Alumnus’s business in Istanbul makes for a “Whopper” of a success story.

When planning summer travel, members of the Florida International University (FIU) community should know they can have a free hamburger in Istanbul.

“For FIU people, burgers are on me,” Oguz Aklar (MIB ’02) said.

Oguz Aklar

Aklar owns a Burger King franchise, located in the historic district of Uskudar in Istanbul, Turkey. With a master’s degree from the College of Business Administration, Aklar returned to his home country and opened his eatery in 2009, where his team of 32 employees serves Whoppers and other favorites to 1,500 customers per day.

Aklar earned his undergraduate degree in Turkey and carefully chose FIU for graduate studies.

“My goal was to build a career in a multinational corporation so I wanted a program with intense concentration on international business,” he said. “The quality of the Master of International Business program in Chapman Graduate School of Business was exactly right. My FIU education is my biggest asset.”

After graduation, Aklar spent seven years advancing in a New York City-based department store chain.

“But I found myself brainstorming about investment opportunities and spent years building a business plan,” he said.

He admits that initially he didn’t have the courage to proceed. But the plusses of Burger King, a well-established global brand with 374 locations in Turkey, convinced him to make his move.

Since the beginning of 2010, his restaurant revenue has increased by 42 percent and net operational profit has more than doubled.

Istanbul’s historic district of Uskudar

“The key to success is to be on top of your business,” he said. “When I look at my balance sheet, it’s good news. But still, it’s old news. Know your resources and be ready to adjust your operation. The biggest problems are the ones that come when least expected.

Entrepreneur prepares to share knowledge.

Aklar is in the final stages of writing a business case about the franchise food industry in Turkey, the most profitable and fastest growing market for Burger King.

“I explore how global brands are represented in Turkey, how well they integrate themselves to the local market and other important topics,” he said. “Such a case would have saved me a great deal of money and trouble.”

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