08:00 Wednesday 23 January 2013

Kebab firm skewers top gong to give town double

Written byBY ADRIAN JENKINS

NOT content to rest on its laurels as ‘beer capital of Britain’, Burton has reinforced its claim to be ‘the drinker’s best friend’ after one of its businesses skewered a top kebab award.

Veli’s Doner Kebab Manufacturer (Wholesale) Ltd, of Anderstaff Industrial Estate, in Hawkins Lane, won ‘best retail business within the catering industry’ at the inaugural British Kebab and Retail Awards.

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, who nominated the firm, presented a trophy and certificate to founder and managing director Halil Zurnacioglu during a ceremony at Portcullis House, by the Houses of Parliament.

Asked how it felt to have won the accolade, bestowed by an independent panel of industry peers and experts, director Halil Ahmet Veli said: “Over the moon – but it will sink in more tomorrow.

“We are so chuffed with it and so appreciative. It’s unbelievable.”

Established in 1989, Veli’s was among the first purpose-built kebab factories in the UK.

It was also the first in the country to be fully automated and the first to gain a licence from the European Union.

Now understood to have a turnover running into millions of pounds, it produces 40 tonnes of kebab meat a week, employs up to 40 staff and sells to firm as far afield as Edinburgh and Southampton.

Mr Griffiths said: “Burton has always been known as the beer capital of Britain but it’s now very clearly the kebab capital of the country.

“Beer and kebabs go very well together and I’m chuffed to bits that a successful Burton business has been recognised with this prestigious award.”

The kebab industry contributes £1.5 billion to the British economy each year and employs more than 150,000 people.

Organised by Stratford on Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi and director of the Centre for Turkey studies, Ibrahim Dogus, the awards were designed to recognise and raise awareness of the industry’s contribution to British society.

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