We are at Kozmonot, which has opened its second branch in Bomonti after Topağacı and has been ‘the place of our neighborhood’ for years. Our guest is Cenk Ayvalı, who achieved great success despite his young age and was the coordinator of both branches. We listened to Kozmonot from him, the secret of his success and us.
Could you briefly tell us about your business? When was it founded, what did you think when you started this business? What is the most important feature that makes your business different from other businesses?
Kozmonot was founded in October 2014 in Topağacı. Nişantaşı customer at that time; “Let’s wear nice clothes, let’s open the best wine, and a polite staff member said, ‘Welcome sir, do you have any requests?’ say ‘he was used to it. On the other hand, when we came, we said, ‘Oh, what are you doing here?’ in shape, by catching a very thin line; In fact, we have created a sincere, warm, one-to-one contact flow. In the period from mid-2015 to 2017, we have created a serious audience of regulars. We hosted 190 people in the 90-person venue. Of course, when we first opened our shop in Topağacı, there were 3 venues here, and now there are 92. But we have been continuing with our regular audience for 6 years. When people come, they see something of themselves and feel more comfortable here. We do our best to make guests feel more comfortable.
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?
Rather than good food and good cocktails, our regulars are the secret of our success. Thanks to this group, we opened our 2nd branch, moreover, in a very close location. Normally, you prefer different places to capture different target audiences. However, we opened a branch upon popular demand. While opening this shop, Bomonti was a rising value, now it has become a highly preferred alternative venue. Before the opening, we had a considerable number of regulars from Bomonti. We were getting feedback such as “Nisantasi is too far, taxis do not want to take customers in the evening, so we have to choose Bomonti and closer places”. Since our target audience is here and we think we can create a new regular audience here, we actually opened to Bomonti.
Of course, there are differences between the target audiences of Bomonti and Nişantaşı. The people living in Nişantaşı are younger, they do not have an obligation to get up for work in the morning and do not have fixed hours. In Bomonti, on the other hand, those who have to get up early in the morning, which we call white-collar, have fixed working hours. For example, the night sitting hours in Nişantaşı may extend until 1 am, but we can say that this intensity ends at 10-11 in the evening in Bomonti.
I am 26 years old, I have been the manager of Kozmonot for 5 years. I started at the age of 21 in Nişantaşı. I am currently coordinating both shops. Despite my young age, it is really difficult to remove this operation. It takes experience to add a night to day. Of course, you solve them over time by meeting people on the field. Thanks to our customers and bosses, they trusted me and brought me to work. There is a young audience in the industry right now, and as they say, the young people are really “thumping”. Young business managers began to be recruited. It seems that we, the young people, will create the strategy for the new period. For example, people are now turning to new trend cocktail bars where they can feel a little more comfortable instead of fine dining restaurants.
While we were opening our new branch, we collected data from 3-5 locations. The first was Arnavutköy, the second was Bomonti, the third was Caddebostan, and the fourth was Akatlar. Here we researched which target audience we are addressing. Since we adopted the neighborhood culture as a business, we could not open a place on the street in Caddebostan. We had to open it in the back, somewhere in between, it was the same in Arnavutköy. Akatlar is already an intermediate place. We actually tried to find such places. It’s actually about what you’re addressing and knowing it well. You need to read the target audience correctly. There is something like this in Nişantaşı, for example, if there is a step at the entrance of the shop, the shop will never do business. We can say that it is necessary to enter this business by traveling, seeing and making the right plan.
What do you think are the most fundamental problems of the food and beverage industry? Coronavirus is already a problem. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the industry? Why?
One of the biggest problems of the industry right now is that our fixed expenses have not changed with the coronavirus. Social distancing, of course, makes it very difficult for us. Fixed costs, external cleaning costs have to be 5 times the standard costs. Our main problem right now is the coronavirus.
For the most fundamental problem of the food and beverage industry before the coronavirus, I would say to survive in a location-based competitive environment. For example, if a product is sold for 15 TL in one place, it is sold for 9 TL in another place, which naturally creates competition. In this case, the affordable business undermines both other businesses and itself. Because there may be sales below cost. At the root of this lies greed.
The sector was very successful between 2014 and 2016. Between 2010 and 2013, we had very good momentum. The streets were crowded, the places were crowded, the economic situation was good, people were spending good money. Then, when we said that we started to get into trouble due to economic reasons, now, after the pandemic, we started from scratch. But we know how to handle this.
Why did you choose Arkhe? What did this choice bring to your business? Can you evaluate the before and after?
We started working with Arkhe in 2014. The reason for our preference was their references. There are many options in the market that can economically solve the sales operation. But the reporting and cost part is very important. I have some friends from the industry, reporting is a nightmare for them. On the other hand, when my boss asks, I enjoy being able to give all reports instantly and completely.
What do you think is the biggest feature that distinguishes Arkhe from its competitors?
The biggest feature that distinguishes Arkhe from others is primarily communication. We’ve been like a family since 2014. If we encounter a problem at 4 am, we can get a solution. If it’s anywhere else, you can’t reach anyone at 4 – 4.30 pm, you wait for the beginning of the week or the morning working hours. But Arkhe provides instant feedback. It’s not something custom made for me, because I’m on good terms with Arkhe. I know from references that this is the service they provide to everyone. The second is reporting. If a business manager is interested in both service and purchasing, this system should be very easy and usable. This is Arkhe’s system. It is the same in the reporting part. With Arkhe, I can quickly access the right reports and perform stock control in a healthy way.