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Beyond Borders and Flavors: Aasim Shah and Kofteci Group’s Quest to Bring Turkish Cuisine to the World

Aasim Shah, an entrepreneur with a flair for the culinary arts, has made his mark as the founder and CEO of Kofteci Group. With a background in mechanical engineering, Aasim brings a unique perspective to the food and beverage industry, blending technical expertise with a passion for gastronomy and hospitality.

Entrepreneurs Today got to engage with Aasim Shah to delve deeper into the secrets behind his industry leadership and phenomenal success.

About Aasim Shah

After graduating as a mechanical engineer in Chennai, Aasim embarked on a career with BMW, working as a vehicle audit engineer at the BMW plant in Mahindra Worldcity.

However, Shah’s passion for building something of his own never wavered. Despite facing challenges and eventually shutting down the venture, Shah’s determination to keep moving forward led him to venture into the electric motor industry with his startup, Dynamic Motorsports, specializing in developing ATVs.

To support his entrepreneurial endeavors, Shah also joined his father’s business. His father’s philosophy of reinvesting profits into capital expansion resonated with Shah’s aspirations. Leveraging this opportunity, Shah worked diligently to bring in new business and make the most of the resources available.

Although Shah encountered setbacks along the way, he continued to persevere and adapt. His focus eventually shifted to the shipping and chartering industries, where he dedicated considerable time and effort to establishing a strong foundation.

During this transformative period, Shah recognized an opportunity to venture into the culinary world. Utilizing the capital accumulated from his shipping business, he took a bold step and opened a small restaurant in Chennai i.e., the start of Kebapci, laying the foundation for what would later become the Kofteci Group.

Engineering Success in the Culinary World

In 2018, Aasim embarked on his F&B journey by starting a small kebap kiosk in Chennai, driven by his unwavering commitment to serving top-quality Turkish kebaps under the name of Kebapci. 

As Kebapci gained popularity, Aasim and his brother Adeeb realized the need to provide a dedicated dining space to deliver the highest quality culinary experiences. This led to the transformation of a neighboring tailoring shop into a charming 30-seater restaurant in Chennai. The response was overwhelming, with customers praising the delectable flavors and warm ambiance. 

Kofteci Group has grown by demonstrating their quality and innovative culinary creations, which has helped them carve a niche in the city which has been further recognised with the creation of Oz by Kebapci, a flagship restaurant situated in UB City spread over 6000+ square feet designed by one of the renowned architects from Turkiye, Bangalore’s luxury shopping destination. This elegant establishment caters to discerning patrons, offering a sophisticated dining experience that showcases the authentic flavors of Turkiyë.

From a modest 150 square feet to a sprawling culinary haven, Kofteci Group has become a beacon of Turkish culture and cuisine.

In order to add to the culinary and F&B experience of their customers, Kofteci Group imported Baklavas straight from Gaziantep, Turkiyë and then inspired by the delectable taste of authentic baklavas, Aasim ventured into the realm of creating sweet delicacies by establishing Klava. In a remarkable leap of faith, the Kofteci Group has now established a stunning boutique café in Forum Rex Walk, Bangalore. Klava specializes in crafting gold-standard and juicy baklavas, capturing the essence of Turkish culinary traditions. Aasim and Adeeb’’s childhood experiences and memories of savoring these mouthwatering treats drove them to bring the authentic taste of Turkiyë to India.

Revolutionizing Turkish Cuisine: Kofteci FoodKraft Pvt Ltd

Kofteci Foodkrafts Pvt. Ltd., has taken the Turkish culinary scene by storm in India, introducing the flavors and authenticity of Turkish cuisine to the region. With three distinctive brands under its umbrella – Kebapci, Öz, and Klava – Kofteci Foodkrafts is at the forefront of bringing the best of Turkish food to India and neighboring countries including Maldives.

