The old saying “like father, like son” (or, indeed, daughter) seems to hold true in the business world with studies showing that children born into entrepreneurial families are twice as likely to run a company themselves.
Here, in celebration of Father’s Day, we meet two young Sheffield entrepreneurs who have followed in their dad’s footsteps into self-employment.
Tom Lawson is head chef and partner at Rafters Restaurant, and his dad Brian Lawson, owns management consultancy Lawson Thinking.
Aged just 14 Tom Lawson came home with homework to write down where he wanted to be in 10 years’ time.
Tom didn’t hesitate to say “I want to own a top restaurant” – and he did just that, buying well-known Sheffield restaurant Rafters with his business partner Alistair Myers in 2014.
Tom followed a classic route into restaurant ownership, having graduated top of his class at catering college, winning numerous accolades along the way including the prestigious Roux Scholarship and then working in the kitchens at various top end pubs and restaurants in the region.
However, the desire to be his own boss remained and Tom jumped at the chance to take over the lease at Rafters despite his dad’s initial reservations.
“Originally we were considering buying a pub somewhere in Sheffield,” said Tom. “However Rafters cropped up and we really saw massive potential here.
It had a reputation for great service already but we wanted to improve the food, invest in the kitchen and offer some innovative menu choices.”
Tom certainly got the advice he needed in the early stages of planning the business, as dad Brian runs Lawson Thinking, a management consultancy helping businesses with strategy, problem solving and executive coaching.
Tom said: “Initially he didn’t like the idea of Rafters because there was no car park but actually that’s not a bad thing at all as people then come here in a taxi, spend money on wine with us and have a much better evening all round.”
Brian said: ““They’ve grown up in a world of absolute choice, so they’re great at offering people a really personalised service and offering more than just good food.”