Spotlight On...

...Keith Knowles 

Managing Director - Beds and Bars

What were you like at school, how would your teachers describe you?

Crap, challenging, awkward.

What did your parents do?

Run pubs!

Who is the most famous person you have served?

Phil Collins although I could list many more - like Queen and Freddie Mercury. When I think about Phil Collins was the one I liked the most. There was also Tony Holland - the writer and creator of Eastenders who used one of our pubs as the inspiration for what happened in the square.

How on earth do I know which wine to order in a restaurant? Is there any safe bets?

If you buy a house wine and it’s bad it says to me the establishment has not put enough thought into the quality.

What made you want to work in hospitality in the first place?

It was by Default 

Describe a typical day in the world of Keith?

I am the most unstructured, structured person if that makes any sense to you at all, so there’s no typical day.

What do you love most about your job?

The people.

What is the hardest thing about this industry?

A lack of understanding among governments about the value of what this industry brings. 

"Paris – From a whole in the ground to £100k a week"
-Keith Knowles 

What do you love most about your job?


The ultimate satisfaction is leading a team of engaged colleagues in stretching the boundaries of the hostel experience for our guests.


Who inspires you in life and in the industry?

 1) I am VP of rugby club and I’ve been at the same club for years among team members who inspire me.


2) I’m inspired by the trainees of today because they are the skippers of 20 years from now and if we don’t invest in these people, we won’t inspire, and motivate them in their training. I am old news and it’s my job is to replace myself. Even though it’s my business - I need to replace myself.

3) I’m also a Free Mason, which is a great source of inspiration for me.


What do your friends/family think of your job?

They think I’m mad.

What is the biggest mistake you ever made at work?

The biggest mistake is the thing I learnt the most out of. It was the Stag pub project - a mistake because it was in a poor location.  

What has been your biggest career achievement?

Building Paris – We went from a hole in the ground to £100k a week, without making the mistake of trying to understand the French, but actually working with them to decipher their way of doing things.  

If you could go back in time and give yourself one bit of career advice what would that be?

Product is king. The bunk bed of today does not meet the requirements of the customer of tomorrow. When we started we had army issue bunk beds were fit for the job then. The customers of today however are more sophisticated. Back then we only had one power socket in each room but now in Paris for example, each bunk has its own power socket, reading light and privacy! 

What is the most expensive thing you own?

It has to be my house

Gherkin or gurkout?

I don't understand Gurkout

Marmite – love it or hate it? Love it

I Love it

Favourite chocolate bar?

Lindt 85% Cocoa

What do you want to be when you grow up?

By definition I don’t think I have grown up. I never want to.

To visit The Beds and Bars website please click here
To go to Keith's page click here

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