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Brehnan McGee – My Life in Hospitality

07 October 2010 by

Brehnan McGee is the owner of the Broadway Bar and Grill, Fulham.

Brehnan Magee's route into hospitality is perhaps less conventional than that of the average restaurateur. It began in the late 1980s when his entrepreneurial spirit and endless energy led him to start putting on acid house parties.

But when the Criminal Justice Bill sought to stamp out such activities, Magee took his skill of pulling in a crowd to the West End with the launch of restaurant and bar Jerusalem, with partners Eric Yu and Connie O'Donavan.

Riding on the coat-tails of its success, Magee took over Saint Bar (later known as Salvador and Amanda) and the new umbrella business The Breakfast Group was born. A further six award-winning establishments soon followed.

"With that particular group the plan was always to expand, but I came to the end of my time with the Breakfast Group about five years ago," he explains. "I wanted to be involved with one place so I opened the Club Bar and Dining."

The Warwick Street restaurant and bar in London's Soho was a joint venture with Crystal Palace Football Club chairman Simon Jordan and Magee ran it for four years before he decided that the time had come to look for his next enterprise: the Broadway Bar and Grill in Fulham.

Magee says he is excited by the greater sense of community spirit his new location will afford. "I love the fact that we're going to do something for the locals; it's so unlike the transient clientele of Soho. Around 80% of our business should be repeat business," he says.

HIGHS… The hospitality industry has also given Magee the opportunity to indulge his passion for people. His involvement with so many different bars and restaurants in Soho has made him a very familiar face in the area.

"For me there's not six degrees of separation in Soho; there's probably only two," he says. "I love hanging out with people."

Magee says he is so passionate about what he does that career high points come frequently, but in particular he loves the opening of a new site.

"It's a bit like a wedding, what with all the preparation," he explains. "Everyone knows each other and we're all there for the right reasons."

Jerusalem remains to this day one of Magee's most proud endeavours particularly, he says, because it's still as "busy and buzzy" now as it was 20 years ago. "It was my first professional baby. Club Bar & Dining was the next one, and the Broadway bar & Grill is set to be my latest."

LOWS… However the day after the opening of Jerusalem proved to be a wake-up call, as Magee quickly discovered that the hard work doesn't end with the launch.

"We'd had the most amazing night and we sat there the next day expecting people to come flooding through the door. But no one came," he explains. "We thought we'd cracked it in one night but that's not how it works."

Magee says that it was the fortitude of the team that allowed them to go on to make what he describes as one of the best restaurants and bars of its time.

In the run-up to the launch of his new venture in Fulham, Magee says that lows could happen at any time. "The worst thing for me is lying in bed at night, worrying that we might have built something the wrong size and there's nothing I can do until I get to site in the morning. But everything can be mended; there's nothing you can't change."

The Broadway Bar and Grill opened in Fulham on 6 October

Age 41
Family Partner, one daughter
Favourite holiday Anywhere with sun and sand
Drives In London, you don't need a car - they breed parking tickets
Motto Service and quality

RECESSION-BUSTING TIP

Do not compromise on quality or service and don't devalue your product by discounting

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