BIOGRAPHY - KURT ZDESAR
Kurt Zdesar was born in Australia of an Austrian father and came to the UK when he was fourteen years old. In 1988, aged only sixteen, he began to work for fast food giant McDonald's. Although he held a junior position, he regards his eighteen months there as a lesson in efficient management, work ethic and organisation that has proved invaluable throughout his career. In subsequent jobs at Perfect Pizza and then Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kurt made rapid progress, at the age of only eighteen becoming the youngest manager at the KFC franchise, Southern Fast Foods. His appointment in 1992 to manage an Italian restaurant at the five-star Britannia Hotel, Canary Wharf gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his entrepreneurial flair. He generated so much extra business for the restaurant that he was asked to run the hotel room service division of 440 rooms.
Kurt then began working with Nobu where he established Nobu's first European restaurant in London which received a Michelin star within 10 months of opening - the UK's first Michelin star for Asian cuisine. Nobu London was voted 'Restaurant of the Year' in 2003 and 2004 by the world renowned Restaurant Magazine and remains Nobu's most profitable restaurant per sq. ft. in the world. Kurt played a pivotal role in establishing Nobu as the world's most successful restaurant groups, and, as Director of Operations Nobu Europe, oversaw 7 successful restaurant openings with 2 restaurants receiving and maintaining Michelin star recognition. On top of this, Kurt successfully established Nobu outside catering in London, applying the concept to high profile events and generating an additional £1.5m in revenue per year.
Kurt also lent his abilities to Alan Yau and established London's 2nd restaurant to receive a Michelin star, Hakkasan, developing a Chinese fine dining concept. Kurt helped select key employees, embedding operational procedures and managed the business during its critical opening phase. Following his passion of restaurants and his golden touch in business, Kurt established his brainchild Ping Pong as a highly successful global brand, with a growing revenue from zero to £15m per annum within 2 years and achieving 'Emerging Concept of the Year' in 2007 and was recognised as one of the United Kingdom's fastest growing companies. Ping Pong continues to be one of London's most successful Asian restaurants.
Selling his stake in Ping Pong, Kurt then continued as a restaurant consultant and concept developer, where he used his successfully leveraged industry knowledge and experience to build 3 further fine dining restaurants: Mews of Mayfair (London), Les Bains Douches (Paris), Block 338 (Bahrain), as well as 3 further concepts due to open in the summer 2011 around the world. In each one, Kurt embeds profitable business models and manages all aspects of the restaurant design and promotion.
Kurt comtinues his operations in Europe, opening restaurants in Sweden and Switzerland. Kurt has now opened his latest concept, Chotto Matte, in London's Soho which is a 6000sqf restaurant and par serving Nikkei cuisine (Peruvian/Japanese).
As an experienced Restaurateur with a track record in establishing and developing fine dining restaurants throughout Europe, his key areas of expertise include: concept creation, assembling, leading and motivating high performing management and creative teams; designing and implementing cost rationalisation initiatives to drive profitability; introducing retail sales methodologies to hospitality service delivery, delivering fine dining quality food at low cost; and managing high profile media and PR campaigns prior to new restaurant launches to mention just a few of his attributes.