SiGMA Europe 2023 has had a major impact on sales, the owner of a pastizzeria in Marsa has told WhosWho.mt.
The major iGaming conference has dominated local headlines over the past week for both right and wrong reasons.
The event, which started on Monday and is set to end on Friday 17th November (today), has seen 25,000 delegates, over 750 operators, 200 speakers, as well as 800 sponsors and exhibitors. However, the choice of location, the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), has come under increased scrutiny, particularly since it is located in Marsa, the epicentre of the road network connecting Malta’s southern region.
Despite these concerns, the location of the event proved to be a blessing in disguise for the unlikeliest of businesses - a pastizzeria.
Located just a few metres away from the entrance of the conference at Labour Road, Marsa, Jeff’s Pastizzeria has more than benefitted from SiGMA Europe’s controversial location. Pick-up and drop-off spots were situated very close to the pastizzeria, with a bus stop also located right in front of it.
Contacted by WhosWho.mt, Owner Jeffrey Farrugia said that the event has undoubtedly resulted in an increase in sales.
The influx of visitors to the area was not only driven by the masses flocking to attend the conference, but also because of workers involved in the event’s organisation and operations, many of whom stopped by the pastizzeria.
Jeff's Pastizzeria at Labour Road, Marsa / Facebook
Even though there were food stalls spread across SiGMA Europe, the prices at many of those eating spots were extortionate. One particular food stall was selling pizzas for prices ranging between €6 to €7 per slice.
Therefore, it is no wonder why many took it upon themselves to go for the cheaper options presented at Jeff’s Pastizzeria.
According to Mr Farrugia, the busiest time of the day was between 10am and noon, “possibly because many of these workers at SiGMA Europe were on their break” during those hours.
Prices at one of the food stalls at SiGMA Europe 2023
This unprecedented increase in demand also resulted in a bigger strain on human resources.
Pastizzerias tend to operate with one or two employees at each particular location, yet Mr Farrugia confirmed that more customers has resulted in more workers being assigned to that pastizzeria.
“We normally have two people working at the Labour Road pastizzeria, but we had to increase the numbers by another worker to match the demand,” he explained.
One of the major downsides of the event’s location has been the major traffic issues that it has presented.
The large number of visitors, coupled with limited parking spaces available, prompted many to use taxis rather than their private cars. However, a lack of efficient traffic management led to congestion in Marsa, stretching all the way to Kappara. In several cases, visitors had to stop or park far away from the event’s location, walking the rest of the way there.
SiGMA Founder Eman Pulis addressed these issues on Thursday, stating that he regrets the inconvenience caused, yet noted that these serve as valuable lessons learnt ahead of next year’s event.
In spite of these traffic issues, Mr Farrugia remarked that a number of Jeff’s Pastizzeria’s regular customers still made their way to the pastizzeria to satisfy their appetite.
“Our normal customers still came to the pastizzeria since it is their usual route to and from work,” he said.
With Mr Pulis stating that exhibitors want to have even “bigger spaces” next year, it remains to be seen whether SiGMA Europe 2024 will be held at the MMH. But one thing’s for sure: Jeff’s Pastizzeria will definitely be keeping a close eye for any announcements.
Jeff's Pastizzeria's / Facebook