Alex Wrethman, owner of Charlotte’s Group, has been working in the restaurant business for 20 years – and he’s only 35.
The born and bred London restaurateur and entrepreneur started in the hospitality industry at the age of 15 washing plates at Charlotte’s Place, which he now owns. Alex told us, “As a 15-year-old boy I was pretty happy to work somewhere there were a few pretty waitresses. I quickly learned that 18-year-old girls are not interested in 15-year-old boys who smell of garlic and dirty plates.”
Over the next few years Alex moved up quickly through the kitchen. “I really, really loved it. I was nerdy, reading every cookbook I could lay my hands on, including Larousse Gastronomique cover to cover.”
He applied to do a Business Management degree in Manchester and dreamed of owning his own restaurant one day. During university Alex worked the bar at the original Living Room in Manchester, learning everything he could about bartending. Once again, personal study was key, reading everything from the The Bartender’s Bible to Michael Jackson’s many books on whisky. After a few years The Living Room opened a site in London, which brought Alex back to the capital.
“One day I went to eat at Charlotte’s Place and learned that the property was for sale,” he said. At 23 he bought his first restaurant. “There were two things that helped me purchase the restaurant” my business degree and my parents’ financial support. I paid them market rent for the property over six years until I was able to buy it outright, which I was proud about.”