Hotel & Catering Review November/December 2019

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ISSUE 11 2019

The Master Chef


An eye to the future Fáilte Ireland on its plans to boost Ireland’s tourism industry in 2020

PLUS: Hotel Doolin on why achieving carbon neutral status needn’t be costly OFC_HCR_Nov_Dec_ 2019_Cover_V3.indd 1

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Go to hotelandcatering for the online edition

Contents ISSUE 11 2019



TIME TO MOVE THE DIAL At a recent industry event held by The Firm, BaxterStorey’s Noel Mahony urged attendees to play their part when it comes to tackling food waste


THE MASTER CHEF Grainne Mullins, this year’s Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year, explains how she came up with her winning dish

17 Challenge Accepted


We’re dialling up our focus on spreading the benefits of tourism across the country and we’re intent on leveraging all the country’s assets to grow tourism. We appreciate that some of the momentum has gone out of the tourism market; challenges are being felt everywhere but particularly in the regions outside of Dublin”

IT’S EASY BEING GREEN Aine Martin, Green Team Manager at Hotel Doolin, explains how the hotel has become the first Irish premises to be awarded carbon neutral status

Paul Kelly, Fáilte Ireland CEO









What will we be eating in 2020? The food experts at Deliveroo have come up with a few predictions…


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Editor Denise Maguire Creative Director: Jane Matthews Art Director: Áine Duffy

Welcome to issue 11 of Hotel & Catering Review 2019

Designer: James Moore Photography: Food on the Edge, Shane O’Neill, Ballynahinch Castle, Irish Guild of Sommeliers, Welbilt, DELI-LITES, Dunnes Stores,, Minibar Systems, Jenn-Air, Baidu, Percipia, Hodder & Stoughton, Brewer’s Publications, Penguin, Dan Dennison Stock Photography iStock Infographics: Production: Claire Kiernan Sales Director: Trish Murphy Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media, Unit 55 Park West Road, Park West Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, D12 X9F9. Tel: (01) 432 2200 ISSN: 0332-4400 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2019. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of Hotel & Catering Review. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize.



Editor’s View For the last issue of the year, we sat down with Fáilte Ireland CEO, Paul Kelly, for a chat about the authority's plans to boost Irish tourism in 2020. These strategies are very much region by region based and are rooted in five very specific action plans including a domestic and Northern Ireland marketing campaign, new and enhanced visitor attractions, a new digital portal to promote careers within the industry, increased visitor experience development plans and a new sector development division. The latter will focus on Brexit and business supports and is intended to drive the long-term development of the sector. For more on how Fáilte Ireland intends to support the tourism sector in 2020, turn to page 17. We also caught up with Gráinne Mullins, the winner of this year's Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition. Gráinne's winning dishes included Carrageen pudding with Sliabh Aughty Honey for dessert and for her main course, she opted for chicken soup, ceaile and offal tartlet. Inspiration for the two courses came from her grandmother and from Irish culinary traditions. Gráinne also credits her mentor, Lignum Head Chef Daniel Africano, with her success in the competition. Thank you to all our readers for your continued support throughout 2019. From the entire Hotel & Catering Review team, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Here's to 2020!

Editor: Denise Maguire Email: denise.maguire@

If you have any thoughts on this issue, feel free to drop me a line!

Denise Maguire | @HC_Review |


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News News

Your monthly round-up…

APPOINTMENTS Eoin Walsh has taken up the role of General Manager at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel. Having grown up in the hospitality industry, with his Eoin Walsh parents owning a large guest house in Tipperary known for hosting international fishermen and huntsmen, Eoin has worked in various restaurants and hotels in Ireland and oversea including Dobbins Bistro, Claridge’s and Adare Manor.

COMPASS GROUP IRELAND PAIRS UP WITH THE HAPPY PEAR Compass Group Ireland recently announced an exclusive partnership with The Happy Pear at its ‘Food that Works’ summit at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The partnership will see the Group introduce ‘The Happy Pear’ branded dining experience across its client sites, with an initial rollout of five new locations. A selection of vegan and vegetarian offerings, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and hot food bowls will be made available across the Compass Group Ireland network.



Alan Russell has been announced as Managing Director of BaxterStorey Ireland. Alan has held senior roles at several catering companies, Alan Russell most recently at Gather & Gather. Russell’s focus will be growing the business with a focus on talent attraction and retention. Anthony Anthony Reily Reilly, Head of Food and Nutrition, joined the team earlier this year and brings over 20 years’ experience in delivering high quality food that is locally sourced. Finally, Gavin McDonagh Gavin McDonagh has also joined the team and will focus on chef development.


