BigChefs is supporting and adding women producers into its supply chain in order to remove and reduce gender inequality, end poverty, and ensure decent work and economic growth. BigChefs' 14 female suppliers in 2007 has reached 40 today and the target for 2021 is to reach 80 female suppliers. At the same time, women producers are not only connected to BigChefs but also BigChefs has a goal to open up those women producers to the world through different distribution channels.
Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University
BigChefs gives priority to women producers who sell their products only in small bazaars and who do not have a possibility to increase their sales. BigChefs aims to encourage women producers and help them have a more active role in business life. To ensure this, BigChefs selects its suppliers from female producers. In 2007, BigChefs started to work with 14 female suppliers, in 2019 BigChefs reached 40 women suppliers and the aim for 2021 is to reach 80 women suppliers. BigChefs encourages these women by not only buying their products, but also creating new markets through various distribution channels that are independent from BigChefs but ensured by them. In order to provide all of this, BigChefs provides consultancy service as an incentive and makes agreements with banks to provide low-interest loans to female producers.
Founding Partner and CEO of BigChefs, Gamze Cizreli, stated that they adopted the principle of providing natural, branched products, and this approach is the source of inspiration for the social responsibility project named "From Women of the Land to the Dinner Tables." Furthermore, Gamze Cizreli, a woman entrepreneur herself, knows many of the difficulties women face in business life because she faced many difficulties in establishing BigChefs. In this context, she selects her suppliers from female producers in order to make women's roles in business more active and to facilitate their entry into business life. Gamze Cizreli's inspiration is that she is an entrepreneur and wants to see more women entrepreneurs in the business world.
The overall impact of this innovation is to increase women's employment, to ensure economic development and to make women more active in business life. BigChefs targets women who are based in rural areas with a daily income of less than 50 TL (USD $8.50), who rely on soil and crops for their living, and strive to meet the other needs of their families / households as well. Their ages average between 30 and 50. They reside in various regions of Turkey, such as Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean and South East Anatolia and are engaged in natural farming. BigChefs encourages these women not just to supply to them, but to create new markets via various distribution channels. Their monthly income from BigChefs is around 2,500 TL (USD $433).
The company aims to double the number of women it engages every consecutive year and ensure the number of female suppliers make up at least 10 percent of its total producers in the relevant product ranges.
This project is part of Big Chef’s overall efforts to raise awareness about value and opportunity in employing low-income women in Turkey. To increase the visibility of its suppliers, BigChefs integrates the logos of its female producers’ products in BigChefs’ menus, and the company’s website also features pop-ups, videos and informative stories about its suppliers. (https://www.bigchefs.com.tr/TorpaginKadinlari)
With this innovation, BigChefs is also appreciated by its customers who want to offer solutions to social problems. BigChefs is aware of the importance of women suppliers in its growth, with almost 85% growth in the previous years, excluding 2018. Turkey's leading cafe / brasserie chain, BigChefs just created a new summer menu with products from women suppliers. The most important feature of this menu is to focus on local products from women suppliers and to raise awareness of BigChefs' social responsibility project called 'Women of the Land'. Moreover, this special BigChefs menu is the most preferred menu by Bigchefs' customers.
Female entrepreneurship is only 8.8 percent of total entrepreneurship in Turkey, which lags behind the world average with a low rate, but today it has started to emerge with sensitivity on this issue. With the 'From Women of the Land to the Dinner Tables' project, BigChefs also prioritizes women producers to raise women's employment and contribute to economic growth, while at the same time raising awareness of women's social status and helping women to have a voice in the society.
Tolga ÇOŞGUN, BigChefs Ankara Regional Manager
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Çankay, Ankara, TR
Business Website: https://www.bigchefs.com.tr
Year Founded: 2007
Number of Employees: 1001 to 5000
BigChefs' journey started in 2007 in Ankara. BigChefs takes care to offer a warm home environment by hosting guests in their restaurants throughout the day, from cheerful morning breakfasts to the most enjoyable weekend meals, to intimate conversations during the break hours and delicious evening meals.
BigChefs is preparing modern interpretations of Turkey's regional dishes, offering their guests the exclusive flavors of world cuisine. They bring delicacies to the world to suit the taste of every country in which they operate. BigChefs has restaurants in over 60 branches including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Bodrum, Marmaris, Bursa, Denizli, Iskenderun, Eskisehir, Mersin, Germany, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.