How I Got Here: Hubert Zanier

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Kipferl restaurant Islington founder Hubert Zanier

Related tags: Restaurant, London

The owner of Austrian restaurant Kipferl in Islington on ditching his life as a banker to pursue a career in hospitality, and what he would change about London's restaurant scene.

Why restaurants?
I always wanted to run a hospitality business. Most people thought I am just the usual banker who thinks he can take over a restaurant, but I had a genuine passion for it, only waited a bit too long to do it, but eventually I did, and I didn't regret it.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
How hard it is to find and manage people in a restaurant. 

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
I love Sinuhe, a small Persian restaurant in Notting Hill, super cosy and the food tastes like homemade. They are currently closed and I really hope they will reopen. Also a fan of Franco Manca - they do pizza really well and the concept is extremely well managed. 

What motivates you?
My customers more than anything. When I get an email, see a comment online from a customer or someone in the restaurant who was happy and satisfied with what we are doing, that is my main driver. 

What keeps you up at night?
The question if and when the Covid crisis will be over and we can go back to do what we have been doing before.  

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
When I moved into hospitality I had little to no network, all my LinkedIn was just finance people. But I met quite a few people who have helped me and who I really appreciate: Jens Hofma from Pizza Hut, for example. 

Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Only bad addiction I have.

How often do you check your email?
Far too often. Probably every five minutes at least.  

How do you let off steam?
In the gym (or on my spinning bike at home at the moment).

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
I used to love nights out clubbing in London, can't wait to do that again.

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
Wiener schnitzel.

Typical Sunday?
Before Covid it would be breakfast at home, going to the gym and then helping the team at Kipferl. 

Favourite holiday destination?
Sicily. And Austria, of course.

Worst business decision?
To hire a chef just because he was from Austria without considering how good or bad he really was.  

Best business decision?
To follow my passion and take over Kipferl, the only authentic Austrian restaurant and patisserie in London.  

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Make sure that you get the key people who run the business together with you right.  

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Get rid of all the mediocre restaurants that are charging high prices and serve unexciting food. There are so many in London, and every time I eat in a place like that I feel that I would have rather cooked something at home myself.


Born in Kufstein, Austria, in 1973, Zanier went on to study International Business in Innsbruck and Venice. For nearly 20 years he worked for various banks and financial institutions in Europe and the UK including Citigroup, Bnp Paribas and JP Morgan, before joining London-based East Asian restaurant group Nusa Kitchen as CEO in 2016. He subsequently launched Kipferl, in Islington, in 2018.

Related topics: People, Profiles

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