A former soldier, who spent nine years working his way up the hospitality career ladder, has opened his first restaurant in Aberdeen. The restaurant has only been open since July 2015 and is already soaring on TripAdviser.
Marcin Krutul launched Bigos, the city’s only Polish restaurant, in July after gaining advice from Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire and ploughing his life savings into establishing the eatery at 27-29 Union Terrace.
Creating three full-time and two part-time jobs, Bigos offers customers the chance to enjoy dishes that fuse traditional flavours with modern presentation cooked by head chef Robert Fiszer and Marcin’s aunt, Eva Kuc, a housewife from Gdansk.
Their hearty dishes have been such a hit with customers that Marcin has now launched a lunchtime delivery service to meet growing demand.
He said: “I didn’t set up the restaurant to just service the Polish community, I opened Bigos because I wanted to provide locals and visitors with an opportunity to try the food I loved eating while growing up in Poland. People want something new, something flavoursome and unique and that is what we are serving up. The restaurant has been extremely busy, and often fully booked on weekends, with 75% of our customers non-Polish speaking. Now that our reputation is growing we have added the delivery service to make it even easier for our customers to enjoy our dishes in the comfort of their own home or place of work.”
Having left the Polish Army nine years ago, Marcin travelled to Scotland and was quickly bitten by the hospitality bug. Working for the likes of the Hilton, Macdonald and Mercure hotel groups, he worked his way up the career ladder, initially working as a kitchen porter and latterly holding the general manager position at the Rock & Oyster.
When that award-winning seafood restaurant began to flounder, the owner asked his staff for ideas on how to turn its fortunes around. Marcin suggested a Polish restaurant and was offered the chance to take on the lease and open his own establishment.
He said: “Life in Poland is a lot harder than in the UK, and the hospitality industry isn’t as developed as it is here. I love working with customers and have spent my time here expanding my skills. Rock & Oyster was a fantastic restaurant, serving amazing food, but there just weren’t enough people through the doors. When the owner offered me the chance to lease the premises I jumped at it.
“Since coming to Scotland I have learnt that to further your career you should take all the free advice and help you can – and that is why I went to Business Gateway. It’s always easier to speak in your native language so the fact that they have a Polish adviser was a great help; she kept me on track and ensured I had everything in place before opening.”
Emilia Stanczyk, Business Gateway adviser, said: “Opening a restaurant is one of the most popular business ideas. It is also one of the hardest to keep afloat. You need determination, experience and drive – all of which Marcin has in abundance. Our advice gave him the knowledge he needed to pull together a business plan that should keep him on track to open a sister restaurant in three years’ time.”
In September, Bigos was listed Number 1 on TripAdviser in Aberdeen, and Marcin was over the moon.
Marcin said: "I have been raised with the belief that If you're doing something, do it best you can. I don't run my restaurant in any other way than that. My journey of moving up from a Kitchen Porter position all the way up to Managing Director within 9 years in hospitality says it all. I love to challenge myself and push myself to be better.
Being the No.1 restaurant in Aberdeen according to Tripadvisor.com users is a great achievement and I'm grateful for every single customer and every single comment and review.
It makes me feel that what we do at Bigos and what we provide our guests with, is appreciated. It also makes us work even harder to stay at the top!
We are alongside some great establishments in Aberdeen which have been on the market for years and they provide a consistently great experience to their customers. Our advantage is originality of our venue, being the only 100% Polish eatery in the North-East of Scotland.
It's a fantastic feeling, seeing people leaving the restaurant with big smile on their faces, full belly and still some pennies left in the wallet"
For more information visit: www.bigosrestaurants.com
Find out how Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire can help you visit its local pages www.bgateway.com/aberdeen or call 01224 289725.Back to all blogs