Altruist - for the family confectionery business with love

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Altruist - for the family confectionery business with love
Altruist - for the family confectionery business with love

After Rumyana Rizova once traveled to Bansko to decorate a cake prepared for a wedding in the city on the spot, she surprisingly receives a message at midnight. It turns out to be the bride who pours out her emotions: “We are so happy! Such an amazing cake! Everyone was fascinated and kept asking who made it. You made our holiday wonderful!”.

Rumyana does not hide that this is one of the most pleasant moments in her work as the head pastry chef in the "Something Sweet" cake workshop at the Altruist institution in the capital.

“It's really nice for you! Customers are constantly writing to say thank you and how happy they are,” she says with a smile as we sip an amazing cappuccino (just the way she likes it).

Rumyana has turned her nearly 20-year-old love for confectionery into an establishment that she manages successfully together with her two grown sons. By the way, she is a philologist by profession and studied psychology, but the path somehow quite naturally led her to the colorful world of confectionery, in which she still works today.

The road to the center of Sofia

In fact, long before Altruist appeared in the center of Sofia, Rumyana Rizova and her family had their own restaurant in the capital's Lyulin district, which they managed to develop successfully for many years. When they open it, Rumyana decides to try offering sweets from different places until she finds what she likes. After much wandering and hesitation, she finally decides to try to cook everything herself, despite not having much experience.

“I told myself that I would start making and inventing desserts myself,” Rumyana recalls, adding that at first she failed at every step. But as she developed her pastry skills, she created what she called a "failed" cake that "became a bestseller" and remains on Altruist's menu to this day. According to Rumiana, to be a good confectioner, you need to have a sense of what can be combined with what and how. "I read a lot. In general, confectionery is a science," she adds.

Бизнес великаните на Vivacom. Румяна Ризова

Бизнес великаните на Vivacom. Румяна Ризова
Бизнес великаните на Vivacom. Румяна Ризова

Over time she created a portfolio of about 10 cakes as well as a few savory things, but during this period she mostly worked alone and her sons helped her for a while while they were students. While a few years ago, she was offered to move the restaurant somewhere in the center. So they initiate the Altruist venture and start looking for a place.

Rumyana admits that she was generally reserved about the neighborhood where the restaurant is located, but her family convinced her that it was the right choice. In the end, everyone divides their tasks successfully - she has the mission of making divine cakes that will keep people coming back, one of her sons is busy with selecting the best coffee, and the second - taking care of the interior.

“We work together basically, but I let the guys work more in front and put in their ideas,” says Rumyana, who stays behind the scenes – where the cake magic is.

And the magic of family business happens.

No error

The family's initial idea was for Rumyana to stop working, but in the end, from a 12-hour work day it reached 14 hours and she has no desire to give up. She is energized by the contact with the young people she works with and is happy to learn more about their world and their ideas. And with a smile she says she feels 35 years old.

Altruist employs 12 people – 6 in the workshop and 6 at the bar. The work took off extremely quickly, in just a month or two, and Rumyana attributes this to the fact that people appreciate diligence and "that you don't lie to them".

For the team, there are no compromises regarding the quality of food and service. "If something is not right in the workshop, we scrap it," comments Rumyana, and she is aware that this is the greatest strength of her family business.

“When people feel something good and that good is repeated, they are not cheating on you. They will cheat on you as soon as they don't like something," she commented. It was this attention to detail and attitude that caused Altruist, then a very young establishment, to record a mere 20% contraction in business during the coronavirus pandemic. Customers keep coming back and ordering takeout.

The sweet part of family business

Rumyana doesn't see any negatives in working with her family. He says it's wonderful to be together all the time and talk about all kinds of topics, feeling closer.

For now, the family has almost filled the working capacity of Altruist, which has also had a pleasant summer garden in the backyard of the building it is housed in for several months. But Rumyana and her sons are already thinking about expansion - for a second establishment, where possibly more s alty things can be offered.

At this stage, her family has not set a deadline for this to happen, and is currently in the process of clearing everything necessary to get the second establishment up and running.

"It's one thing to work alone, as a family, another is with 10 people, a third is with 20-30," commented Rumyana. "A family business doesn't allow for that kind of growth, but we're going to have to go to the more corporate step and get a little bigger."

The place for the new establishment has not been chosen yet, and Rumyana wants things to happen naturally, without the pressure of deadlines and excessive haste.

And to move this business forward, the Altruist team uses a number of technologies. Rumyana says that without them nothing can happen.

“I use them around the clock. In the morning they send me online messages about what is missing, about what needs to be done. We have groups in which we send each other things we have done, seen, happened to us, we exchange opinions," she shares. The orders themselves also happen online, and Altruist actively uses all communication channels, including Facebook, Viber and Instagram.

The company uses a bundled internet, phone and TV service that includes radio playing for guests.

For Rumyana, the magic of Altruist is that it is both modern and family. And in 10 years, he wants to see the business as a chain, but to have the feel of a small business, "a sense of place that you don't have anywhere else".

Altruist is part of nearly 99% of the companies in Bulgaria that are small or medium in size according to data from the Ministry of Economy and Industry [1]. They provide 75% of employment on the labor market and 65% of the added value in the economy. However, for Vivacom, people like Rumyana - with their efforts, an inspiring example and a real contribution to the development of society - are real "Business Giants". Rumiana is also one of the characters in the telecom's campaign of the same name, in which real representatives of small and medium-sized businesses participate. Especially for their needs, to be more efficient and more competitive, Vivacom offers for mobile services, TV and Internet, with which they can save up to 30% of the price of telecom services.

[1] Business statistics from the Ministry of Interior website

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