• Creative Ideas.
  • Hospitality Solutions.
  • Fulfilling Visions.


Savvy IQ is a strategic consulting company with a focus in the hospitality industry. Savvy IQ is committed to delivering high-quality service that sets us apart from other consultants. We are professionals in the hospitality industry, passionate and dedicated to supporting and growing your business. Providing services to suit individual company and business needs, with innovative approaches to the industry and ongoing support, our services are the reason Savvy IQ has made such a positive impact on the hospitality industry.

What we do

The services we offer are listed into four main categories

Our Team

Kurt Zdesar
Kurt Zdesar

Kurt was born in Sydney Australia and had begun his career very early in the hospitality industry. Having moved to Europe early in his life, London became the platform of Kurt’s success.


Kurt was the European Director for Nobu and was responsible for bringing the brand to London. The first European restaurant was opened in London, which received a Michelin-Star within 10 months of opening, the UK’s first Michelin-Star for Asian cuisine. He then went to develop and establish the brand worldwide.


Kurt launched and founded his own concept Ping Pong, which went on to become a successful global brand. Ping Pong was also recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing companies and continues to be one of London’s most successful Asian restaurants.


In September 2013 Kurt opened Chotto Matte in Soho’s Frith Street bringing together the best of Japanese and Peruvian culture. Chotto Matte serves high-quality Nikkei cuisine and colourful cocktails in a vibrant, loud atmosphere. Following the success of Chotto Matte’s launch, Kurt opened Black Roe in March 2016, London’s first Poke bar and grill inspired by the Pacific Rim. In October 2016 Kurt continued to expand his operation by opening Fucina, a modern organic Italian restaurant located in the hear of Marylebone.


In January 2017 Kurt oversaw the opening of Paneterria by Fucina, an artisanal organic delicatessen which features an in-house bakery producing bread, pastries, charuterie, and gelato amongst other things. 2017 will also see the launch of Chotto Matte’s first international outlet in Miami, currently scheduled to open in September 2017.

Kostas Sillignakis
Kostas Sillignakis
Operations Director

Kostas graduated at the Business College of Athens in BSc Hospitality and Catering and at the University of Surrey in MSc Leisure and Tourism Management. He later also finished a MBA in Strategic Management and Business Development at Oxford Brookes.


Kostas has extensive experience and successful track record in the hospitality industry, having worked in Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. Notable projects involve Banana Tree Restaurants, Santoku, Kalila, Dikakeen, Café Meem.

Didier Nahum
Didier Nahum
International F&B Manager

Didier has over 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His passion for the hospitality industry led him to seek employment in the sector immediately after finishing school in Marseille.


Didier began his career by taking up several F&B management roles immediately after school, having the opportunity to work in London, Moscow, Sydney, and Montreal. Notable projects have included ECO, Café Imagination, Vanil, Mejico, Stamford Hotels, the Norman Hotel Tel Aviv and ICHIBUNS.

Daniel Nunez
Daniel Nunez
International F&B Manager

Daniel graduated in navigation and power vessels at the University of Sevastopol. He started focusing on F&B after university by attaining a diploma in restaurant management in Moscow and qualifying in the general manager course at Ping Pong restaurants in 2013.


Daniel began his career in Ukraine. Moving to Moscow and working in well-renounced bars and restaurants, his career took him to Bahrain, UAE, Sao Paolo, Panama, Croatia, and Germany. His past projects include Khalila, Zeppelin Nightclub, Movie Nightclub, Bennigan’s and Ping Pong Restaurant.

George Matzaridis
George Matzaridis
Mixologist & Bar Manager

George graduates in a BA Economics degree at the University of Greenwich. He started working his F&B career by working as a bartender in the Breakfast Group and later moved to Hakkasan as a bar manager. Later he moved to Ping Pong Group in 2005 as an Operations Bar Manager.


Geroge has been consulted on projects such as Yauatcha, Stake No Hana, Duck and Rice, Princi and Mews of Mayfair which have led to him being awarded the Best London Bartender 2011.

Nigel Smith
Nigel Smith
Corporate Executive Chef

Nigel started his working career at the London Metropole Hotel, Aspects restaurant, Royal Garden Hotel, Savoy, Milestone Hotel and several other fine dining restaurants in Moscow and Ekaterinburg in his formative years.


Nigel returned to the UK as the Head Chef of Chester Boyd where he eventually became the company’s senior Head Chef. After leaving Chester Boyd, he opened his own 2 AA rosette restaurant where he aimed for culinary excellence. Nigel later took on the responsibilities of the 2012 Olympics catering, catering for 30,000 people a day and 3 fine dining Hotel a day.


Nigel now has opened 2 more restaurants in India after the Olympics: Setz and OTW.

