Earlier this month (February) Mark and Dan travelled to one of the world’s most beautiful cities to join EPCAS (European Caterers Association) for two days of food, culture and learning in Athens, Greece. The Boulevard brothers were asked to travel to the EPCAS Winter Assembly to share the story of our 30 year family business as part of the association’s ‘Future on stage’ series, where growing companies share their passion and success stories.
The goal of EPCAS is to bring together caterers from all over Europe (actually all over the world – Eptings Events came and joined us all the way from Georgia!) and create an environment for them to learn from each other, tell stories of growth and success and build a network of colleagues to reach beyond the realms of their own towns and cities. They certainly achieved that and much more.
The atmosphere was vibrant from start to finish, with all attendees happy and excited to be there and meet new people. Owners and CEOs from some of the largest catering firms in Europe met with new start-ups and small yet established family businesses like ours, all with the common goal of learning from people who share this passion for food and service.
Quite possibly one of the most majestic event spaces we’ve seen on our travels. All the history of a 1st century Byzantine castle from the Spartan era of Greek history, but coupled with the hospitality and service of a high end London restaurant. The in-house caterer Intercatering, who took amazing care of us from start to finish, excelled themselves with a delicious 4 course meal. The Estate consists of numerous fully equipped, character filled, interiors halls; as well as an exquisite exterior garden facility which hosts a lovely swimming pool, large verandas surrounded by beautiful seasonal flowers and cobble stone terraces. The basement banquet hall can host seated dinners for up to 400 and the Mesogaia venue as many as 3500. It is well worth the trip, even if you aren’t planning an event in Athens anytime soon, a visit to the 55 acre site might just inspire you to plan one.
Keynote speech from Herman Konings
Herman Konings is an international trend watcher, with a masters in theoretical psychology. He has given in excess of 2000 speeches on the subject of behavioural trends and social shifts. Herman gave an absolutely fascinating speech that was superbly designed to cater (pun intended) for the audience and provide valuable insight into human behaviour. If you ever have an opportunity to watch Herman speak, we recommend you take it. He has an incredibly engaging voice and articulates his points in a fun and intriguing way, providing practical implications and take homes that will help improve your marketing.
Our personal highlight: When it comes to macro behavioural change, the younger generation influences the older generation far more than the other way around. Why is this important? The things that millennials care about (health, equality, the environment, veganism, social media) will all be adopted by the older generation…
Tour of the Akropolis and Parthenon
I don’t imagine many people will visit Athens without taking a trip around the Akrolopis and Parthenon, it’s a bit like coming to London and not seeing Big Ben. Often these two attractions are confused with one another or used interchangeably, but there is a distinction. To put you ahead of the game before your trip to Athens, here’s the difference:
The Akropolis is a citadel which sits atop a rocky mountain overlooking the city of Athens and contains many ancient buildings, one of which is the The Parthenon; a special temple dedicated to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and patron of Athens. You’re welcome!
If you want to make the most of the cultural side of Athens, book a tour with Athens Free Walking Tours, they work on a voluntary contribution basis and their guides will most certainly enhance your cultural experience of Athens. They tell unique and interesting tales while showing you the historic sites, making everything that much more interesting and adding another layer of knowledge that you can’t get on your own.
A tip: Take more pictures than you feel comfortable with, you never know which subtle angle or backdrop will make the best memory, it’s usually the one you least expected so don’t be shy and snap as many as you can, you’ll thank us afterwards.
The Electra Metropolis Hotel
The Electra Metropolis Hotel is one of the loveliest hotels we have stayed in, exceptional staff right from the front door to the rooftop bar, everyone was smiling and welcoming. We had barely opened the door to our taxi before we received our first “welcome to Athens.” The rooms were clean and decorated to a very high standard, the breakfast was diverse, well presented and tasted great. Without doubt the biggest selling point was the view from the rooftop bar, which is also where you eat breakfast. We’ll let the below picture do the talking for us…
- No matter how big and successful a company is, the same challenges exist.
- Creating a culture of people who share your vision is the single most important thing for any business.
- Pizza is the biggest market in the takeaway industry.
- In Russia, leaving a crease in the middle of a table cloth is often considered a lack of attention to detail.
- In a world where digital is becoming more and more prominent, the nostalgia of the physical and sensory experience is where the magic is. Don’t forget this when planning or contributing to an event.
All in all, our experience in Athens was exceptional, we would like to thank the entire EPCAS team for organising such a well-executed conference and overall experience, Intercatering for hosting us so superbly at all your locations and the other members who were some of the friendliest and most intriguing people we have ever met.