Turkish fast food chain challenges world brands
A member of Etiler Marmaris Büfe’s delivery staff poses in front of a restaurant in Mecidiyeköy, a central Istanbul neighborhood. The firm says its infrastructure is ready to support a rapid growth. The food chain is set to trade on the Istanbul bourse next month. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELEtiler Marmaris Büfe, an established fast food chain that has boosted its investments since being acquired by the local İnci Group, is now preparing to start trading on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, a move that is a part of an ambitious growth plan, says Hikmet Tanrıverdi, chairman of İnci.
“The Marmaris Büfe chain has grown to 60 branches from 22 in about a year. We aim to grow in the domestic market and then expand internationally,” Tanrıverdi told the Daily News in a phone interview yesterday.
İnci bought the brand name of Etiler Marmaris Büfe, which was founded in 1964. The company is expected to be listed on the stock exchange in April, Tanrıverdi said.
“I think there is a great opportunity in the local market, which is crowded with small stand-alone restaurants, for retail fast food chains to grow. Our competitive advantage is that the franchise offers local tastes and local food in a dependable and hygienic environment. The Etiler Marmaris Büfe is a concept that can be enhanced over time. We offer healthier food, including fresh juice and brewed tea, unlike our competitors,” he said.
Plans to expand abroad
The company is in talks to grant franchise rights in northern Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kosovo. “There is also demand from Germany and Britain,” Tanrıverdi said, adding that the franchise is ready to grow in foreign markets as soon as the necessary steps have been taken, such as logistics planning and brand registrations. “We might start establishing restaurants abroad in the second half of the year,” he added.
İnci Group plans to penetrate to other areas of the fast food retail segment, with offerings such as köfte, döner kebab, and desserts. “The retail sector in general, and food retail in particular, is set to grow more and more as incomes increase and the habit of eating out spreads,” he said, adding that some 30-40 percent of Etiler Marmaris Büfe’s sales come from internet orders. The company takes 20,000 orders per month via a single online food portal, Tanrıverdi said. “Working parents are the driving force behind the rise in internet orders.”
Etiler Marmaris Büfe’s move to go public may encourage other local fast food retailers such as Simit Sarayı as well, according to Tanrıverdi.