BASTA gives you that big-city feel in a small-city setting

BASTA gives you that big-city feel in a small-city setting

The feeling when stepping into a BASTA restaurant is one of relaxation, genuineness and informality. There’s colour, life, movement: things are happening here. There is good music and what’s more, nothing feels perfect – in a good way. Thoughts drift to city districts in big urban centres anywhere in the world, and for just one second, you imagine you are in Barcelona or New York. In such a place as BASTA, you want to eat well, meet your friends, feel good – and it all has a sense of urban-style quality.

Many want to experience the urban style that BASTA can offer. When it opened its first restaurant in Falun, the queues out onto the street were long. Then, when it opened its restaurant in Borlänge, tables were booked for 800 people within the space of a few short hours. Both restaurants have an average of 6000 guests each month. There is now a restaurant in Gävle too, and by the autumn, the doors to its restaurant in Sundsvall will open for the first time. It is a “corporate group” on the move!

– We want to write the pages of Italian restaurant history in Sweden. That’s how high we have set our sights. How far we make it and how quickly we can grow is yet to be seen. It also has to happen at a tempo that allows us to retain that authentic quality. Change that and we lose the vision we have for BASTA, states Managing Director Brazer Bolzlak, who operates the Basta Urban Group with colleague Kristjan Longar, Operational Manager.

Motivated by change and business development

Both Brazer and Kristjan have a sporting background – football and volleyball to be specific. Because of this, they are driven by results. They trigger each other to make changes and improvements in the development of their businesses. Every day, they see their work as a match: they both like to win and they both want to perform at their best. They both agree that every great business is built on friendship.

The importance of the BASTA experience

-We believe that we can always deliver just that little bit extra – from the welcome at the door to the seating of our customers, the serving of their food and the payment of their bills. We are there at each step of the experience. We want everyone to leave our restaurants happy so that they share with others their positive experience and choose to return. If we manage that, then we have succeeded!

How can you do that successfully?

– We build structures and processes. We place importance on quality not quantity. That is to say, it is the quality of our restaurants that counts, not how many we have. We will only expand at a rate that allows us to retain quality.

BASTA is one big urban family

– We want our restaurants to be motors for integration within the community. Between us, we speak about fifteen languages and we care about one another. We have created an atmosphere where people are both heard and seen. We lead as we learn, which is why we have low staff turnover. In our recruitment practices, we look at quality and personality. We can offer a secure and safe workplace. And they know that leadership is important and that setting a good example is important too – making demands of one another but also, of course, being respectful to one another while building trust.

The future?

When a new restaurant is being considered, it is the location that is the deciding factor – and whether there is an interested property owner who is willing to commit and invest. The Urban Group has a sound quality concept, and the consensus is to establish further restaurants in other medium-sized towns in Sweden. Brazer and Kristjan have been approached to establish further restaurants, but they have declined the offers.

-We want to grow and retain the level of quality we have today; we don’t need to be everywhere. Currently, we have 45 employees, and shortly there will be 60 of us when our restaurant in Sundsvall opens. Our strength is our low staff turnover, explains Brazer.

-We aim to adapt to the future and to build on ideas. For example, we see that in Sweden, people are health conscious, and they like the open kitchen concept and experience. They want the experience to feel authentic. The concept of the Urban Group is quality growth and not to grow as fast as possible. Brazer and Kristjan talk about going with their gut instinct, but nevertheless they work by structure and pre-planned processes.

Crisis generates creativity

-We’re seeing that during these times of coronavirus, customers are adopting other patterns of consumer behaviour. Takeaway is here to stay. Both Brazer and Kristjan believe this. They adapted quickly to the situation and began offering takeaway and home delivery – concepts that are working well. They have also offered their customers lower prices if they choose to come to the restaurant itself.

– You have to think anew and dare to test out new ideas. If they don’t work, then you have to rethink things, not just stop there, states Kristjan.

Inkubator process support for business growth

The business development processes offered by Dalarna Science Park have helped Brazer and Kristjan look at their concept from different angles. Business Coach Jörgen Bond does not shy away from asking those difficult – and at times provocative – questions that trigger and challenge Brazer and Kristjan, which is exactly what they want.

– It’s not the person who wants to win most who wins. It is the person who is prepared to do the work so that they can win who has the best chances. The BASTA team is one that does what has to be done with a structured format and a clear focus on what is important for the customer. The team works unbelievably hard with both what is important right now as well as what is important in the future, says Jörgen Bond.

BASTA – open and transparent

Brazer and Kristjan work with the UN’s global goals for sustainability: how to reduce food waste and how to focus on sustainability while keeping in mind “people, profit and planet”, reporting on this by way of a “triple bottom line”. This involves reporting not only on financial results but also those that are societal and environmental. We want to be open and transparent, state Brazer and Kristjan, in relation both to our work and to the way we build our corporate group.

BASTA is a restaurant concept that is here to stay, growing through its successes and setbacks.

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