“When I first opened, it was a very, very hard graft."
A Turkish restaurant in Birmingham came out of £50,000 worth of debt thanks to a viral TikTok video.
Bey’s Diner in Erdington is inspired by the popular Turkish show Ertugrul, however, it was once struggling for diners and facing £50,000 of debt.
The business is now thriving thanks to a mystery TikTok diner.
People from across the UK are travelling to try out the Turkish dishes on offer.
Co-founder Sajj Rahman said: “We’ve had people come as far as from Preston, Liverpool, and Wales.
“(TikTok) has been a blessing!”
But Sajj revealed that he was considering closing the restaurant.
He told Birmingham Mail:
“When I first opened, it was a very, very hard graft. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times.
“People used to say ‘have patience’ but I’d say it’s easy for you to say because you don’t have to pay your staff, rent and buy stock.
“Before the pandemic, we were in £50,000 debt.”
Sajj worked as a team leader at Land Rover. He took the risk of setting up the restaurant along with the support of his two friends.
Bey’s Diner had a difficult start, even though it had been open a year before the pandemic.
Sajj explained: “I’d be out of pocket a couple of hundred quid every single week.
“I sat here for 13 hours one day and made £6.
“We were struggling. We were doing longer hours, opening at 6 am and closing at midnight.”
“We were trying everything to actually make ends meet and it wasn’t working.”
Despite the Eat Out to Help Out government scheme, it did not help much.
During the pandemic, Sajj offered free meals to some of Erdington’s most vulnerable.
He said: “Since the scheme, we haven’t seen those customers.”
Then earlier in September 2021, Bey’s Diner went viral on TikTok.
Mystery food blogger Halal Dining reviewed the food and posted it to their followers.
In the video, a stacked plate of donor meat and chips can be seen along with an appetising burger. The mystery reviewer then seemed to finish off the meal with a slice of chocolate cake.
The video review attracted over 120,000 views and Bey’s Diner grew in popularity.
Sajj said: “We’ve been busy since they’ve come, as in chockablock busy!
“We’ve spoken to TRT (Turkish TV) about our Turkish fusion food.”
The restaurant is now thriving, with diners enjoying masala chai, stacked burgers and milkshakes.