This study is an exploratory research conducted for understanding talent management practices in hospitality and food sector in Turkish business environment. The data of the study was collected via face-to-face interviews from employees working in the small and medium sized companies in Turkish hospitality and food sector. The data obtained through in-depth interviews was analyzed by content analysis. The main aim of the current study is identifying strategic talent attributes in Turkish hospitality and food sector through a qualitative research. The outcomes of the current study will be utilized as the groundwork of a further quantitative research in order to construct a professional competence scale for hospitality and food sector in Turkish business environment. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.