My whole family were in the restaurant trade to some degree, so I grew up in and around restaurants: I think it was inevitable.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Not to worry too much about “progression” at the very start; there is a lot to learn and plenty of time.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to cook, it is a passion of mine and love feeding people. I also enjoy watching rugby, and coach my son's rugby team.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
I have always liked Boca Di Lupo, I love the regional variances in Italian food and culture ever since I travelled the entire peninsula in my early 20’s in a Fiat Punto with my then girlfriend Emma (now my wife).
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Probably something extremely dull yet lucrative in the City.
What motivates you?
I regularly set myself goals, both small personal ones and bigger longer-term ones. Achieving those goals motivates me.
Where was your last holiday?
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Richard Caring, who I worked for nearly six years and opened Annabels with. He taught me a huge amount about the industry and how to think big and not compromise on anything when trying to establish a new brand.
What keeps you up at night?
I sleep like the dead.
Worst business decision?
I hired a friend into a management role beneath me once and that was a mistake I will never make again.
Best business decision?
Adapting several sites I inherited to cafes so that they functioned more effectively in their local markets.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
I have said it before, but the best piece of advice to anyone starting in the business is decide where you want to be in five to 10 years and then go and work in a company that is operating at the level you aspire to. Get in, work hard, and you will end up where you want to be. It’s all about being in the right environment.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I would like the industry and customers to move away from service charges. I think it provides too much of a grey area for unscrupulous businesses to abuse and I feel that if restaurants could pay staff properly and likewise charge in a more open way on the menus it would lead to a much-simplified industry with more transparency. That way tips would be genuine rewards for exceptional service on top of a decent salary. I think unfortunately there are certain psychological barriers to this as consumers would see it as a 12/15% price increase on menu prices, and I’m not sure we are ready for that yet.
CV to date
Born: London, 1983
Education: studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at Oxford Brookes
- 2005/08 - elevate management graduate for Conran Restaurants which became D and D London, Le Pont De La Tour
- 2008/10 - D and D London General Manager at Almeida, General Manager at Orrery
- 2010/11 - General Manager at 8 Members Club Moorgate
- 2011/13 - General Manager, D and D London, Sartoria
- 2013/18 - Operations Manager then Operations Director, The Birley Clubs
- 2018 to present - Operating Partner - F+B, Oakley Capital & Chairman, Chucs Restaurant & Cafe Collection.