How I Got Here: Charlie Carroll

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Charlie Carroll founder Flat Iron steak

Related tags: Steak, Casual dining

Charlie Carroll has turned the traditional steakhouse model on its head with his affordable steak restaurant group Flat Iron.

Why restaurants? 
I have always loved food. My earliest memories are of food and I love looking after people and helping others to have a good time.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Don’t go from two restaurants to four restaurants at the same time as the birth of your first child in a six month period.

What do you do in your spare time?
I have a three year old, so I don’t have much spare time. When I do, holidays, eating out, cooking and fishing.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
A. Wong.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Working for myself in food some way or another.

What motivates you?
Working with a team to imagine and create an idea and then making it into a reality.

Where was your last holiday?

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
My creative director, Ben Chapman. Ben has been involved in Flat Iron since before our first service at the Owl and Pussycat.

What keeps you up at night?
Lots of things…

Worst business decision?
Not managing to invest in this little food delivery start up called Deliveroo when I met its founder when it had a handful of restaurants and I might have had a chance!

Best business decision?
Taking on our site in Covent Garden. It was a big gamble being double the rent of the other two sites at the time.

What are you reading at the moment?
Riders by Jilly Cooper.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
The same advice someone gave to me at the beginning of my career. There are three things that make a successful restaurant; food, hospitality and ambience. If you get all three right, you are probably doing okay.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
To me, the industry is all about amazing people and if I could change something it would be its attraction to people looking for a career from outside the industry. The opportunities for an 18 year old to be running a multi-million pound business in a few years are unique to the industry and we desperately need to attract more great talent.


1983 Born in Manchester 
Studied Zoology at Cambridge University
2006 - 2010 Consultant, The Parthenon Group
2010 - 2011 Operations adviser, Wahaca
2011 - Present Founder, Flat Iron

Related topics: People

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