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'I needed to learn more'

Tommy Clancy, who graduated from the restaurant school in December, worked for 25 years at his brother's restaurant. He is now branching out and starting his own place in Co Clare.

"Running a restaurant is a tough business,'' says Tommy. "At first I thought I could do it myself, but then I realised that I need to learn a bit more about different aspects of the trade such as customer care and financial service.

"I rented a cottage in Abbeyleix while I was doing it. There was real family atmosphere.

"I hope to run a middle-of-the-road restaurant. I think you have to offer good value at the present time.''

Joe O'Toole, another recent graduate from the school, runs a filling station and shop in Tullow, Co Carlow.

"I am a retailer. So it was useful to learn more about the food business, the importance of taking a systems-based approach -- in other words checking everything rigorously -- and ensuring consistency.

"Blathnaid teaches that one of the secrets of success is to train staff so that the day-to-day running of the business can operate when the owner, or another key member of staff, is not there.''

The School of Restaurant and Kitchen Management -- www.restaurantmanagement.ie

Irish Independent