Fast food kebab chain Baydöner named 'entrepreneur of year'

Fast food kebab chain Baydöner named 'entrepreneur of year'

Hülya GÜLER ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Fast food kebab chain Baydöner named entrepreneur of year

Baydöner Deputy Chairman Feridun Tuncer is pictured at the award ceremony.

Baydöner, a Turkish döner kebab chain, has been awarded the top honor at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which were organized for the ninth time in Turkey Feb. 20. 

The prestigious ceremony took place in Çırağan Palace in cooperation with daily Hürriyet, CNN Türk and Endeavor, hosted Turkey’s Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık and Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, as well as the leading businessmen and businesswomen in the country.

The five companies that qualified for the final, Baydöner, Bürotime, Doğuş Çay, Logo and Özsüt, were represented by their top managers. The final decision of the jury, presided over by Hanzade Doğan Boyner, chairperson of Doğan Online and Doğan Gazetecilik, was not revealed until the last moment, as contenders couldn’t contain their excitement.

In her speech, Boyner emphasized the “spirit” of entrepreneurship in Turkey was a source of attention in the world now, but the real issue was how to set it in motion. 

“We’ve seen that all our entrepreneurs are taking risks, working hard and acting with their creativity. I congratulate them all. The winner of the award will represent Turkey in Monte Carlo [in the global final of The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards],” Boyner said.

Minister Işık, on the other hand, stressed success was not coincidental. 

“We see that entrepreneurship in science and technology is a must to reach Turkey’s year 2023 goals. This is why we took important steps to support entrepreneurship. Now, the state supports those who have ideas,” he added.

After the jury, which included daily Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief Enis Berberoğlu alongside Turkey’s distinguished CEOs, announced the award winner as Baydöner, the company’s CEO Levent Yılmaz and his deputy Feridun Tuncer took the stage and vowed to become “a global döner brand.” 

Summarizing the story of Baydöner, which was founded in 2006-2007 to create a fast-food franchise based on popular demand for döner, Yılmaz said: “We now have 78 branches in 34 provinces. We also have three branches abroad, one in Azerbaijan and two in Iraq. Our target is to have 150 branches in Turkey and 30 branches abroad by the end of 2018.”