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MAKE SOME ROOM FOR IRISH SEAFOOD THIS CHRISTMAS In an initiative that aims to celebrate the quality of seafood at this time of year, JP McMahon is encouraging people to include Irish seafood in their festive dining this Christmas. “Turkey came from America in the 16th century. They were big and cheap. Popularised by Henry VIII and Queen Victoria, turkey was a practical solution to the problem of large families. Ham, on the other hand, seems to be associated with pagan Germanic tribes celebrating the New Year. Indeed, most of the other food and drink traditions that we associate with Christmas all arise out of earlier pagan festivals. This time of year is when Irish seafood, shellfish and seaweed is at its best, due to colder water and moreover a time when it’s forgotten. At times we forget that we are people of the sea as well as the land,” he said. JP will be running seafood specials each weekend over December in Tartare Café + Wine Bar and Cava Bodega in Galway.

MUCKROSS PARK HOTEL & SPA WINS AT CONNECT KERRY HOSPITALITY AWARDS Muckross Park Hotel & Spa scooped two prestigious awards at the Connect Kerry Hospitality Awards 2019 which took place in November in the INEC, Killarney. The hotel won the Luxury Hotel Experience of the Year, as well as picking up the award for Concierge of the Year for Maksim Juricic.

TMR HOTEL COLLECTION ACQUIRES TALLAGHT CROSS HOTEL TMR Hotel Collection, owned by Austrian investor Thomas Röggla, has acquired the 186-bedroom Tallaght Cross Hotel. The group is planning a multi-million Euro refurbishment of the hotel with plans to open for trade as a four-star hotel in early 2020. The re-opening is expected to create over 70 permanent direct jobs locally. This is the group’s third hotel purchase this year and its second in the Tallaght area. In May it acquired two four-star hotels; the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght and Harvey’s Point in Donegal. Acquisition and investment expenditure in these three hotels will be close to €60 million.

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Formerly Best Western Hotels & Resorts, BWH Hotel Group recently welcomed the Bunratty Castle Hotel to its portfolio. This is the first BW Signature Collection hotel in Ireland. The 144room hotel, owned by The Blarney Woollen Mills Group Limited, will operate under its own name but with the extra opportunities offered by being part of the BWH Hotel Group portfolio. BWH Hotel Group also recently acquired global hotel brand WorldHotels, representing a collection of around 300 unique hotels and resorts around the world. This move, says the Group, will play a critical role in enhancing BWH’s portfolio of offerings to include the upscale and luxury segments. The Group aims to have 10 hotels in Ireland within five years, targeting both existing properties and new builds with at least 75 rooms in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. BWH Hotel Group has a portfolio of 17 brands with approximately 4,700 branded hotels in operation and a global footprint covering over 100 countries. In Ireland, the Group is looking to establish the BW Signature Collection, Best Western Plus, Best Western Signature and Best Western Premier brands as well as new boutique brands, Sadie and Aiden, whether for hotel conversion opportunities or new builds. BWH Hotel Group’s Suzi Yoder and GM of Bunratty Castle Hotel, Danny Corbett

Previously known as the Great Carvery of the Year, this year’s Knorr Professional Ireland’s Great Roast competition saw Griffin’s Bar in Clifden, Co Galway awarded the title of best pub roast while the Limerick Strand Hotel won the best hotel roast. Stephen O’Connor, General Manager from Limerick Strand Hotel, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to win the overall award for Ireland’s Great Roast and massive credit goes to Tom and our culinary team who go to great effort to ensure we consistently provide an outstanding menu for our customers.” David Griffin from Griffins Bar said: “Griffin’s is Clifden’s oldest continuously family-owned pub and it is said that we serve the finest pint of Guinness in town. And now we have the greatest pub roast as well.”




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EX-ETTO CHEF OPENS VOLPE NERA IN BLACKROCK Barry Sun has opened his own restaurant, Volpe Nera, in Blackrock. Dishes on the opening menu include Galway Bay oysters with compressed cucumber and red chilli oil, ricotta malfatti with onion squash and slow cooked egg yolk and a deer carpaccio with artichokes, pickled pear and juniper. Barry began his career in the industry in 2002 as a kitchen porter in Mint restaurant in Ranelagh. This was followed by stints in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Bon Appetit, Cleaver East and l’Ecrivain, finally ending up as head chef in Etto, where his flavourled food won him Chef of the Year in 2018.

