IN THE COMPANY OF: Cuneyt Yazicioglu, director of Sirius Café and Bakery in Harrogate

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
In the latest of our ‘In the Company Of’ features, we spoke to Cuneyt Yazicioglu, director of Sirius Café and Bakery in Harrogate.

Name: Cuneyt Yazicioglu

Age: 43

Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey

Cuneyt Yazicioglu, director of Sirius Café and Bakery in HarrogateCuneyt Yazicioglu, director of Sirius Café and Bakery in Harrogate
Cuneyt Yazicioglu, director of Sirius Café and Bakery in Harrogate

Job title: Director

Company name: Sirius Café & Bakery

Company address: 9 Beulah Street, Harrogate, HG1 1QQ

Website address: Find us on Facebook!

Company founded: 2021

Turnover: n/a

Number of staff: 5

Q: In a nutshell, what does your company do and how did it start?

A: Sirius is a new café that offers homemade food inspired by Turkey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I wanted to bring some flavours from my home city Istanbul to Harrogate.

As well as offering Turkish treats we also offer homemade pizza, sandwiches, panini and traditional breakfast items.

The most important part was finding a good location in Harrogate and we found an old card store that had unfortunately closed down so this paved the way for Sirius to be born.

Beulah Street is becoming such a good location for quite a few independently-run cafés that offer flavours from around the world.

Q: What’s the most surprising thing about it?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A: I was dubious that people would want to try new things, but they do, and that really motivates me to create new dishes for the menu.

Some things don’t work, but we soon found that out as we originally opened as more of a takeaway venue but quickly found people wanted to sit indoors.

So we closed after only being open for two months and did a refurb that now includes 15 tables.

Q: What do you do?

A: At the very start I was showing the staff exactly how we need to do things, however we now have a few other employees from Turkey and they know how things should be done the Turkish way, which is really good service and serving tasty food.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So it’s good to be more hands-off and being a bit more front-of-house, welcoming our customers and ensuring they have a pleasant visit.

Q: How did you end up here?

A: I’ve been living in North Yorkshire for 24 years. I came to the UK to study at the age of 18 and ended up staying.

I previously ran a Turkish restaurant but I think the location hindered its success.

Since opening Sirius in Harrogate we have done so much better and are really thankful for the local customer base we have here.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I didn’t really stay for the weather, but then again, after the summer we have just had, maybe I did.

Q: If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

A: A very difficult question to answer as I’ve been solely interested in food and flavours for a number of years.

I also used to cut hair but I’m not sure it excites me enough to do it full-time again.

I think I am always destined to be entrepreneurial and always desire to be running my own company and just hope it continues in the future.

Q: What motivates you?

A: My wife, children and providing for my family.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Traditionally, men are the breadwinners in a Turkish family: we provide the main source of income.

Family is very important in Turkey and we always put our family first, making sure we take care of them and respect them above anything else.

Q: What one thing do you wish you had known when you started out in business?

A: That it’s OK to ask for help – you don’t need to do everything by yourself.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Also, the cost of things I thought would not cost a lot of money.

It really surprises me sometimes how much they cost – even simple things like janitorial supplies.

Q: What excites you about business?

A: That I have an opportunity to change something and to create my own destiny and I strive to be successful.

You’re gambling on the idea that it’s going to work and that you will be comfortable, without stress and worry, ONE day in the very, very, very distant future.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I also love giving people a job and income and some form of security for their own family.

Q: What is your pet hate in business?

A: People who make commitments to you and then fall short of their promises – it’s just so frustrating.

When you are wanting something done you expect it to be fulfilled, especially if you’re paying for someone’s time or service, so it really is annoying when you are let down.

Q: What advice would you give to people just starting their careers?

A: If something isn’t working for you, change it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Don’t stay in a rut and then blame failure on something that you had the opportunity to change.

We had this problem last year when we first opened as a takeaway, but quickly found that it was just not going to work.

If we had stayed how we were, we wouldn’t have survived.

Q: Who in business do you most admire, and why?

A: I admire most of all independently-run businesses.

Behind every single one of them is someone who is working so hard just to be successful and make a living out of something they love doing and providing for their family.

Q: What moments of your career so far stand out?

A: I would say opening Sirius stands out as a highlight.

I learned from the previous company that I tried to create that having the right location was going to be key to the success.

Q: What sets your company apart from the competition?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A: It’s our Turkish breakfast that really tops our offering.

It’s a twist on the English breakfast and includes feta cheese, freshly baked bread, eggs, cured meats, Turkish pepperoni and honey.

It really is a customer favourite and the fact we have many people who like to try this popular dish makes us happy.

Q: What is the most difficult challenge your company has faced? And what challenges are you experiencing at the moment?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A: The spiralling cost of energy is now becoming a challenge for the business, with price increases of nearly 150 per cent.

As a business, we do not benefit from the same energy price caps as households do, and I worry that the continuing spiralling costs will be very harmful not only to me and my employees, but also to the rest of the independent businesses in Harrogate, and many on the high street will no doubt be forced to close.

We need to see some bold proposals from the government before it’s too late, they so far have failed to get a grip on this crisis.

Q: Have you got a five-year plan for the company?

A: We just hope to be here in five years’ time.

I believe any plan previously made cannot be sustained due to the continuous rise in bills; you would not be able to predict costings in today’s out-of-control climate.

Q: Why is it good to do business from Harrogate?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Q: An old Turkish proverb says “a hungry bear won’t dance” – in other words, food is energy for the body, soul and mind.

Harrogate is such an inspiring place for food-lovers and we really do offer such a wide variety of cuisines that really take people on a journey around the world to all the different cultures.

People are so welcoming.

Harrogate is such a beautiful place that offers a great way of life; it was named as one of the happiest places to live in the country – and who doesn’t want to live a happy life?

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.