In addition to their savory offerings, Kofteci Foodkrafts also boasts a Turkish patisserie business known as Klava as mentioned above. Klava’s collaboration is with one of the oldest baklava producing family in Gaziantep, Turkiyë, which brings forth the gold-standard of Turkish Baklavas to Bangalore and soon foraying into the Middle East market, captivating the palates of dessert aficionados.

What sets them apart?

When asked about what is unique about them, Aasim reveals, 

“We take pride in delving deep into the ingredients and the science behind our dishes. When it comes to meat, one of the biggest challenges in our country is that many restaurants don’t explore the nuances. We go to great lengths to understand the origin of the lamb and determine the ideal season and proportion of ingredients to achieve the desired flavor profile and juiciness.”

With a meticulous approach to sourcing ingredients, Kofteci Group has established a robust supply chain that guarantees exceptional quality. As a company that goes beyond borders, Kofteci Group imports their own food materials, recognizing that local ingredients often fall short of capturing the essence of international cuisine. 

Refusing to compromise on the core elements of their dishes, Kofteci Group upholds its belief in delivering an authentic dining experience. 

Navigating troubled waters

The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic posed significant obstacles to the growth and development of the business. Despite the hardships, Shah and his team persevered, keeping their laborers employed and pushing forward with their vision. The dedication paid off, and by August 2020, Kofteci Group opened its doors to the public once again.

Another significant challenge faced was the scarcity of Turkish chefs in the region. Unlike other cuisines where one could easily find specialized chefs through advertisements, Turkish culinary experts were a rarity. This led Aasim to take matters into his own hands and become intimately involved in every aspect of the business.  He devoted countless hours to learning the intricacies of Turkish cuisine, collaborating with local chefs during his travels to the regions of Turkiyë, and acquiring a deep understanding of the ingredients and techniques. 

Triumphs over challenges

One notable accomplishment for the Shah brothers at Kofteci Group was receiving recognition and praise from Turkish expatriates who found their food to be authentic and comparable to dishes prepared by Turkish chefs. Another achievement was being acknowledged by prestigious publications such as the Times of India, highlighting the quality and appeal of their offerings. 

The collaboration with UB City, a renowned luxury mall in Bengaluru, was a significant milestone as it showcased the trust and confidence placed in the Kofteci Group’s cuisine and concept. The recognition and support received from the Turkish Consulate General further validated the authenticity and excellence of their culinary offerings. 

Plans for the future

Looking towards the future, Aasim and his brother Adeeb’s ambitious plans include expanding their culinary empire globally, with a focus on establishing a presence in Dubai, the Middle East, and APAC countries. By offering unique and immersive dining experiences, Shah brothers aim to captivate the taste buds of an international audience, spreading the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Turkiyë to discerning food enthusiasts worldwide.

Also, eager to expand their reach and cater to a wider audience, Kofteci FoodKraft is poised to open their fifth outlet in Forum Falcon City in Kanakapura, Bengaluru. Additionally, they have set their sights on an international presence, with plans to open a sixth outlet in Male, Maldives.

Kofteci Group has ambitious plans for expansion in various cities and regions. They are looking forward to opening new outlets in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Mumbai. Despite the challenges posed by regulations and taxation on imported ingredients in India, the team remains determined to make the most of the abundant local resources, such as spices, to create innovative and exceptional culinary experiences.

Words of wisdom

Aasim Shah has learned several valuable lessons throughout his entrepreneurial journey. Firstly, he emphasizes the importance of striking the right balance in experience and aesthetics. 

Another crucial lesson he has learned is to never cut corners when it comes to food quality. Aasim believes in going all out to create the best-tasting dishes, even if it means incurring higher costs. He understands that compromising on the quality of ingredients or the culinary experience can hinder the success of a business in the long run.

Furthermore, Aasim advises focusing on creating a great product or experience first and then finding ways to optimize costs and operations. By prioritizing quality and excellence from the outset, entrepreneurs have a higher chance of achieving success than by solely focusing on cost-cutting measures.

Instagram: Öz by Kebapçi, Kebapci Bangalore, Klava


Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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