Kras D D

In Slovenia I visited a chocolate company (Zito) so it makes sense to visit one in Croatia. Kras, with over $130 million in revenues and 2,100 employees, manufactures chocolate, cookies and candy. Kras, started in 1911, was government-owned until being privatized in 1992---though the government still retains a stake.

Cycling four miles from Zagreb's city center brings me to the headquarters of Kras. Across the street is part of the University of Zagreb campus. A big Kras sign sits atop the five-story head office and in the rear you can see a large factory complex. As per my usual practice, I cycle around the perimeter of the place to get a feel of its size and what's the surrounding area is like. Just next to the Kras property stands a small complex of shops and one looks to be a Kras factory outlet store so I check it out. Wow, there's a huge selection of Kras chocolate and cookies. I decide to hold off buying a few goodies to sample because I don't know if I'll be loaded down with samples from my visit to Kras.

Checking in I count two plants (real) and eight hanging plants (real) in the otherwise barren Kras reception area. Don't see a single Kras product advertised or on display nor are there any goodies for visitors to sample. I explain to the receptionist my mailing a letter of introduction a month earlier to CEO Nadan Vidosevic. Calls are made and I'm eventually put on the phone with Irena Jenjic, Marketing Assistant. Though she knows nothing about letter, Jenjic generously agrees to answer my questions.

According to Jenjic this building was built in 1980 but, it looks much older. About 600 people work onsite (including the two factories & head office), employee parking is free and plentiful, there's a company cafeteria and smoking is allowed in offices. There's no formal dress code with casual Fridays observed, it's a 20-minute drive to the nearest freeway and a 25- minute drive to Zagreb's airport. Any unusual employee perks? No. This tightwad company doesn't even give employees a discount on its chocolate or cookies. I can't see CEO Vidosevic's second floor corner office or the boardroom. Matter of fact, I don't make it past the lobby.

During my travels through Belgium and Switzerland I visited a slew of cookie and chocolate companies. My friends were always asking whether these companies loaded me down with free goodies (many times the answer was "yes"-especially in Switzerland) so; I started keeping tabs on such things. Here at Kras I was allowed to leave empty-handed. Then again, this was and partly still is a government-run concern---enough said.

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