You might recognise Maurice from BBC 2 series Million Pound Menu, where he appeared as a potential investor. Maurice runs modern Japanese restaurant group K10, and talks to us this month about how much he loves his coffee and the journey from pizza to 'kaiten'.
- When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?
I have wanted to be in the restaurant business since I was very young.
- What are you now you've grown up?
Ha! Who says I have grown up?!... I am now in the restaurant and food tech business sector.
- What was the best piece of advice you were given?
Well, I have three pieces of advice that have been invaluable: focus, know when to take your losses and you have two ears and one mouth – use them in proportion….
- What do you do/did you do as a career?
I have been lucky enough to do what I love for most of my career – a money market trader back in the day when a boozy three hour lunch was considered normal, ran a family business with my brothers selling rubber gloves and medical disposables to the NHS (seriously – a great business) and now in the restaurant business for the last 20 plus years.
Some may remember Famous Moe’s Pizza back in the 1990s. I then headed up business development for Domino’s Pizza, after which I consulted for several major UK and US restaurants brands. Following that, I helped build a chain of pizza restaurants which was sold to Pizza Express a few years ago. More recently, I was Chairman of a food tech (online ordering) business which was sold to UberEats last year and am now a partner in K10 which is a Japanese restaurant group based in the City of London. I have invested in several businesses... some that have been a great success and some I would rather forget about.
Last year I was invited to become an investor/judge on series 2 of BBC 2’s "Million Pound Menu". That was a one-off, so not really part of my day to day job.
- What does/did your job involve?
The restaurant business is very hands-on. I go to the restaurants every day but am more involved in developing the strategy.
I drive everyone crazy about standards. Restaurants are only as good as the last meal they serve. You must be relentless and have zero tolerance for anything that lowers standards. Beyond that, it’s more about mentoring, guiding and learning from new operators in the sector who are creating some very exciting new businesses, particularly start-ups in the restaurant and food tech areas.
- What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Having the right people in the right place.
- What have you done that you are most proud of?
Personally – having two wonderful well-adjusted kids.
Work-wise – helping the companies that I have been involved in mostly from start-up / early stage to grow and thrive into successful businesses.
- What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
Being able to totally switch off, relax and not worry.
- What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
An internet connection, a tablet with access to Facetime, a kindle with a library to every book ever published and a really great coffee machine with unlimited coffee.
- How would you like to be remembered?
As a great dad.