How I Got Here: Kieran Waite

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here: Kieran Waite

Related tags: Casual dining

Kieran Waite is the co-founder and director of Bristol's five-strong Season & Taste hospitality group, which opened Mexican restaurant Masa + Mezcal this spring.

Why restaurants?
I get to eat in them. As well as this I love that the creativity of developing a concept, food and drink offering and service style to fit the right context of a site and area.  Me and my wife are constantly dreaming up new ideas- we don’t know how to stop! 

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Don’t open restaurants at the same time as having babies.

What do you do in your spare time?
See my kids. Go to other people’s restaurants. Go to other people’s restaurants with my kids. 

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Los Marinos José, the freshest seafood, simply, but perfectly prepare, it’s a favourite spot of mine for ‘Linner’ – a long decedent lunch that turns into dinner. In the UK? I don’t have a favourite, I’m a bit loose and like trying new places, but the last great meal that I had was at Bar Buvette, Bristol.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Disco dancing 

What motivates you?
If I’m in a positive mind-set, it is simply the desire to constantly be improving. If I’m in a negative mind-set, it’s the fear of failure. The actions required for either are the same. 

Where was your last holiday?
Copenhagen. Holiday slash work recce to check out Sanchez ahead of opening Masa + Mezcal - a great city with an excellent hospitality scene. 

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
My wife and I travelled for a year before we opened Bravas 7 years ago. We bought a copy of Danny Myer’s Setting the Table in Shanghai and got a lot of ideas whilst writing our business plan from here. 

What keeps you up at night?
People – they are the most rewarding and challenging part of running a business and something that you cannot control. 

Worst business decision?
Not writing a business plan for one of our sites – I’m not telling you which one! 

Best business decision?
Spending a long time (about a year) whilst travelling writing a business plan for our first site Bravas.

What are you reading at the moment?
Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
In my business the people who do well are those that get involved and take the job that they want. Our business is full of people who have applied their various talents and skills and we have then created roles to give them long term careers doing what they want, win-win.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Better education. Hospitality needs to challenge other industries for talent through better funding for education. A lot of the issues we face in society could be helped by better education of young people about food, nutrition, sustainability and various other key skills required to forge a successful career in hospitality. 

Your CV to date

Born Pontypool 1984

Left school at 16 with 5 GCSE’s

Founded Season + Taste in Bristol in 2011. Director. Planned to create a hospitality brand that could operate multiple individual and independent venues and be an employment brand that offered career opportunities.

Opened Bravas in 2012

Opened Bakes & Co in 2014

Opened Cargo Cantina in 2016

Opened Gambas 2018

Opened Masa + Mezcal in 2019

Related topics: People, Profiles, Casual Dining

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