Restaurant finds its sea legs during slump
IT MIGHT call itself fishy, but there's something fresh about the success of one seafood restaurant in the face of recession.
Fishy Fishy -- which was founded in 2006, just two years before Ireland's economic collapse -- has enjoyed continuous growth.
Its business has dramatically expanded over the past two years in particular, with the Kinsale restaurant now employing 52 staff and enjoying record trade.
"Our business has grown significantly over the past two years.
"What I have noticed is that people are placing more and more emphasis on quality Irish-sourced food. If you have fresh, top quality Irish food ingredients, people keep coming back for more," said TV chef Martin Shanahan, who runs the restaurant.
He spoke positively about the Government's recent VAT reduction, which will boost the tourism industry and help restaurants survive into 2012.
"It has been a very difficult time for the industry -- there are a lot of hotels and restaurants out there only holding on by their fingertips," he said.
But he said the mixed summer weather was of more pressing concern to those who made a livelihood from other people's holiday spending.
Mr Shanahan also said that Irish people were still dining out, but are now opting for value-for-money menus and slashing back on their alcohol spending.
Despite the VAT reduction hitting headlines, Mr Shanahan said its full benefit wouldn't be felt until next September or October. But he predicted that, if the labour-intensive industry is supported, it could dramatically contribute to Ireland's job creation drive.
"The VAT reduction should help and there is no doubt that there are also a lot of Irish people choosing to take holidays at home this year. When people are on holidays, they spend money and that is good for the industry."
This has been further augmented by increased numbers of American, British, French and German tourists from April and May -- a trend likely to be strengthened by the recent state visits.