How I Got Here: Kerry Brennan

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Golden Union co-founder and director Kerry Brennan

Related tags: Fish and chips, Restaurant, Soho

Kerry Brennan is the co-founder and director of 'quintessential British chippy' Golden Union in London's Soho.

Why restaurants?
As the landscape is constantly changing within this industry, from the way in which we provide food to how we wish to serve it. Therefore, forever giving you scope to re-create or create new concepts, which I love, and has kept me focused during this unpredictable time.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career? 
Have patience; take a moment to consider all angles of the problem or situation, as not everything is black and white. 

What time do you wake up?​ 

Coffee or tea? 
Always coffee!

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
This is a difficult question! There are more than a few outstanding groups at the moment. I guess I would say for fast casual, Pizza Pilgrims. I love the honesty of the product, the way it's not just the food that's the star of the show, it's the staff too.

What motivates you? 
Creating a great team to work with.  I personally think having the right mix of people is essential to a successful business.

What keeps you up at night?
The desire to get back to normal trading as soon as possible. 

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?  
This is difficult, as I feel you are constantly learning from the people you interact with daily, and absorbing the best practices from them. If you are willing to learn, you will always be adapting, but I think overall my partner Billy has the most influence on my approach.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home? 
Two-day lasagne.

Typical Sunday? 
I love Sunday’s as it’s a total family food day. We kick things off with a large family breakfast; walk the dog; have no lunch; and then we all sit down to a traditional Sunday roast in the evening.

Favourite holiday destination? 
Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Worst business decision?  
Not thoroughly completing due diligence before taking an acquisition. 

Best business decision?
Opening Golden Union on Poland Street in Soho.  We love it and have become a Poland Street stalwart in our 12 years. 

What are you currently reading?  
Setting the Table​ by Danny Meyer.

What boxset are you currently watching?
The Last Dance​ on Netflix.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Find a partner that has the same ethical beliefs as yourself, and be prepared to make tough decisions.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I feel like, as an industry, we need to re-evaluate the rent and the rates, to give everyone a fighting chance. This in turn will create a more diverse restaurant landscape, which we can all enjoy.


Having moved back to London, where she grew up, after completing her degree in Interior Architecture, Brennan set about trying to set up her own practice. However, having begun working in a couple of pubs in the capital, she soon found herself drawn in by the buzz of hospitality and decided it was the career path for her. Within a couple of years, she and her partner Billy had come up with the Golden Union concept, which opened on Poland Street in Soho in 2008.

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