Timothy Chen
Timothy Chen
Strategy & Concept Development Manager

Timothy studied BSc Economics at the University of Birmingham and MSc Emerging Economics and International Development at King’s College of London. He started his career in accountancy, working for Ernst and Young before entering into the world of F&B.


In 2015 Timothy accepted an opportunity to work with Paul at Savvy IQ. He was able to consult businesses in London and Tel Aviv. Past projects have included the Norman Hotel Tel Aviv, Chotto Matte, and ICHIBUNS.

Yana Tsyplakova
Yana Tsyplakova
Business Development Manager

Yana graduated in her International Hospitality Entrepreneurship degree at the International Management Institute in Switzerland. After education she moved back to Saint Petersburg where she started her career in operations at sky resort Gorky-Gorod. Since Yana’s career began, she has attained 3 years of experience in operation procedures at 5 star hotels.


Yana’s expertise in the hospitality industry has also allowed the opportunity for her to work in several restaurants in Saint Petersburg as a brand manager.

Paul Sarlas
Paul Sarlas

Paul was born in Sydney, Australia and was exposed to the hospitality industry from a young age. He began his career in the family business, working in all aspects of the restaurant industry. He later took a post in a boutique hotel in Sydney to continue his studies in management.


Paul’s passion in F&B moved him from hotels to free-standing restaurants as he worked his way up to management positions at a very young age. With an eagerness to succeed, he opened his first café in the Sydney Suburb of Brookvale. He soon expanded into the second café in North Sydney.


Paul sold his cafes later in order to focus in the restaurant industry. Purchasing Milsons restaurant in Kirribilli, Sydney, at the young age of 27, Paul became one of the young restaurateurs of Sydney. This ‘One Hat’ fine dining restaurant continued its success with Paul at the helm. Later purchasing the sister restaurant, Jaspers of Hunters Hill, another ‘One Hat’ restaurant, Paul began to grow his company to create a mini restaurant empire. Successfully opening Essence restaurant in King Street Wharf Sydney, Paul continued to grow his restaurant company to 12 restaurants throughout Sydney.


Creating a strong following and a recipe for success, Paul founded Savvy IQ, advising fellow restaurateurs and hoteliers on his expertise and formula to success. His work expanded internationally, and later became Director Asia Pacific for Hilton Worldwide managing almost 300 F&B outlets in 17 countries. He then moved to Moscow as Director for Stepan Mikhalkov as Director for Verchisky, Vanil and a number of other restaurants and cafes within the group.


With an international focus, Paul has been appointed as CEO with restaurant groups in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and London. Now Paul continues his consulting company, Savvy IQ and developments concepts in London and internationally, with 4 restaurants concepts opening in 2017/18.

Some Of Our Clients

Our Projects

Our Blog

ALL GM’s – Five Imperatives for Improving Service Quality

THE DOWNTOWN Chicago Marriott hotel had been open for fifteen years before its management determined that two-thirds of all guest calls to housekeeping were to request ironing boards. This discovery...

1 reason why restaurants fail – The missing element

Many people see the idea of owning a restaurant as a dream and the ideal capital move, in doing something that they will love as a career. This usually dream...

Restaurant Reservations – Technology v Human: More than just a reservationist.

In an era of online reservations, many people continue to connect by phone to a restaurant to make a reservation. Be it a way to ensure they get that special...

The ‘NEW’ Hotel General Manager

The position of General Manager has never been a static one. When you're checking the financials one minute and tasting new dishes in your restaurant the next, you cannot afford...

Food for kids. It’s changed! Hoteliers and Restaurateurs should know better…….

This blog was inspired from a recent summer holiday experience to a 5-star beach resort with my wife, my 5 year-old and 2 year-old. Just…

Travelling & Dining Alone – Some tips to surviving

During the past 15 years I have been traveling quite extensively as a hospitality consultant; and whilst having a passion to try as many food…

Hotel GM and The Owner – Communication

Carrying on from some previous posts, I have recently seen a small boutique hotels success being hindered through a difficult department head, who has direct…

How can your concept stand out from the crowd?

The difference today is that the market is much more saturated compared to some years back. Apart from having more restaurants per square kilometer, people…

Hotel Strategic Planning a Must.

On a recent consulting project, my company was appointed to assist a hotel that has been open just over one year, to redefine the F&B…

Creating Your Restaurant Concept

The most exciting part of opening your own restaurant is the opportunity to be creative and develop a brand that you are passionate about. You…

Importance of Understanding the P&L

With a little extra time on my hands over this festive season, I have had the chance to catch up with some blog writing. You…

A Restaurants Business Plan…..

Further to my recent article ” Top 10 Restaurant Startup Errors”, and the most relevant error, No 1. Avoiding the business plan, I was requested by a few of…

Creating the Restaurant Ambience

As Managers and Owners in hospitality, we might be inclined to use the word ‘space’ rather than place, when describing the ambience of a restaurant….