IHF CONDEMNS INCREASE IN DUBLIN RATES The decision by Dublin City Council to increase commercial rates by almost 3% has been condemned by the Irish Hotels Federation as excessive and ill-advised. The IHF has stated that hoteliers in Dublin and across the country are already facing significant challenges to sustain the growth in tourism of recent years, with a softening in visitor numbers from key markets and increasing concerns around reduced competitiveness. Michael Lennon, IHF President, said: “We’re willing to pay a fair and reasonable rate but not excessive and disproportionate levies. Over 75% of overseas tourists visit Dublin, making it a vital tourism gateway and a significant contributor to an industry that accounted for €9.42 billion in revenue in 2018. This increase will further

reduce competitiveness at a time when tourism is already facing significant challenges due to increases in the cost of doing business and the hike in tourism VAT. This was highlighted in the latest Crowe Ireland Annual Hotel Survey which showed that many costs are increasing faster than the underlying growth in revenues. “The government has to do more to tackle the costs that are stifling businesses. We have an unacceptable situation here in Dublin where, with the stroke of a pen and without consultation, Dublin City Council is dealing businesses a damaging body blow that will further undermine competitiveness. The move by Dublin City Council is extremely short-sighted and jeopardises the sustained growth of the tourism sector.”

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GARY RHODES 1960 – 2019 Gary Rhodes, who died suddenly in November at the age of 59, has been described as a fantastic chef who reimagined modern British cuisine. From the early 1990’s, he appeared on BBC shows including Rhodes Around Britain, More Rhodes Around Britain and Open Rhodes, searching out native dishes that had fallen out of favour and updating classics like Lancashire hotpot. Rhodes earned his first Michelin star while he was Head Chef at the Castle Hotel in Taunton, Somerset, aged just 26 and in 1996, the same role at the Greenhouse Restaurant in London also earned the establishment a Michelin star. He also presented the American version of MasterChef for its first two runs and hosted the 2001 peak-time revamp in Britain. He took over from Gordon Ramsay to join JeanChristophe Novelli as one of two “Head Chefs” tutoring contestants in the second series of the ITV reality show, Hell’s Kitchen. Ramsay, in his subsequent programme, The F Word, said he named his family’s Christmas turkey after Rhodes because of its “spiky bum”. Rhodes owned a string of restaurants in Britain, Ireland, the Middle East and the Caribbean and took his enthusiasm for cooking out to schools to encourage a younger generation. After more than 20 cookbooks, Rhodes was appointed OBE in 2006. He is survived by his wife and two sons, Samuel and George.



THE KINGSLEY WINS CORK CITY HOTEL OF THE YEAR The Kingsley was named Cork City Hotel of the Year at the recently-held Rémy Martin Cork Business Awards. “We are thrilled to have been awarded Cork City Hotel of the Year, it’s a fantastic achievement,” said Fergal Harte, General Manager of The Kingsley. “As a team we strive to provide a polished level of service to all of our guests and this award is a testament to that. We are extremely proud of our team and look forward to continuing to provide this level of service for our guests in the future.”

OUZOS RESTAURANT ACQUIRED BY RAOUF DJEFFAL After securing new investment, Ouzos Restaurant in Dalkey will continue to operate under the management of Chef-Patron Raouf Djeffal. Last August an examiner was appointed to PRB Restaurants Ltd, owners of Ouzo’s and in December, the restaurant was acquired by businessman Eric Kinsella’s Esprit Investments company in

partnership with Raouf Djeffal, who will remain a shareholder in the restaurant. “We have the most wonderful customers at Ouzos, many of whom have been dining with us since we opened our doors over 10 years ago and I want to thank them for their continued support during the months of examinership. I also want to thank our 12 staff for their loyalty over the past few months and I am humbled by their dedication to ensuring our customers continued to have a fabulous dining experience despite the uncertainty we faced,” said Raouf Djeffal.


