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Restaurant trade: Big beasts put small rivals on the hook

Smaller players in the sector are being squeezed out by costs, the pandemic and chains with deep pockets

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Gaz Smith is worried about the continued effects of the pandemic on the sector. Picture by John Murray

Gaz Smith is worried about the continued effects of the pandemic on the sector. Picture by John Murray

Sean Drugan, of the Vintage Kitchen, fears it will be very difficult for restaurants to exist on an independent scale from now on

Sean Drugan, of the Vintage Kitchen, fears it will be very difficult for restaurants to exist on an independent scale from now on

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Gaz Smith is worried about the continued effects of the pandemic on the sector. Picture by John Murray

Days before Austria went back into lockdown to tackle a fourth wave of the pandemic, Dublin-based restaurateur Gareth ‘Gaz’ Smith was back in his old stomping ground of Vienna to blow off some steam. Surveying the once-busy Mariahilfer Strasse shopping street from the rooftop of his hotel, Smith – who spent six years working in the Austrian capital before returning to Ireland – spotted just four people.

It was very strange,” says the chef, who owns Michael’s, a seafood and steak restaurant, and the more informal Little Mike’s in the affluent suburb of Mount Merrion, Dublin.


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