for more than 14 years is Dimitar Gikov, who has been managing the confectionery chain in Romania for 4 years. His career in the company started from the position of a bartender, then he became a deputy manager and later a manager of a confectionery store, re-qualified himself as a trainer for new franchisees and now he is a national manager for Romania. For his career in Nedelya he says:
We can say that the work in Romania has found me, not the other way around. I received a proposal from the owners of Nedelya, to be in charge of the new brand market. This was in part a logical continuation of the experience and knowledge I have already gained in Bulgaria, but the ability to work on implementing an established and working model from one country to another definitely provoked an interest in me. The dynamics, diversity and challenges that the new position implied also played a role in making my decision.
And so his profession took Dimitar Gikov to Romania in order to implement a favorite Bulgarian brand on a new market. At the beginning, Nedelya, with the help of local partners, assesses how the products are perceived by Romanian consumers. Then he opened a test facility at the most popular mall in Bucharest. This is a difficult period, when Dimitar Gikov spends 20-25 days of the month in Bucharest and every day he learns new things about the market, consumer behavior, taste preferences and last but not least - about the Romanians' mentality.
The challenge for Nedelya and its manager in Romania is to find the right way to the customers' wishes, habits and customs, related to the sweet temptations. New information is constantly emerging, which shapes the overall picture of how similar and different Romanians and Bulgarians are. For that period, Dimitar Gikov remembers:
Romanians, as clients, are more polite and more attentive than the Bulgarians and definitely like chocolate, a lot of chocolate. They also value good quality and are willing to pay a higher price for a quality and good-looking product.
The nature of work in Romania is no different, but Dimitar Gikov feels that he is always treated as a foreigner with a slight condescension, that he does not understand the market and is not prepared enough. He also feels the lack of accumulated contacts in the industry. In Bulgaria, the professional knows who he is responsible for what, as well as where he can get information and assistance as soon as possible. In Romania this is lacking and sometimes leads to a slowdown, as is the case with Nedelya at the beginning, while it is in the process of getting to know the state administration and its specifics. Another major change for the person, who goes to work abroad, is the more challenging establishment of balance between the private life and work, when your family and friends are away.
Dimitar Gikov himself faces the language barrier. He communicates mainly in English, but over time he learned key phrases in Romanian, most commonly used in the work process. He says that even if you know a little Romanian, it helps you at the workplace.
"If there is a desire, we find a way, even if that means using sign language sometimes," he laughs.
Dimitar Gikov advises anyone, who wants to work in Romania, to be prepared for the challenges and to check the information from several independent sources.
Asked by Visa Agency about whether there are fun stories from his work in Romania, he says:
We face interesting situations every day, both in terms of staff and clients. My favorite story is with one of our clients, who ordered a product from a photo from our online store. The shown model was of a cake we have made in Bulgaria and had a sign "ЧРД, 1 г.". We called the client to ask her what sign did she want, and she said to keep it like this - it didn’t matter that it was in Bulgarian, she liked how I looked. We were slightly puzzled, but the customer's desire is the most important thing.
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