Out of a single premise in Budapest, Benei makes and sells wafers, cookies, gingerbread and other delicacies. Some are sold under the Benei name, while others go to supermarket chains that sell them under their in-house brands.
“We supply almost all the major retailers in Hungary, including CBA, Tesco, Auchan, Cora, Spar, Profi, Lidl and Metro,” Mr. Fajván says. “Some have been buying from us for 15 years.”
Employing 150 people in the four months leading up to Christmas and 130 at other times, Benei makes annual revenue of more than two billion HUF (eight million EUR).
Production staffers work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in two shifts, using premium machines from the Austrian equipment maker Haas.
The Benei dynasty was selling pastries as far back as 1900, and the company as it presently exists was founded in 1983.
Benei does not seek rapid growth, preferring a manageable rise year to year. The biggest step forward so far was the acquisition of its premises in 1997 that formerly housed a dairy.
These premises are now too small and Benei plans to expand them. Benei has always been familyowned, and currently it has four shareholders. It is mostly in the hands of László Benei and his wife, and smaller stakes are held by their son, László, and daughter, Kinga Fajván Benei, who is Mr. Fajván’s wife.
Those owners, together with Mr. Fajván, make up the management. Benei’s status as a family business is key to its culture. “My parents-in-law are involved in the operative business every day,” Mr. Fajván says. “And it is not unusual for me to step into the gap if one of our delivery drivers is unavailable.”
Mr. Fajván has been with the company for more than nine years and oversees finances, purchasing, logistics and domestic sales.
His wife takes care of exports, which currently make up 30% of turnover and include sales in Romania, Austria, Germany, Italy and Slovakia.
Benei aims to double its exports. Other expansion plans for the future include creating new products and building logistics centres in and outside Hungary.
Also in planning is the enlargement of the main location, for which Benei és Társa Kft has managed to attain a tender that will be used to realize this project. But Benei will continue to be familyowned, with all the qualities that go with that status.
“We are valued for our expert knowledge, open-mindedness and dedication to customer service,” says Mr. Fajván. “As we grow, more clients will know and respect us for those things.”