I’ve always been obsessed with curating an experience for others to (hopefully) enjoy. The unknown of whether something is going to be a hit or not after all the work is the buzz.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
To sacrifice where necessary to spend a little more on decent legals and accounts. Entering business without this can be a dangerous game.
What do you do in your spare time?
Line Nick Jones’ pocket it seems! I love to spend time with the family as I’ve got an 11 month-year-old boy who just rocks my world. This weekend I’ll be supporting the country against New Zealand at Twickenham.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
New found favourite restaurant has to be Inko Nito on Broadwick Street and I would also happily travel to Canary Wharf just to hit Thunderbird in Giant Robot.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I always wanted to be a property developer so perhaps I’d be working for a developer or designer.
What motivates you?
Building relevant customer facing brands in a competitive space. I’d always wanted to live in New York as I love the way they work out there.
Where was your last holiday?
A mate's wedding in Morocco.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I’m still on the hunt for a mentor, have found myself quite often wanting to call someone that’s done it all before. I used to work for Nick House who ran a hospitality business called Brompton Brands, he definitely gave me the confidence to believe anything is possible with enough energy and focus.
What keeps you up at night?
Fear of public speaking.
Worst business decision?
Trying to take on Mr Porter with a menswear online shop called Young Thread. Only after a couple years did I realise even if I sold all the stock I bought I still wouldn’t make a profit (I was 24).
Best business decision?
Taking a run down pub on All Saints Road, Notting Hill and turning it in to the first Rum Kitchen site, we picked it up for £15,000 and spent next to nothing on it. Despite it making no money for the first year it gave us the chance to make a load of noise (literally) and then secure funding and a site in Soho's Kingly Court. Actually, maybe taking the site on the first floor in Kingly Court (which everyone told us not to do) was the best decision we made.
What are you reading at the moment?
Courier is about all I read.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Do whatever you can to learn every element of the business before you take any risk of your own. I think finding a mentor can also be super beneficial as essentially someone has always been there and done that.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Would love to bang on about rents and rates but that’s boring. I think I’d actually change the planning laws so you could do what you wish with your premise whether it be a bar, restaurant or shop. If people want to just come and drink in your restaurant why can’t they (some planning and licenses only let you drink with a meal), if someone wants to install some extraction and cook in a shop (A1 unit) they should be able to. It would calm some of the rents and premiums kicking about.
1986 Born in London
Studied Real Estate at Oxford Brookes
2007-2012 Marketing Manager at Brompton Brands
2012- Current Founder at GLP Hospitality, which owns, operates and consult on businesses including Rum Kitchen, Island Poke, Foley’s and Passo