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'This is worse than war-time for restaurants' - Guilbaud


Restaurateur Patrick Guilbaud

Restaurateur Patrick Guilbaud

Restaurateur Patrick Guilbaud

Ireland's most celebrated restaurateur, Patrick Guilbaud, has stated that the business environment for restaurants during Covid-19 is worse than what it would be like during war-time.

Mr Guilbaud said: "People say to me 'Patrick, this is a war' - but this is worse than a war because during a war you don't close businesses and restaurants.

"You keep them going. You don't stop a way of living.

"This is worse. No income is coming in. Now, we have to close everything. You can't go and meet your loved ones.

"It is difficult. Nothing is worse than war but this is tough."

Mr Guilbaud's famed two-Michelin star restaurant, housed in Dublin's five-star Merrion Hotel, is going through its second shutdown this year.

The restaurant has been operating since 1981 and had weathered five recessions before the first Covid shutdown in March.

Mr Guilbaud stated: "Going from 100pc to 0pc is very tough. From being very busy to doing absolutely nothing is tough."


Mr Guilbaud was commenting on new accounts filed by the restaurant's Becklock Ltd which show that post tax profits increased by 66pc to €873,643 for the 12 months to the end of August last year.

Mr Guilbaud added that last year was "as good as it gets" from a business point of view.

He commented: "This year is going to be a disaster. That is life."

He said that the business was doing well after its summer re-opening.

The business reduced the number of seats from 85 to 50 to comply with health regulations.

"We did everything we had to do by the book," he said.

"We were doing well and the restaurant was busy and staff were getting money back into their pockets."

The collapse in tourism robbed the restaurant of its tourist trade this year.

"We had very strong support from the Irish people when we re-opened."

At the end of August 2019, Becklock had accumulated profits of €2.56m that included cash funds of €1.65m.

"The reserves we put aside every year make sure that we have enough to survive - they are starting to get thin and we have to be careful," he stated.

"We are hoping to re-open as soon as we can. All my team are ready and willing and eager to go back."