Alaf Restaurant was established 2 years ago. This is a chef restaurant where the chefs take an active role and show themselves at the table. A restaurant, not a restaurant. This environment actually makes us different from other restaurants and restaurants. I can summarize the difference of Alaf as adapting to variability, creating menus according to daily products, and weighing the pulse of the table very well.
What is the secret of your success? What do you need to do well in this industry? What advice would you give to new entrepreneur candidates who want to enter the sector?
Generally, people enter this sector on a whim. However, we can see that those who do not really understand this business fail within 1-2 years. No matter how good your products are, knowing the business is very important. Purchasing, production and pricing are very important. Make as many technical dishes as you want, learn all the techniques in the world and try to reflect them on the table piece by piece. If the price-performance relationship is not correct and does not catch the local guests, the business starts to spiral after a while. My advice to those who enter the sector is to adjust the price-performance correctly as much as they care about how good and the right product is.
What do you think are the most fundamental problems of the food and beverage industry? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the industry? Why?
In my opinion, the main problem of the food and beverage sector is; Crises that occur in two-year terms… Sometimes it can be political and sometimes economic… The result is reflected in the economy in any case, of course. Every two years, we are faced with a crisis caused by terrorist or social events.
During the 15 years I worked in Istanbul, this is what happened to many chef restaurants I grew up with and saw. And of course mine too. Now, the Corona virus, which has shaken not only Turkey but the world… In this difficult epidemic crisis, we might not have survived either.
We can define the group we serve as the middle upper class; a class that is affected very quickly by crises and gets scared very quickly.
Crises force us to keep our 3-month fixed expenses on the side. If we can stand it, we can get out of that process again. When opening a restaurant, 1 year of working capital already needs to be on the side. Also, since we are doing this job under the conditions of Turkey, it is necessary to prepare an infrastructure by including the crises that may occur every 2 years in the business plan; a longer-term business may be in question.
I am optimistic about the future of the industry. I am optimistic because; big players outside the sector, Turkey’s leading investors and holdings still see a light in the food and beverage sector and will take steps to evaluate this light in the coming years. I’m getting hints on that. On the consumer side, a correct strategy should be followed. For example, as I mentioned before, the price-performance balance is very important especially for local people. First of all, it is necessary to accustom the local guests to the restaurant business. After that, I think we will be able to find a place for ourselves in the world market, as gastronomy will develop with local guests.
Why did you choose Arkhe? What did this choice bring to your business? Can you evaluate the before and after?
Of course, the most important thing among these works is to gather the restaurant under a system, a reporting structure. Otherwise, it will turn into a business like a grocery store. At this point, with the developing technology and increasing needs in the sector, software companies started to offer options such as leasing. I have tried both purchased and leased products of many software companies. Here and in the restaurants I’ve worked in before. But at the end of the job, without managing and designing the software operation under an experienced team, it does not reach a result. Arkhe provided us with this. We can meet all our reporting needs. We can instantly correct the deficiencies during the operation. And most importantly support; We can get support even in the middle of the night and solve whatever the problem is.