Two restaurant owners in Buckinghamshire have opened up to the Free Press about how the positive nature of their customers helped them through difficult periods.

Hakan Kandemir, who runs the Fish and Mangal in Great Missenden, along with Hilal ‘Harry’ Olgar, who owns Cozy Fish and Chips and Zem Kebab in Hazlemere, along with the Holmer Green Kebab, both suffered the ignominy of receiving one-star hygiene ratings at the back end of 2023.

For Mr Olgar, it was the latter shop that picked up the low rating.

Bucks Free Press: Holmer Green Kebabs has been in the village for well over 20 yearsHolmer Green Kebabs has been in the village for well over 20 years (Image: NQ)

Both were for specific issues that inspectors showed concerns about, but one common factor was that both proprietors were not present when the examinations took place.

Mr Kandemir was at his other establishment in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, whilst Mr Olgar had returned to Turkey to help build a house for his parents, following the devastating earthquake that struck the country in 2023.

Upon returning to the UK, he then immediately flew back to his homeland after hearing his father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

It was during this period that the inspection took place which led to the one-star rating being confirmed.

Bucks Free Press: Halil 'Harry' Olger owns three businesses in BuckinghamshireHalil 'Harry' Olger owns three businesses in Buckinghamshire (Image: NQ)

However, both establishments (Fish and Mangal and Holmer Green Kebab) have had their five stars reinstated, with the latter being officially regarded as one of the best kebab shops in the UK at a recent award ceremony.

Mr Kandemir told the Free Press: “I have been in this business for 15 years and I always try my best to do what is right for the customer.

“I never treat a customer as a customer.

“I treat them as a friend or a member of the family as everyone needs to be treated with respect.

“I always try my best and I give them quality food, quality service and always with a smile.

“So when I got the low score, I was in shock as I had never received a score like that before.

“But, after the news came out, my loyal customers kept on coming to see me, buy my food, and we would talk.

Bucks Free Press: The Fish and Mangal is near Great Missenden Train StationThe Fish and Mangal is near Great Missenden Train Station (Image: NQ)

“They knew that I look after my business well, and even though the low score did impact my business a little bit, I’m very happy to have got a five again.

“I did everything the inspectors told me to do, plus more, but a part of the failure was down to paperwork issues.

“I thank my customers as they helped me a lot.”

The fish and chip shop, which is based near Great Missenden Train Station, currently boasts an average score of 4.8/5 from 143 reviews on Google.

Mr Olgar, who has been trading in Buckinghamshire for 25 years, also thanked his loyal customers for their support.

He said: “I was going through the hardest time of my life.

“The earthquake, my dad, the inspection, it all happened around the same time.

“It was very hard.

“But my customers, some of whom have been coming to me since I started 25 years ago, kept on showing their support and helped me through it.

“I cook all my food in front of the customer so they can see how fresh everything is, and how clean we are.

“Yes, we needed to improve on a few things, but we’ve got back to a five and I’m very happy.

“My customers helped me and I’m very grateful for their support.”

The reinstated five-star score took place on the same day when the Turners Place fast-food shop won the ‘Just Eat Delivery’ category at the 12th Kebab Awards in London.

Following the victory, several High Wycombe residents travelled to Holmer Green to try out their dishes, also offering a one-time delivery service to customers outside of the catchment area.

Scoring table

0 – Urgent improvement is necessary

1 – Major improvements are necessary

2 – Improvements necessary

3 – Business generally satisfactory

4 – Business good on assessment

5 – Business is seen as very good