TV chef dishes out advice to struggling restaurants
THE chef and restaurateur, Richard Corrigan yesterday spoke about the tough times that the business is going through after he pulled out of a popular restaurant.
Corrigan, whose investment in Dublin's 'Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill' on Stephen's Green ended earlier this year, said restaurants had to be full "three to four nights a week" to make it through the economic downturn.
It was the first time that the TV personality spoke about his departure from the Dublin restaurant scene. Following his exodus from Bentley's, Corrigan oversees operations at his two London restaurants.
"I had a small interest in one (restaurant) in Dublin, but that finished last March," he said.
"Restaurants and hotels are always going to take a hit in a downturn -- people will choose to stop eating out as they have every right to. It is up to our sector to fight back and woo them in with great deals, which most have in fairness."
"However, you have to have full houses three to four nights a week to pay your way. If you can't do that you are going to go out of business," he said.
"I come home every two weeks and all my buddies are in the restaurant business and my heart goes out to them. It's tough. It really is very, very tough for them," Corrigan said.
As for diners, the chef said there was never a better time or choice for people to eat out.
He said the country's restaurants had done everything possible to entice business.
"They are at the bottom ... . they can't cut any more because they have their rates, they have their leases to pay, their staff and bills to pay. It's just tough times.
"Some people are flourishing. Family-run restaurants around Ireland are flourishing where people know there is great, natural food," he added.
"The image of Ireland to me is walking into a pub and a barman pulling a nice pint of Guinness and going into a restaurant and having some delicious natural food from the countryside from a great chef," he said.
Corrigan was speaking in Thomond Park, Limerick, at the launch of 'An Evening with Richard Corrigan' which will be held at the stadium on September 14.