Disruptions caused by changes to Covid alert levels have been particularly hard for Northland businesses but for Ferhat Doganay, the tills haven't stopped ringing.
The father-of-two will this week open his third Turkish restaurant in Whangārei, at a location he has always had an eye on since moving to Northland six years ago.
Doganay owns the popular Turkuaz Cafe on Rathbone St and Turkuaz Kebabs in Kamo.
The third outlet is opening on Tuesday at the Okara shopping centre and he said there was never a better time to expand his business than now.
"I have great confidence in this town. We have a good reputation, lot of customers, we don't have competition, Whangārei is growing and in fact I am thinking about more business opportunities. I plan for four to five years, not one or two," he said.
Doganay said when he moved from Hastings six years ago, he was keen to open a kebab shop at Okara shopping centre as it was the best location for business in town.
He said when a cafe closed in Okara, the shop owner rang him to offer retail space and he didn't have to think twice despite facing a shortage of chefs due to border closures.
Applications to bring in two chefs from Turkey were with Immigration New Zealand but Doganay said he would make do with whatever staff he has at present.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"I may not have enough chefs but I still have the best location in town. It doesn't mean I won't be able to recruit staff from abroad later when things improve. We have to be tough and make tough decisions. By opening another outlet, I am giving locals work opportunities."
He employs 20 staff, both part-time and full-time, across the Rathbone St and Kamo locations and plan to have another 10 in Okara.
Doganay spent more than $500,000 over four months getting the new branch ready and it can sit up to 80 people.
He moved to New Zealand in 2003 and worked in a Turkish restaurant in Nelson for about six years before moving to Hastings where he opened his first kebab shop.
After five years, he wanted a change so swapped businesses with the previous owner of Turkuaz Cafe on Rathbone St who took over the Hastings store.
John Maurice, owner of Kaikohe's Bank Bar and Northland chairman of Hospitality NZ, said it was good Doganay has confidence in Northland's economy at a time when businesses were doing it tough.
"Every business in the hospitality sector has had their problems such as a lack of suitable kitchen staff which means they are not opening one or two days a week but overall, the confidence is there," he said.