Rizgar Sak (right), Chairman of Dives Holding, which operates CZNBurak, with chef Burak Ozdemir Image Credit: Supplied

Most people would shy away from launching a restaurant, that too in a new market, in the middle of a pandemic. But Rizgar Sak, Chairman of Dives Holding, which is behind the popular Turkish brand CZNBurak, is not one of them.

Pandemic or not, Sak was convinced of the immense potential Dubai’s food and beverage sector holds.

“Times like these are great for turning obstacles into opportunities,” explains Sak. “We took the chance to expand in the GCC at a time not many businesses would take the risk, and it paid off.”

“Times like these are great for turning obstacles into opportunities. We took the chance to expand in the GCC at a time not many businesses would take the risk, and it paid off.

- Rizgar Sak, Chairman of Dives Holding

Since its launch on Christmas Day, CZNBurak at Downtown Dubai has been attracting a steady stream of celebrities and patrons, thanks to social media-savvy chef Burak Ozdemir’s following as well as Dives Holding’s top-notch marketing efforts.

With a seating capacity of 600, which can go up to 1,200 once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, CZNBurak is the biggest restaurant in Downtown Dubai. Serving a blend of Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine as well as bespoke beverages, it caters to a wide range of food enthusiasts, employing 26 different nationalities.

“The response to the restaurant has been mind-blowing,” says Sak. “People of all ages and nationalities love our food, quality and service. We have already taken big steps to ensure loyal customers.”

The big move

After setting up six successful restaurants in Turkey, Sak and his team decided it was time to turn CZNBurak into a global brand. And what better place to start that transformation than in Dubai.

“There is strong competition in the F&B sector in Dubai as there are several renowned and well-established brands in the emirate,” explains Sak. “One of our goals is to compete with the big brands and emerge successful. I believe Dubai is one of the most challenging F&B markets in the world but it is also the ideal proving ground for the success of a brand and if we can succeed here, we can definitely prove our mettle elsewhere.”

The idea to use Dubai as a springboard to expand into the region has worked in his favour so far. Construction of the first of the two CZNBurak fast food concepts scheduled for launch this year in the emirate is already under way. Chef Burak recently shared the news on Instagram, complete with a video of CZNBurger being built at Dubai Mall.

With plans afoot to make an entry into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait this year, it helps to have a social media-friendly chef on board.

“Our biggest advantage is having a celebrity chef like Burak who is loved by millions,” says Sak. “On top of that, we never compromise on the quality of food or service.”

Image Credit: Supplied

He believes these two key principles will stand Dives Holding in good stead not only in Dubai but also elsewhere in the GCC. “When great food is combined with great teamwork, success comes naturally,” he adds.

Follow CZNBurak Dubai @cznburakdubai