Turkish fast food sector keeps on growing

Fast food is everywhere these days. Take a walk around seemingly any capital city anywhere in the world, and you’ll find all those familiar worldwide brands, and local favourites. It’s much the same in Turkey.

Fast food is everywhere these days. Take a walk around seemingly any capital city anywhere in the world, and you’ll find all those familiar worldwide brands, and local favourites. It’s much the same in Turkey.

Convenience dining options are sweeping across the nation, mirroring exciting growth amongst the greater HoReCa sector. With it comes a change in Turks’ dining habits – and signals to suppliers how changes in Turkish society affects your market entry options. 

Fast food in Turkey: a $2.4 billion market

Much like other nations’, Turkey’s fast food market doesn’t deal with pennies and change. It’s a multi-billion-dollar behemoth.
Speaking in September 2017, Senior Manager of Domino’s Pizza Turkey and Eurasia, Aslan Saranga, estimated the market’s size at TL10 billion. In dollars, that’s roughly $2.4 billion.
Increasingly, Turkey is becoming a geography where fast food battles, already very familiar to countries in Western Europe and North America, are playing out. International brands and chains are well established here – but domestic companies still own significant chunks of the market of course.
The financial health and stability of this sector is strong – and getting stronger. Euromonitor reported that, in 2016, 5% more fast food outlets were opened nationwide, including many in Anatolia’s furthest reaches.

TAB Gida: Turkey’s fast food kings 

As is the case in territories worldwide, Fast Food chains use franchise systems to spread their presence in this geography. In Turkey, there is one franchisee that stands head and shoulders above the rest: TAB Gida.
Since securing the rights to set up Burger King restaurants across Turkey in 1995, TAB Gida has grown to control 40% of the entire convenience dining segment. According to TAB’s website, it operates 1,132 restaurants as part of its empire, including some of the biggest American names in the business.

TAB Gida runs:
• 651 Burger King restaurants
• 200 Popeyes chicken restaurants
• 135 Usta Dönerci doner restaurants
• 78 Sbarro pizza restaurants
• 68 Arby’s sandwich restaurants
Despite this market dominance, there are still plenty of foreign franchises owned by other market competitors.
Take KFC. The world famous fried chicken restaurant’s Turkish wing is owned by Dubai’s Abraaj Group, which purchased the franchise rights from the American holding company Yum! Brands in 2015.
Elsewhere, there is of course McDonald’s, which has been operating in Turkey for over 30 years. But despite its global fast food stranglehold, the Golden Arches do not reign supreme in this territory with just 225 outlets nationwide.
While the number of restaurants in a given country is usually an indicator of that given brand’s popularity, it doesn’t tell the whole story. A survey from Mediabrands and Insight Research provides a snapshot of Turks’ convenience dining preferences. Participants were asked to rank their favourite chain, with the following results:
• Burger King – 46%
• Domino’s – 43%
• McDonald’s – 36%
• Baydöner – 29%
• KFC – 25%
Baydöner is unique amongst favourites as it Turkish cuisine, made by Turks, from a wholly Turkish-owned business.

Soceital changes fuel Turkish convenience dining growth

Much like in the larger HoReCa sector, which incorporates hotels, cafes, and full-service restaurants, shakeups in Turkish society are fuelling the fast food sector.
Number one is Turks’ growing purchasing power. Since the start of the decade, average incomes have dramatically risen, peaking at over $13,000 in 2016. With more cash to spend, Turkey’s population is spending more on consumer goods, rather than the bare essentials, leading to this shift in dining habits.
The price of this extra income is longer hours. Research from Eurostat reveals Turks on average work 9 hours more per week than European employees. Turks are busy, busy, busy – and finding less time to prepare home cooked meals.
Turks are also an exceptionally young people. The median age hovers around 30. Indeed, of the respondents to the aforementioned Mediabrands/Insight Research survey into fast food habits in Turkey, 45% were aged 16-34.
All of these factors are the perfect blend convenience dining to reach a new level – and it looks like this is happening in Turkey right now.

Find fast food chain buyers & more at WorldFood Istanbul

As Turkey’s leading food and drink trade show, WorldFood Istanbul attracts the major players of the Turkish food industry, including buyers from across Turkey, including fast food buyers, restaurateurs, HoReCa sector members, retailers, and others.
Over 13,000 visitors from Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, attended last year’s show – all looking to find the very best partners and products to expand their operations.
Boost your sales in this thriving geography by securing a top stand location here.
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