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TECH CORNER Michael Ros, co-founder and COO of Bidroom, explains how smaller hotels can harness new technologies to boost business Get the foundations covered first. Guests compare the experience of using a hotel’s website to an OTA website. So speed, readability and ease of use are required by prospective guests on an uncompromising level. Hotels should remain in a partnership with a developer or an agency to maintain a smooth website experience on desktop and mobile so that users are compelled to book with them. From our measurements, I see that chatbots are a great technology for building user loyalty. There are full-package solutions you can quickly embed on your hotel website that don’t require a lot of adjustments. The option of travellers consulting a bot ‘advisor’ without having to pick up the phone is often all it takes to get your prospective guest over the line. So for more business, make the user experience on your website seamless. And work with Bidroom. It’s icing and cake together.

How Bidroom works


Whitbread Plc, the owner of the Premier Inn hotel chain, has secured its fourth location in Dublin city centre. The site on Gloucester Street in Dublin 2 will increase the business’ total number of bedrooms to more than 630. Commenting on the acquisition, Kevin Murray, Head of Acquisitions for Premier Inn in Ireland, said: “Our ambition is for Premier Inn to be the number one budget hotel chain in Dublin and across Ireland. We are investing strategically to secure the top locations that Premier Inn is known for and Gloucester Street, with its proximity to Trinity College and the south Docklands corporate market, is exactly the type of location we are looking for. Securing the site is another important milestone for us and we’re actively seeking new freehold and leasehold opportunities across the city as we work towards our target of 2,500 Premier Inn Dublin bedrooms.”

Bidroom doesn’t charge booking commissions. We don’t block users from contacting the hotel. We don’t use the hotel’s branding without permission for advertising. We don’t use a pay-for-placement system for hotel listings. But we do care about fairness for hoteliers. That’s why the hotel membership fee only applies when a hotel reaches a predetermined and substantial number of bookings through Bidroom. Bidroom is a bridge platform that follows a set of ethical rules that work in the industry’s favour. It’s a platform with two membership systems: one for travellers (B2C) and the other for hoteliers (B2B). One platform, two user groups. Each group enjoys its own benefits. In a nutshell, travellers enjoy discounted hotel deals and hoteliers connect to an international audience without losing revenue to commissions. Right now, there are 95 hotels available in Ireland. For the first few years, we were pushing out of the Netherlands into central Europe. Bidroom started gaining a noticeable momentum in 2018 where we focused mostly on UK expansion. Ireland is very much part of our expansion plans. We want Irish hotels to join our commission-free movement.

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DOUBLE WIN FOR MASTER CHEFS Master Chefs’ employees Michelle O’Donnell (Chef) and Keith O’Sullivan (Operations Manager) were recognised for their personal contribution to the hospitality industry as they were named ‘Executive Chef of the Year’ and ‘Young Manager of the Year’ respectively at the Annual Irish Hospitality Institute Founders Banquet and Hospitality Management Awards. Reacting to the award wins, Pat O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Master Chefs said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this recognition for two of our senior managers. Winning any category is extremely difficult but to win two is truly extraordinary given the quality of the finalists. We are immensely proud, it shows the talent we have running through all levels of the business.”

‘We aim to grow tourism numbers to 12m’ – Tourism Ireland Commenting on figures published by the CSO for overseas tourists and overseas tourism revenue to Ireland for the first nine months of 2019, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “These figures from the CSO indicate a mixed picture. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 8.4 million overseas tourists during January-September 2019 – up +1% on the same period in 2018. Tourists from Britain (almost +1%) and mainland Europe (+2%) grew marginally and we saw stronger growth from North America (+4%) and long-haul markets (+6%). However, we’ve seen growth from North America slow as the year progressed, with numbers for Q3 only down -3%. “Revenue from overseas tourists in the first nine months of 2019 was almost €4.1 billion. This was flat on the same period in 2018 – with spend by North American visitors (+2%) compensating for a decline in spend by tourists from other market areas (Britain -1%, mainland Europe also -1% and long-haul markets -2%). Also, revenue from all holidaymakers (+2%) grew slightly faster than holidaymaker numbers (+1%). “The figures confirm that 2019 has been a very mixed experience for Irish tourism, with

weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some mainland European markets. There’s also been a deterioration in air access capacity this year. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors – and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top source markets.” He continued: “We were pleased that the Government allocated an additional €6 million to Tourism Ireland in Budget 2020 – in response to the Brexit challenge for Irish tourism. We are using this additional funding for new, end-of-year promotional campaigns – designed to deliver a message of reassurance to prospective visitors in Britain and elsewhere around the world. It will also include strong kick-start campaigns in Tourism Ireland’s key markets at the end of this month, to position us well for 2020. “Last week, we launched our new three yearstrategy for 2020-2022 and our marketing plans to promote the island of Ireland overseas next year. The aim is to grow overseas tourism revenue to €6.54 billion (+13%) and visitor numbers to 12 million (+7%), by 2022.”

