INTERVIEW | TOLGA ATALAY
“UNUSUAL DECISIONS SOMETIMES OPEN DIFFERENT DOORS”
Tolga Atalay, Founding President of Solid Consulting Group, which provides concept consultancy to food-beverage section of Barut Hotels, and Expert Chef, is our guest. We talked about the Mezze Festival and several details we think we know about food and beverage that we consume three times a day in average.
Firstly, what are the details that we do not take into consideration as a consumer? Can you tell us a little bit?
In fact, what we do is more scientific than it seems. Our job includes certain stages, just like any proper job. The first and the most important stage among these is the SWOT analysis, which is studying strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats, of a projected product. This analysis is carried out under the headings product, concept and location. The second stage is competition analysis. The status of both direct and indirect competitors in terms of position and product is very important.
Then comes the behavioral analysis. Age, economic group, and sometimes even ethnicity-oriented behavior analysis is carried out. The most important part of the process is productization through reading the analysis. This process is similar to the fact that some patients interpret the same ink patterns shown by a psychologist in a different manner. Here, it is important to read the right in its most creative form.
It’s like a meal that doesn’t have a certain recipe, but is delicious and should always be consistent!
Yes, exactly. Sometimes the decisions that seem to be unfavorable can open very different doors. Then creativity steps in; but the recipe is as follows: Targets + Analysis + Momentum + World trends + Professional instinct + Vision + Creativity + Mathematics = Result; i.e. the concept that people will like and want to experience. It doesn’t end here; then the noisy feasibility process starts. The feasibility provides us the investment budget, and then comes the actualization of the designs through creative approaches by correct budget based on new color, shape, function and visual and subconscious perception desired to be created.Product, quantity, size and target optimization of the concept is the most important part of the process. Now the product is shaped and has a target, audience and product oriented design, architectural form and dimensions.
Has the project of Barut Hotels undergone all of these processes?
Greatly, and still does. In Barut, each food & beverage point undergoes these processes; the menus are shaped, prescribed and presented upon these steps. Sometimes we hold comprehensive meetings to create a single flavor. The value given to food and beverage by Barut Group is incredible. All managers and whole team, from production to presentation, check the taste and hygiene is highly important. What makes Barut experience the most challenging but also pleasant is that there is no limit of research. They work with a passion to raise the level of every position they can achieve. This is enough to succeed in our work, but it never ends.
I guess we, as a customer, haven’t even entered yet.
Yes, you have to wait for what we call menu engineering. Menu engineering is set by a specific science in accordance with the product sales forecast, rate, hours, price and content. Menu graphic design is shaped and colored by the same science; it is shaped by the font type, age group, operation hours of the place, sun and light values and outdoor climatic natural light values. Personnel outfit, bar and kitchen design and details require very critical precision. Small fixture accessories are selected by taking into consideration the product color criteria and space colors. “In other words, if you act like “Dotty plates are in fashion or I saw colorful enamelware on Internet, let’s buy it right away” and copy without any basis, this would result in an unsustainable and simple position. Personnel recruitment is also concept-oriented. Personnel profile should be determined, and the personnel should be developed by a detailed training package such as guest psychology, sales on recommendation, concept, space, orientation and all other trainings. Trainings should be supplied both in the kitchen and dining hall. Whole staff should taste food and beverage, and a language for expression should be determined.
All wholesale markets in the region, i.e. fish market, vegetable market or if required, dairy farms should be inspected. The material wastage rates should be calculated in accordance with the real values and production, not by rote. Then, the music, fragrance and light scenarios should be determined. In the meantime, the marketing plan, which should be initiated beforehand, is brought to agenda. Then comes the bridges that will reach the guest, marketing language of the enterprise, social media, printed matters, in-house marketing, reflections of the spirit of the enterprise, and now it is time to say to the guest “I am here or I was born or I am ready”. Pre-opening, soft-opening and when all deficiencies are observed and overcome, Grand Opening