Local restaurant closed in Diyarbakır amid protests
Elif Ergu - ISTANBULA branch of the Big Chefs restaurant chain built on a 4,000-square-meter piece of land in Diyarbakır with a $1.5 million investment has been closed by management, after locals protested the restaurant for being constructed on municipality-owned land.
“This restaurant was launched as the first western cuisine in Diyarbakır. The Diyarbakır branch was the largest among all Big Chefs restaurants. We closed down the branch, but I and my partner, Saruhan Tan, do not plan to leave Diyarbakır, which is also my hometown. Our new branch will be opened on a smaller [piece of] land in Diyarbakır in September,” said Gamze Cizreli, a founding partner of Big Chefs.
Cizreli also said Big Chefs would continue to grow in other cities across the country and abroad.
“Our first priority is to open restaurants in cities with universities. There must be a culture of ‘eating out’ in the cities we open or will open a restaurant. For instance, income levels are very high in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, but local people there generally prefer eating at home. We plan to open restaurants in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, the southern province of Antakya and [the Aegean province of] İzmir,” she said.
She added the restaurant chain has grown by 30-40 percent annually for the last five years.
Cizreli’s partner Tan said the chain currently has 34 branches.
“We have obtained the highest revenues from our Big Chefs restaurants in Tarabya and Anadolu Hisarı in Istanbul in Turkey. Our Dubai branch, in which Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a partner, makes the highest revenue. Our chain also lures interest in the southeastern Asia countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore,” he said.
The chain will also open two branches in Saudi Arabia, Tan added.