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  • Writer's picturePeter Backman

Simit Sarayi - the 'One to Watch'

As consumers increasingly look for something different on the high street, operators that offer a product or service that stands out from the crowd, are benefitting from the demand. In my latest ‘Ones To Watch’ report, brands such as Shake Shack and German brand Doner Kebab are making strong inroads into the market.

Many of the brands that are doing well are from overseas. We’ve had Nando’s from South Africa, Vapiano from Germany and of course, plenty from the USA. Now, Turkey is making its debut with Simit Sarayi, which is the latest big one to watch in my opinion.

Its signature product is the Simit; a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds, referred to in the US as a Turkish bagel.  Large in Turkey, with a store on ‘every street corner’, the brand claims to have 400 stores globally with another 150 rolling out this year (100 will be outside Turkey) and serves 1 million customers every day. Its presence is wide reaching, including England, Netherlands, USA, Lebanon, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq. With 13 stores in the UK and two more in the pipeline, there are rumours that the brand will be acquiring a chain, potentially growing the Simit Sarayi brand to 100 stores.

The brand was established in 2002, when it set out to ‘bake with love’ at its first store and by 2004 had 18 stores across Istanbul. In 2005, it founded the world’s first simit factory and transitioned to a franchising model in 2007 to enable fast growth. In 2010, it branched outside Turkey and opened its first store in the Netherlands, followed by a cake factory and a branch in Saudi Arabia. Reaching for the sky in 2013, it began offering airline catering services and crossed continents to open its first store in New York. In 2015, it started to bake simits on Oxford Street and in 2017 built a strategic partnership with Fawaz Alhokair Group. Today, it is the growing global brand of Turkey with more than 11,000 employees across 22 countries.

According to its Chairman - Abdullah Kavukçu - there are plans to open 930 stores within three years, to become a household name across the world. Watch this space….

If you’d like to chat to me about Simit Sarayi, other brands to watch, or would like a complimentary extract from my Ones To Watch report, please contact me at or give me a call on 07785 242809.



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