Balancing the Restaurants Profit Equation

Too many restaurants focus solely on the bottom line – profits. We lose sight of everything else that is important and how we got there. Owners…

Top 10 Restaurant Startup Errors

Thinking of opening a restaurant? Are you prepared to make important decisions? As a new restaurant owner, it is important to know which steps you…

Basic Pointers in Restaurant Management and Operations

Statistics show that many new restaurants are opening up for business with an offer of something new in their menu. While there is an apparent…

Small Business Success – Easy Tips That Will Help You Succeed

Whether you succeed in your small business, or fail, depends upon whether or not you pay attention to every decision that you make. As long…

Restaurant Feng Shui

In the process of developing a concept here in London to open in early 2016, my business partner insisted on a Feng Shui Master to…

Dangers of Procrastination When Building Your Business

On the internet when you are building your business your actions must be swift and calculated just to be competitive! It is therefore mandatory to…

How Business Blogging Can Build Your Credibility Offline

When I speak to business owners about blogging, sometimes I hear, “Does anyone even read these things?” or even, “Why bother?” There are plenty of…

Getting Your SWOT Analyses Right

Most of us have probably taken part in a whole boatload of SWOT analyses. Certainly, in my time, companies and staff have shared numerous SWOT…

How to deal with bad online reviews

The online component of owning a restaurant is the single biggest change in the restaurant industry over the past ten years. Websites that encourage guests…

7 Tips for Managing a Seasonal Business

One well-known challenge that any entrepreneur might face is navigating seasonal fluctuations in the businesses or industry. The key to doing so successfully involves developing…

The Pre-Shift Meeting

I have worked for a number of companies over the years that held pre-shift meetings with the waiters and chefs. They have been called a…

5 Simple Ways Waiters Can Create Returning Customers

Waiters are your brand ambassadors; they are the face of your restaurant and the voice of your business. But sometimes can also be the deterrent…

Kids Menus For Restaurants – Quick Tips

Restaurants are facing the challenge of updating their kids’ menus to reflect the growing demand among parents for food that is healthier for their children….

Basic Pointers in Restaurant Management and Operations.

Statistics show that many new restaurants are opening up for business with an offer of something new in their menu. While there is an apparent…

7 Basic Bartending Techniques In Producing The Finest Cocktails

Some people think that bartending is limited to serving and pouring alcoholic beverages and liquors inside the bar. This is the common perception for those…

4 Tips To Increase Revenues From Your Menus

By tweaking the way you describe your menu, you can raise the perception of the food and command a higher price that customers are willing…

Why are some Restaurant Concepts not being creative?

Ever wonder why more restaurants don’t use unique concepts for their food, service, décor, or overall execution? After all, buying, preparing and serving food is…

Using Pintrest for Restaurants

Pinterest is a new social media tool that can be used in your F&B operation. Since it is web-based, you can engage all of your…

Which Type of Restaurant Concept?

There are many different restaurant types out there. New restaurants open all the time, and concepts vary from pizza chains to fine sushi restaurants to…

The Basics of Restaurant Marketing

If you own or operate a restaurant, one of the most important things that you can do is to market your business. Naturally, there are…

Buying a Restaurant

“It is hard work and is not as easy as I thought it would be”, is often the answer I receive to “why are you…

Your Restaurant’s Competition

Gauging Your Restaurant’s Competition Benchmarking is the process of measuring the competition in comparison to your own service and product in order to gain a…

Turn Your Waiters Into Salespeople

If your restaurant is mid- to upscale and incorporates a menu, bar and wine list sprinkled with high-dollar items, chances are you need a staff…

F&B Passion for Service

Much is being said about passion in F&B service. How do we in F&B get and keep this passion in our outlets? Let’s examine this…

Franchise or Independent?

Opening a Franchise vs. Starting an Independent Restaurant There are two major categories of restaurants: independent restaurants and franchises, also called chain restaurants. Independent restaurant…

Organic Food For Restaurants

In recent years, more and more consumers are becoming health-conscious. This awareness has led companies to develop alternative offerings in the organic food market. Major…

Restaurant Problems

While there will be problems with any business, in the restaurant industry a problem can be a disaster if you allow it to be. Rather…

Balance Atmosphere And Food

According to experts, restaurant interior design is a much a part of the business as is the foodstuffs. People will most expected go to a…

Restaurant Profitability

If the food service concept is sound and the location is conducive to that concept the rest is purely mathematical and somewhat scientific. Making money…

How to start a restaurant.

Starting a restaurant is as exciting as it is challenging, from the conceptual stages to the first drink and meal served. What you achieve in…

Get In Touch