How I Got Here: Will Ellner

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Bancone co-founder Will Ellner

Related tags: Pasta, Restaurant, London

Will Ellner operates two London sites under his pasta-focused restaurant group Bancone, with its Soho location recently reopening following the Coronavirus lockdown.

Why restaurants?
My mother and father had just started Joanna’s the year before I was born, and I basically grew up there; you could say it was in my blood.

What time do you wake up?​  
6am.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?  
There isn't one thing, really, but I’m always learning and approach everyday with an open mind.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
I’ve been a fan of Corbin & King restaurants from an early age.

What motivates you? 
My family.

How often do you check your email? 
It’s always open on my phone or laptop.

How do you let off steam?
Country walks or a game of golf.

What keeps you up at night?   
The global pandemic certainly isn’t helping. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for hospitality and how the current situation shapes the industry.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business? 
My father.

Typical Sunday?
BBQ lunch in the garden with family and friends.

Worst business decision? 
I started a restaurant out of town in 2008. The timing couldn’t have been worse due to the financial crash and I had to sell the lease 18 months later

Best business decision?
Opening Bancone.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?  
Put the hours in and be humble. There is no substitute for hands-on experience at every level of the industry.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?  
Public perception of the industry as an employer. We need to do more to promote hospitality as a long term career for young people.

Having studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at Oxford Brookes University, Ellner began his career working in hospitality as a general manager for a restaurant and bar in Oxford. In 2003 he took over as director of Joanna’s in London's Crystal Palace; the restaurant having originally been opened by his parents,  John and Christina Ellner, back in 1978. Then, in 2016, Ellner co-founded Bancone with David Ramsey, which he continues to oversee as managing director. Having opening its first site in Covent Garden, Bancone added a second restaurant to its portfolio last year​, opening on Lower James Street in Soho. 

Related topics: People

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