10 questions with Kamran Dehdashti: The Little Yellow DoorThu 08 2017 | admin
Q1. How did you get started in hospitality?
I basically fell in love with live music and venues that hosted live nights. I started hosting them, then mini concerts, and after university, decided that I didn’t want to apply my economics degree to the world of finance, but instead try to being a more business minded approach to venues.
Q2. What have you learned from this industry that you couldn’t learn in another?
People. This is the industry that shows you people from scale 0 all the way through to 10. Sober, drunk, happy, sad, angry & so on. And you need to learn how to deal with them across all those situations. And then you have the staff too, generally multi national, with wonderful stories from their travels. So you just get a sense of people from all backgrounds, all socio-economic upbringings, all races and all “spiritual” states of mind!
Q3. Tell us a little bit more about your concept and how your brand has evolved?
Our “Doors” are styled around fictional flat shares. Although the “flat” style concept isn’t new to the market, we find that most people in the past always tried to replicate a really snazzy penthouse style apartment, which was fun for a bit, but also a bit pretentious and naff. We replicate “authentic” flats; somewhere you, me, our friends etc. would actually hang out in. a little rough around the edges, but homely, warm, unpretentious, friendly & fun. Like a home should be.
The different colours of our doors replicate the area we are in, so that each door will have its own individuality, and will mimic the tastes and styles of that area, but will retain the same common values; those of being welcome at home!
We started as a little 3 month pop up in Notting Hill that was meant to be a secondary side project, but from the moment we opened, we had huge press articles and we were full. We lasted 2.5 years, achieving incredible results, becoming one of the longest running pop ups in town, before securing some funding this year to go and open permanent sites across London. We have just secured our first permanent site in Notting Hill Gate again, and are recruiting for roles there as well as our new head office. It is a very exciting time!
Q4. Let’s talk staffing: What do you look for in the best candidates?
Honesty, integrity, willingness to learn, the “right” experience, and someone with a good soul, cheesy as it is!
Q5. Ultimate interviewing tips?
Know your interviewer! Research the brand, ask yourself why you like it and why you are at the interview. Think about what they may ask you and prepare. Its all basics, but its amazing how many people fail at this!
Oh, and come as you are. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. Don’t appease the interviewer by agreeing to something that you don’t feel comfortable with just to make them happy. It will backfire in the long run!
Q6. Worst thing you’ve seen a candidate do in an interview?
Currently, it not even at the interview. Its people not turning up to scheduled interviews without warning or follow up. In other industries this isn’t done but seems to happen more than ever in ours! Do people not realise owners keep CVs on file and share this info?!
Q7. Best thing you’ve seen a candidate do in an interview?
Prepare a presentation on how they would tackle the job in the first 9 months of working with us, having researched the brand thoroughly.
Q8. Top 5 spots and the best things to order?
There are just way too many. Currently I’m a big fan of the Palomar & Barbary (owned by the same people), all the Polpos, Chiltern Firehouse (cliché I know) & the Blues kitchen (great growing brand). Sophie’s Steakhouse in Fulham is still my go to!
Q9. Best service you’ve ever had?
Somewhere in the United States of America. Or the Wolseley.
Q10. What’s next for you?
GROWTH! It’s the beginning of an exciting journey. We want 5 coloured doors over the next 4 years in London, then who knows. We are ambitious boys!
For more information about The Little Yellow Door click here