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On the job . . . Tees St Cafe manager Harry Kerr whips up a coffee. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

If you have a look at his family history, it is no surprise Harry Kerr has forged a career in the hospitality industry.

He manages Tees St cafe and Tees St North, both owned by Pablo and Yanina Tacchini, who also own Cucina, where Mr Kerr provides assistance.

He has worked as a barista and manager at the cafes for the past 10 months.

“The head barista is usually in charge per se . . . but here it’s more of a leadership group than a management arrangement, which is really cool.”

Kerr loves the rush he gets from being on the go at the busy cafes, and says it gave him plenty of opportunities to refine his craft.

“It’s about perfecting your trade while you’re busy.”

He has essentially grown up around the industry.

Mr Kerr’s parents, James and Kathy Kerr, own the Wrinkly Rams in Omarama; his uncle, Bill Johnston, owns the Waimate Hotel; and his grandfather once owned the Omarama Hotel, the Duntroon Tavern and the Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell.

“I suppose so,” he said when asked if his family ties to the hospitality industry meant he would follow suit.

“You either have it or you don’t. If you’re born in it, you sort of stay in it.”

He believed persistence, an eye for detail and patience were the keys to success in the industry.

Mr Kerr said he had not really thought about the prospect of opening his own cafe, but thought it was something he would consider in the future.

“While I’m learning with Pablo and Yani, it’s not on the short-term horizon, but down the track, I suppose everyone’s got dreams. I’d prefer to stay and learn first.

“If I had to think of what Oamaru needed in hospitality, you have to think of supply and demand. I would love to try and set up a chain that’s really similar to Burger Burger.

“I reckon a gourmet burger chain that’s focused on the South Island would be perfect. Oamaru needs a gourmet burger chain.”

Mr Kerr, who earned a diploma in business at Otago Polytechnic in 2011, left John McGlashan College in 2007 and moved to Canada in 2008.

In Canada, he worked for Liberty Clothing, a company owned by the family that once owned Tim Horton’s, which he said was the “Canadian equivalent to Starbucks”.

After a stint in Brisbane, he decided to move back to the district and settled at Weston with partner Jules about 12 months ago.

He felt the Waitaki district was a fantastic place to live and had a particularly soft spot for Omarama and the surrounding areas.

“Waitaki is really cool,” he said.