Made in Croatia

Croatian Tunaholic to Take to Streets of Belgrade, Budapest...

By 27 November 2021

November the 27th, 2021 - The Croatian Tunaholic is set to spread its wings (or perhaps fins) to pastures new, including outside of Croatian borders, to Belgrade and Budapest.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, when Patrik and Vesna Janko Finderle opened a fish bar called Tunaholic in Porec last summer, which was a natural upgrade of their fishing business in their hometown, they never dreamed that guests from other cities would come just because of their street food, let alone that they'd expand their business so quickly beyond Istria, including Croatia.

After taking to Rovinj this summer, the Croatian Tunaholic franchise is currently being sold in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, while negotiations with Zagreb and Budapest are underway, and Rijeka is also expected soon. Inquiries and interests also exist for Belgrade, Novi Sad, and even Sarajevo, and they've also had invitations from Germany.

A combination of an offer and a story...

Vesna Janko Finderle believes that the Croatian Tunaholic franchise's success so far is due to a combination of a high quality offer and a well-designed story, which combines tradition and modern performance, good design and nice packaging… although she admits that they didn't expect such levels of interest.

“Tunaholic isn't an ordinary fish bar, it's a story designed down to the smallest detail, from the preparation and name of the dishes, the packaging, all the way to the design of the facility. We tried to enrich simple foods with a modern gastronomic approach, whether it's just sardines, squid or tuna, and we named the dishes after the streets of Porec and designed the packaging so that it would be convenient to carry and eat.

We found a great position in the very centre of Porec which is difficult to bypass and so the first guests came to us, and now many come to us because they've heard about us online.

Customers wait in lines during the season, so next year we're going to introduce a quicker way of ordering electronically, but our guests don't really mind waiting a bit,'' said Vesna Janko Finderle, an interior designer who is responsible for designing the equipment, packaging, the menu layout and the interior.

The Finderle family has been involved in the fishing industry for almost 30 years and they offer tourists fishing trips on their Hedonist boat, including big game tuna fishing. In addition to their own catch, they procure fish from reliable sources, and this is a condition that future franchisors of the Croatian Tunaholic brand will have to meet.

In addition to fishing, Patrick Finderle is in charge of gastronomic offer and the recipe design. Lawyer Matko Sanjin Jovanovic, who is in charge of concluding deals, as well as Andrija Colak, the owner of the Surf’n’Fries franchise and a franchise consultant, who helped them set up the entire concept of the Tunaholic Fish Bar franchise, also have a significant role in the project.

A great contribution is also made by the Bold agency, which has taken on the role of PR in all potential franchises, in order to keep the brand recognisable and unified.

“Important links in our chain are also the two Anas, one is a photographer and the other is a graphic designer. During the first season alone we saw that there is great interest in our story and we decided to protect the name and trademark as soon as possible. In addition to Croatia, we're currently looking at the wider European market. Rovinj was followed by inquiries from Croatia and the immediate region, some we rejected, some we negotiated with. It's important for us to have serious and reliable partners to guarantee the quality of the Croatian Tunaholic brand.

Ljubljana is being realised and some partners in Budapest are also interested in the food truck concept, so we're now looking at how to solve all of that.

In Zagreb, we've had several inquiries from the city centre, which is important for our location as it should be in a busy place, preferably in the city centre. Large shopping malls are also possible. Now the summer season is over and we can dedicate ourselves to franchising, in the summer we told everyone to wait until October for the crowds to pass,'' said Vesna Janko Finderle.

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