Ali Güngörmüs has been the owner and head chef at "Le Canard nouveau" in Hamburg since April 2005. He earned his first Michelin star in 2006 and has also been awarded 16 points by Gault-Millau. Güngörmüs will open a new restaurant, the Pageou, in Munich in October 2014.

Mr Güngörmüs, was a desire to be independent the mainreason behind your becoming self-employed?

It was one of the reasons, but not the only one. From an early age, I wanted to create something of my own and quickly get my restaurant up and running independently.

You moved from Munich to Hamburg to do so. What werethe biggest challenges that you faced in the beginning?

I didn’t know anyone in Hamburg and I only had limited startup capital. And when you’re 27, it’s not easy to convince a bank manager of a restaurant concept – but it did work out.

A lot of self-employed people lament the lack of goodworkers. Why is this such a problem?

Working a twelve-hour shift was normal for me when I was a trainee chef. But things have changed, and free time and good pay are now what matters to trainees. And that makes finding the next generation of qualified employees and convincing them of the benefits of this sector difficult.

How do you manage to enthuse your employees?

First of all, by making it clear to them that they are an integral part of this whole operation. I don’t want them to say: “I work at Mr Güngörmüs’ restaurant.”
”Instead, they should say: “That’s “Le Canard” and I’m a part of it.” Secondly, by openly and clearly telling them that businesshas been good on a particular day – or not, as the case may be. And thirdly, by highlighting economic correlations to them. Not least because all of that serves as a valuable foundation for them possibly setting themselves up in business at some point.

65 per cent of the people surveyed would choose tobecome self-employed in the food service industry again.What do you think of this figure?

It demonstrates the importance attached to career independence and shows that all the hard graft involved in the food service industry ultimately pays off.

How important are business partners such as suppliers tothe success of a food service business?

I am reliant on having quality produce and reliable suppliers. So I treat my business partners fairly and don’t try to squeeze their prices – good produce comes at a price.

What’s your recipe for success for the self-employed?

The better you do your job, the more likely you are to make it on your own. So it makes sense to get a few years’ experience under your belt after your vocational training, before going it alone.

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