The Banc: A restaurant success story for two Tottenham entrepreneurs

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

The Banc restaurant opened six weeks ago on a site that was derelict for 11 years
The Banc restaurant opened six weeks ago on a site that was derelict for 11 years
Six months on from the August riots, BigHospitality has spoken to Jan Topcu who, with fellow graduate and business partner Fabio Teixeira, was able to transform a derelict bank into a thriving restaurant in the heart of Tottenham.

The Banc, a 180-cover, two-story Mediterranean restaurant located on West Green Road, opened its doors to the public six weeks ago. For Topcu and Teixeira - two 25-year-old entrepreneurs with no experience in hospitality - the aim was to change negative perceptions of young people and give something back to the local community following the riots​.

“The riots taught us that the area needed it,” said Topcu. “We need to have something good happening.​We know there is a great local community in Tottenham, despite what the media says.

“Neither me or Fabio had any experience in the restaurant industry, but we felt that a lot of restaurants have lost touch with their customers. Fabio and I sent over 80 emails to the landlord requesting to buy this site in the first place.

“In university we studied marketing, but we actually ended up going against everything we’d been taught! Upon opening, we didn’t do any marketing; instead we decided to just distribute 300 leaflets around the area, just to focus on local customers.

A restaurant for the community

“With support from the bank and family and friends, the project has cost us around £160-170k. People understand that we could have spent all that money in Enfield or Angel or wherever, but that’s exactly why I think it’s working for us - customers understand we have opened this restaurant for the community.

“Through word-of-mouth and online review websites we are now bringing in new customers and we are hosting the likes of local politicians. We were fully booked for Christmas, fully booked for the New Year, and we already have a lot of bookings for the coming months.”

Overseen by head chef Aldi Maklej, The Banc restaurant features a lounge on the upper level and two-storey decking in the rear garden. The concept is to offer West End dining and service at North London prices. Every dish is freshly-prepared, including home-made burgers, T-bone steaks and salmon bugulama

Speaking of possible future expansion, Topcu added: “Perhaps in 5 years, we would like to open another Banc, but right now our ethos is to just try and give something back to the local area of Tottenham. Plans are in the pipeline to forge close links with our former school - the Park View Academy, opposite the restaurant.”

Top tips for young restaurateurs:

  1. “If you don’t believe in your idea, you can’t do it. If you believe in the restaurant, your customers will realise that and they will start to believe in you.”
  2. “You need to keep motivated. At some points, me and Fabio were so alone that we decided to text each other motivational texts each morning and tell each other things will get better.”
  3. “Most importantly: money. If you don’t have the funds, don’t try and open a restaurant at all. You need to have the funds in place as well as back-up and contingency plans.”

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