On the evening before Short Leave the second of the Entrepreneurship Society's meetings this half featured Alan Yau OBE: an accomplished and recognised restauranteur, most well known for founding Wagamama.
His talk, entitled 'The Black Swan', focused on achieving greatness, as well as what is required to be an entrepreneur. From waking up early, to only worrying about the strength of an idea, he engaged boys and members of the community with an informative yet comic talk.
Alan Yau talked about how McDonald's simple idea of a three component main product helped to give him the idea of a ramen fast food chain. Wagamama was born and it has flourished ever since. Later on, he told an amusing anecdote about how Wagamama got its name, and how he tried to create an atmosphere and ideology in his Michelin starred restaurants to increase spending.
Although he has since left Wagamama and Michelin starred restaurant chain Hakkasan, he helped to build brands now worth $700 million and $1.1 billion respectively. He now has now done an 'IBM Shift' as he described, moving from hardware to software. He looks to continue his development of Softchow, a restaurant ratings platform based on trust, rather than hard statistics like TripAdvisor.