The company behind six pubs and restaurants, including FX Buckley on Dublin’s Pembroke Street, has rebranded as it seeks to expand its offering beyond steakhouses.
The Buckley Collection also includes well-known Dublin pub and restaurant Ryan’s of Parkgate Street and acquired McSwiggans pub and restaurant in Galway shortly before the pandemic. It is currently being redeveloped with a traditional Irish pub theme, while the restaurant upstairs will “showcase the food of the West”.
Also, Stephen Buckley has been promoted to co-managing director of the company, alongside his father Des, as part of a succession plan for the sixth-generation family business.
We’re obviously called FX Buckley but we felt it had its limitations
He also said that turnover at the various venues is up between 5pc and 14pc on pre-Covid levels, depending on location.
“We’re obviously called FX Buckley but we felt it had its limitations – that people thought we only had the steakhouses and the other brands and restaurants were seen as second fiddle.
"So we created an umbrella brand to incorporate them all and to allow us to expand into different markets,” said Buckley.
Commenting on Ryan’s of Parkgate Street he said: “A lot of people thought we rented the restaurant upstairs. We were pigeon-holed into steakhouses and seen as very meat-orientated. This allows to expand into different markets.”
He warned the Government against increasing the VAT rate for hospitality as he believes smaller restaurants may struggle
Other locations include the Bull and Castle at Christchurch, FX Buckley in Temple Bar, FX Buckley Steak and Seafood in Monkstown, and a victualler and grocery shop on Pembroke street. Another arm of the family owns the FX Buckley butchers business.
While restaurant closures have been in the news, Buckley said their business was growing even though profit margins have reduced slightly due to rising costs.
"Maybe people are going out less and spending more,” he said, adding that spending on wine has increased.
The corporate business was back strongly, he said, and reservations for the year ahead are very encouraging.
However, he warned the Government against increasing the VAT rate for hospitality as he believes smaller restaurants may struggle.
He said that restaurants had absorbed some costs, such as energy hikes and food inflation, and passed some onto customers. But at the stage, venues would have to pass a VAT increase onto customers.