Featured case: Nusr-Et: Sustaining the Personality Brand

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The case

NusretWho – the protagonist

Nusret Gökçe (also known as Salt Bae), flamboyant Turkish butcher and owner of Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses.

What?

Nusret worked his way up from a humble butcher to owning a string of restaurants around the world thanks in large part to his hard work and charisma.

Why?

Nusr-Et hit trouble when opening its doors in January 2018 in Manhattan.

A string of reviews complained of steep prices and poor-quality food, with not much of it.

The Miami restaurant didn’t fare much better due to similar complaints, and an Instagram photo emerging of Nusret paying homage to Fidel Castro, soon after his death.

Restaurant frontWhen?

Nusret opened his first restaurant in Istanbul in 2010, with outlets following in the Middle East and US.

Things really took off at the end of 2011 when the eighth richest man in Turkey bought a 50% stake in Nusr-Et for 6.8 million USD.

Where?

The two US restaurants causing him problems were based in New York and Miami.

Key quote

“From the looks of the lunch crowd and their apparent disregard for the cost of their meal, it’s clear they want one thing: Salt Bae, tableside, holding that pose a second longer so they can get the angle right on their phones.” New York Post reviewer Lauren Steussy doubts Nusret can maintain that personal touch as he opens more restaurants.

What next?

Would Nusr-Et’s global operation be sustainable, given that its major investors in and outside of Turkey were running into financial conflict? How sustainable would a one-man show be, solely relying on the talent and charisma of Nusret Gökçe?

 
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Nusr-Et: Sustaining the Personality Brand
Ref 519-0167-1

Teaching note
Ref 519-0167-8

 

The authors

Scott and Nazli

Scott Andrews and Nazli Wasti

Scott and Nazli discuss working as a team and what they might have done differently.

Lure of an extravagant protagonist

Scott said: “The case writing process is always helped with a well-known or distinctive protagonist, so this makes for a good starting point. The real challenge is ensuring that it’s more than just a good story and provides challenge to the way that we look at the central objective of celebrity brand management.”

extravagant protagonistNazli commented: “There is so much written about Nusret that numerous public sources are readily available. Students are enthusiastic and come prepared to class – we even come across students who have visited a Nusr-Et restaurant, which enlivens the discussion. On the other hand, Nusret Gökçe is a provocative character. Sometimes students get swayed by their opinions of him or the latest gossip; the instructor has to ensure the students focus on the facts of the case.”

International audience

Nazli added: “The fact that we found international media sources when writing up the case is evidence that Nusret is interesting to a large number of people all over the world.”

Taking the lead

Scott explained: “We have worked together on a range of case development initiatives for a number of years, and have provided guidance to lots of other Turkish colleagues on case writing, so we thought it was time that we actually worked together on one of our own cases.”

Nazli said: “I had assisted others in developing their cases, but this was the first case where I was taking the lead, so it was invaluable to have an experienced case writer to support me.  We also got input from academics in related fields while developing the teaching note, so the case is useful for courses with different angles.”

Another case to follow

Scott concluded: “Perhaps it would have been helpful if we had prepared the case sooner in such a fast-moving celebrity context. I suspect there will be a follow-up case in the none-too-distant future.”

About the authors

Scott Andrews is Head of the Marketing & Enterprise Department at the University of Worcester.
s.andrews@worc.ac.uk

Nazli Wasti is a Full Professor in the Department of Business Administration at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.
e nazli@metu.edu.tr

 

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