Client Story: Olga’s Fine Foods

March 2, 2021

Initially founded in 1973, Olga’s Fine Foods is a South Australian family-owned business offering renowned pre-made patties, burgers, schnitzels, sausages and marinated steaks. They’re best known for their beef chevapchichi – an iconic food product in SA – which was pioneered by the company’s founders, Olga and George Ujvary, Sr.

Today, husband and wife team George Jr. and Helen Ujvary serve as managing director and advisory board consultant for the business. Now with over 30 employees, the company’s recent growth has been strong thanks to good relationships with Aldi, Woolworths and other independent grocers, as well as increased demand during the COVID pandemic. They also just secured a new national contract with Coles Supermarkets in January.

“Winning key national contracts has really pushed our business to the next level,” says George Jr.

Biggest challenges during their business journey & COVID

George states that one of the main challenges of the business overall has been managing the demands of big retail outlets whilst maintaining a consistent, “small family business” culture.

As with many businesses, the COVID crisis presented new opportunities as well as unforeseen obstacles. Making sure they had the right processes and procedures in place and having good relationships with suppliers during the pandemic was vital.

“Being a small supplier to large supermarkets means you’re always walking a tightrope,” says George. “Whilst COVID presented increased demand for our business, we also had to make sure we were able to continue to supply our products no matter what the pandemic threw at us.”

Keys to success

George states that consistently supplying a high-quality product and delivering high levels of service to customers, as well as having high levels of tenacity, has been extremely important.

“Keeping your knowledge up-to-date in all areas – with your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders – is important, too,” he notes.

When asked about advice for other business owners, George says, “Always ensure you have hold of the reigns of your business and never let them go.”

How Oreon has been involved in their journey

Olga’s has been a client of Chris Gebhardt from Oreon Partners for over 25 years and during that time, Oreon has assisted the company with everything from tax, budgeting and compliance matters to finance reviews, risk insurance and advice on profit improvement.

More recently, Oreon has provided guidance on estate and succession planning, moving the control of the company from George Sr. to George Jr. and subsequently implementing advisory meetings, involving Helen Ujvary as a key advisor.

“Whilst having some level of profitability has always been good, planning for profit in the future has not always been one of our strong points,” says George. “We now spend a significant amount of time planning for the future in ways we didn’t do before, thanks to our work with Oreon. Their people are the best.”

Plans for the future

The Olga’s team would ultimately like to establish the brand as a well-known and trusted food provider across Australia and then explore international export opportunities. With their steady growth and increased brand awareness during the pandemic, it appears they are well on their way to future success.

For more information visit Olga’s Fine Foods website and make sure you pick up some of their delicious products at your local supermarket!

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