Fusun Esendemir

Fusun Esendemir, CFO, Flatbread Grill
Fusun Esendemir, CFO, Flatbread Grill


I’m Fusun (pronounced FEE*SOON). I was born in Turkey and came to America with my mom when I was four years old. I spent the early part of my life, mainly my adolescence, helping my parents run their businesses. I was managing my father’s restaurants when I was a teenager. My responsibilities included everything from helping with food prep, to taking orders, waitressing, and managing the finances. In between attending school and doing my homework, I was learning at a very young age what it takes to be a business owner. I watched my parents work hard for the American dream and I was very involved with their entrepreneurial journey from the start. I also helped raise my siblings and still play referee (and occasional babysitter) to my business partners and sisters, Arzu and Gonca.

I attended a technical engineering school and eventually landed a job building electronic equipment at a technical manufacturing firm. I worked my way up to a supervisor position and eventually took a break to work as a weight loss consultant. I became one of the top consultants at a weight loss company and helped a few dozen clients achieve their weight loss goals. I also worked part-time in retail at my favorite plus size clothing store, but I eventually went back into electronic engineering. I resumed my supervisor position as a cell leader until I was eventually laid off after my company thought I was taking too many personal days. I was actually using my own vacation days to take care of my parents, who were having major health problems. My father had developed heart disease and my mother was suffering from knee problems and life-threatening complications associated with an 85-pound hernia. The company that I had dedication so much of myself to decided it was time to let me go. I decided to start my own business after being laid off because I never wanted to put my fate or the direction of my life in anyone else’s hands ever again. I asked my youngest sister, Arzu, what she thought about me starting my own business. I told her I wanted to start a restaurant because food has always been one of my biggest passions. To my surprise, Arzu thought it was a great idea and decided to join me on my restaurant journey. We both approached our middle sister, Gonca, who also decided to join us. Together, we came up with the concept, the name, trademarks, tag lines, developed the menu, and oversaw the buildout of our first Flatbread Grill® in 2007. Currently, I manage Flatbread Grill®’s finances, as well as share day to day operational duties, assist with the cooking, and the food prepping. I also oversee major purchasing decisions, implement food safety procedures, oversee our supply chain, and manage inventory. I keep the ship streamlined, sailing, and in good working order.

When Flatbread Grill® opened, it took off in a way I never imagined it would. My sisters and I thought we were opening a small restaurant that was going to help us finally afford much needed health insurance for our parents. Little did we know that customers would fall in love with Flatbread Grill® and it would take us on a whirlwind entrepreneurial journey. Flatbread Grill® was a dream come true for me because it blessed me with the opportunity to work with my family and share my lifelong love of food. My family has always been the most important thing in the world to me and being able to work with my sisters is an opportunity that continually challenges me and fulfills me. I did have to make many personal sacrifices in my life to sustain and grow the business with my sisters, but it’s all been worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It is an honor to be able to share my passion for food with so many people from so many different walks of life.

Though I have struggled with my weight all my life, food has always been my biggest passion. Whether I am eating it, cooking it, or sharing it- the experience always brings me great joy. In my free time, I completely enjoy trying new cuisines, dining out, and discovering new restaurants. It is my ultimate dream that my sisters and I can share the food we make and the recipes we created with everyone everywhere.