Pandeli, which has become an important part of history rather than a business… He started in Istanbul, where he came from at a young age, as a porter, his father’s profession, as a dishwasher, a barber, and a grocery apprentice, as a pizza player in a mobile car. … We are listening to the story of Pandeli Restaurant in the historical Spice Bazaar and the sector from the Business Manager Özay Çınar.
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?
Pandeli Lokantası is an artisan restaurant founded in 1901 by Pandeli Çobanoğlu, named after its founder. Our first founder started this business by making meatballs and piyaz in a wheelbarrow, and then he started selling dry beans. Later, as he gained fame with each passing day, he opened a small shop for himself and expanded the menu with each passing day. Since his customers were busy, he didn’t just stay with meatballs and piyaz, he started to try different kinds and brought them to the present day. What makes us different from other businesses, our understanding of business; based on stability. For example, we do not recruit external personnel. The employee working with Pandeli Usta continues for about 30-40 years. After that, the employees come to the present day with the master-apprentice relationship. As much as possible, we keep the classic one alive without spoiling the tastes, without creating a new, modern kitchen concept.
This is a really special place, both for the employees and for the guests. Here, we are trying to preserve memories and the past and try to keep them alive. Everyone here has a memory, a story. For example, some of our customers come and say, “I had dinner here with my father 40 years ago”, “I had dinner with my wife, he is not alive now”, “I ate Sultan’s favorite and I can find the same taste”. This makes us very happy. We want to maintain our kitchen in this way; We are trying to keep the old alive without adding any innovation. For this, I think everyone should own this place. I don’t think of this place as a commercial center, but as a cultural heritage of the Republic of Turkey. It really is that important.
What is the secret of your success? What do you need to do well in this industry? What would you recommend to new entrepreneur candidates who want to enter the sector?
As I just mentioned, the secret of our success is the stability of the personnel and of course the suppliers. You came a week ago, you had a very good meal, you brought your guest, you do not encounter a very different understanding of taste. You can find the same taste. Continuity is very important here. The fact that the suppliers are the same and they know what kind of material you are working with requires many years of experience.
For entrepreneurs who will start a new business, of course, some things were a little easier in the past, now life conditions have become more difficult, I definitely recommend that they go and work in another place before starting this job. I think they should go into the kitchen for at least 3-5 months, see how things are progressing and gain experience.
What do you think are the most fundamental problems of the food and beverage industry? Corona virus is already a problem. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the industry? Why?
Of course, a very optimistic picture is not being drawn in this process. But there is an economic crisis in which the whole world is in. Yes, maybe the food and beverage industry used to be really good in terms of profitability. But lately it has become very difficult. It should be well calculated. And as I mentioned before, when entering this sector, one should definitely enter and gain experience, especially the kitchen side should be known very well. It must be well calculated. Everything is too expensive. Customer portfolio is very important, location is very important. All of these need to be calculated.
Why did you choose Arkhe? What did this choice bring to your business? Can you evaluate the before and after?
Before Arkhe, we did not work with many online systems. We were working manually. However, other companies and managers of the group we are in were working with Arkhe and they were very pleased and said that they should bring Arkhe here as well. And we started using it. After using it, we found that some things were actually much easier. Faster, more practical. We are able to respond quickly to the customer. This is a big advantage for us. Because this is a place that only provides lunch service and wants fast service. That’s why we are very happy with Arkhe, we recommend it to everyone.