Success and cosiness

Marzhan Otegen bakeries have already won the hearts of residents of Almaty, Aktau and Atyrau with their warmth and hospitality. They owe their success to their founder, Marzhan Otegen, after whom the chain is named.

 Marzhan, in one of your Instagram posts you wrote: "If you want your business to grow, learn to trust. What is trust to you?

 It is a very serious responsibility. What I meant in that post was this: if you take someone into a team, you give them carte blanche, you trust them a hundred percent. Without that, you'll never work together. Yes, I look at new people in the team, but if I decide to trust them, it's irreversible. That is why I think that in the first place you should look at the human qualities of an employee. Yes, he may be underqualified professionally, but skills and knowledge can be improved, and integrity is either there or it is not.

You mentioned rebranding. In the West, naming a business after its founder is commonplace. In the CIS countries, this phenomenon is no longer exotic, but it is not the most common practice either. What guided you when you named your bakery chain Marzhan Otegen?

 This is a liability. Let's say you call your bakery "Bagel", you sell bagels, and your bagels are as hard as bricks and nobody wants to buy them. Okay, you say, "Croissant." They don't want your croissants? Fine, you be "Little Bretzel". And so on. Seems convenient, but it's not a business, it's a kindergarten.

 And when you call a business by its name, you put all your chips on zero. That's it, there's no going back. The guests have a specific person to whom they can make claims. And you are personally responsible for everything from the cleanliness of the toilets to the quality of the dough. Besides, nobody is going to take this business away from me. Even if the raiders burst in here right now and take everything away from me, my good name and brains will remain. And I will rise from the ashes like a phoenix again.

 The job of any bakery is to create a homely atmosphere, and you're doing a great job. What is the secret?

 Comfort is an intangible concept. It is an aura, an energy. We don't put on too loud music, we use pleasant colours in the interior. We recently opened a new bakery on Makatayev Street in Almaty, where we put an armchair, a bookshelf, a table lamp, in general, we created the impression for guests as if they had come to visit their grandmother. And our signature cosiness can also be ordered to your home - in the form of hot pies. And yes, we only hire smiling people (laughs).

Our magazine is called Muse of nomad - "the inspiration of the nomad". Who do you think the modern nomad is? What inspires him or her?

 It is a free man. Actually, Kazakh culture is a nomadic culture. And the word "Kazakh" itself means "freedom". In my understanding, a nomad is someone who is able to adapt in absolutely any environment. Kazakhs are in demand everywhere: in Europe, Asia and America. This is the essence of our culture - he packed a yurt and went on to explore and discover the world. And it is this very world that inspires him.

 What do you value most about Kazakhstan and what do you miss the most when you travel?

 I'm coming! And I appreciate it, and I miss it. Food tastes better than Kazakh food to me than anything else in nature. A perfect combination of salt and pepper, without unnecessary spices and spice.

 What inspires you personally?

I'm a hundred years old myself. Until that age, I have serious plans and my life is scheduled for five years. And when I make a decision, I turn to my old self. And she inspires me a lot.

Author: Igor Toporkov

Photo: Aydin Ahmet

Location: A. Kasteyev State Museum of Arts of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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