Natalie Demetriou

Natalie Demetriou – Lost in the Lanes

Name: Natalie Demetriou.

Occupation: Founder Lost in the Lanes Café Bar.

Please can you share a whistle-stop tour of your career?

I opened LOST back in 2017 having not long moved back to the UK after living in New Zealand for 13 years. I had not had any prior experience working in hospitality and was armed only with a love and passion for food and looking after people. I spent the 15 years prior to running LOST working in education as a speech and language therapist. These last five years have been the most extraordinary journey and steep learning curve! I continue to learn a great deal every day and look forward to the time when I feel like I am old hand. 

Describe your job in three words:


What has been your philosophy that has seen the successful development of your career?

I aspire to have my business reflect who I am as a person. The people who work with me, our welcoming ethos, and the food that we are serving are all a reflection of what I believe in first and foremost. This may not be the soundest business model but it does ensure that I am creating something that I love and believe in.  

Words of encouragement for women who aspire to reach a senior position in hospitality.

I came from a caring industry/occupation before running LOST. I did not have training in being a hard nosed business person but I did have training in communicating with people, in seeing people holistically and identifying their strengths. I did wonder, to begin with, if this skill set and my lack of business acumen had a place in this rather tough industry.  

Would it be possible to run a high adrenaline restaurant using a gentle approach? Five years down the track and I am happy to say that I am creating a business and culture at LOST where my employees share my approach and value system and I have not had to change who I am. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people allows you to operate and thrive in hospitality and create a business you can be proud of. Be yourself, it is so important. 

Favourite aspect of the job?

People, people, people!

The toughest aspect of your job? 

Finding balance with running the business and family life. It is all consuming and because it is such a reflection of yourself you are not willing to compromise on what you are delivering. My family is very supportive but it is not easy!

Do you have a go to or failsafe plate of comfort food? Or favourite restaurant/cafe/bar and why.

I think I have been eating Wagamama number 42 since 1993 when I moved to London as a student. I still take my kids there today, affordable, fresh and comforting! But the ultimate comfort food is going home to Greece and sitting on the water’s edge eating fresh fish and meze at a local taverna. Nothing beats that!

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