Staff celebrated at Killarney Hotels Mike O’Grady and Dan Breen have been recognised for their dedication to Killarney Hotels, each celebrating over 50 years of service with the company. According to their colleagues Mike and Dan, who both worked in the restaurant at The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, will be sorely missed. Managing Director, Michael Brennan said: “I would like to congratulate both gentlemen for reaching such a milestone and thank them both sincerely for their valued contribution and dedication to Killarney Hotels over the past 50 years.”

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Holidays are coming

for designated drivers! James Kavanagh has joined industry representatives for the launch of Coca-Cola’s designated driver campaign


V presenter and CocaCola ambassador James Kavanagh joined representatives from the Vintners Associations, Hotels Federation and Restaurants Association of Ireland at the Schoolhouse Hotel, Dublin 4, to launch the 15th annual Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign. Coca-Cola is encouraging people across the island of Ireland to take on the role of ‘designated driver’, staying sober on nights out to ensure loved ones and friends get home safely. Holidays are coming early for these unsung heroes, with two free soft drinks from the Coca-Cola HBC range available to designated drivers throughout the month of December. This year, Coca-Cola, a brand so synonymous with Christmas, will also reward designated drivers by providing three allocated parking spots at the Stephen’s Green Q-Park in Dublin and Victoria Square in Belfast. Available each weekend in December, designated drivers simply need to present themselves to security hubs at the Q-Park stations to benefit from parking free-ofcharge when on a night out. To spread the important message of road safety, influential personality James Kavanagh will also take on the role of designated driver throughout the season. Lucky party-goers were also in with a chance of a lift and a night out with James by commenting on his Coca-Cola post using #HolidaysareComing. Miles Karemacher, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland’s General Manager, said: “At CocaCola HBC, we are passionate about playing a value-adding role in



communities across the island. For 15 years, we have taken immense pride in supporting and celebrating designated drivers throughout the Christmas season and this year will be no different. “We want to ensure that designated drivers are rewarded for their selflessness by staying sober to ensure their friends and family can get home safely and will offer two free soft drinks to these drivers at participating venues. We’re also proud to partner with Q-Park to further reward designated drivers with free parking in Dublin and Belfast throughout December.” In the Republic of Ireland, the Designated Driver campaign is supported by An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware. It is also backed by the Licensed Vintners Association, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the

Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation. In Northern Ireland, the campaign is supported by the PSNI, Hospitality Ulster and the NI Hotel Federation.

Designated drivers If you are a designated driver, avail of the two free soft drinks from the Coca-Cola HBC range by simply making yourself known to bar staff at participating venues. Drinks from the range include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Deep RiverRock, Fruice and Appletiser. For a full list of venues, visit www. Follow #HolidaysAreComing on social to be a part of the conversation


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Time to move the dial



iets need to change and food waste must reduce dramatically if the food service industry is to meet 2030 agricultural emission targets, according to Noel Mahony, Chief Executive of UK caterer BaxterStorey. Noel was speaking at an event organised by The Firm, the specialist hospitality sector recruitment consultants. “Failing to understand and to mitigate the impacts of their ingredients by reimagining menus and working with their supply chains will leave businesses open to climate risk and increasing regulation,” he said. A report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) concluded that to deliver the necessary cuts in agricultural emissions before 2030, diets need to shift and food waste must be dramatically reduced. This means that businesses who are not yet looking at the impacts of their ingredients and reviewing their overall proposition are falling behind from a brand and consumer perception perspective. They are also more vulnerable and exposed than those who are changing their business model to adapt to support more sustainable food systems. They need to look at where and how they source their key ingredients to build resilience in their supply chain. Hidden costs include diet-related disease, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. “Tackling food waste is an urgent priority,” he said, “In the UK our foodservice sector contributes 9% of post farm food waste; that’s four times as much as the retail sector. We need dialogue and collaboration between us,

clients and the end customers to ensure that we are working together and communicating the facts.” On the issue of pay, training and compensation, he said that “we have to constantly look to improve how we reward, develop and recognise our talent in the foodservice sector. We have struggled with our image with an increasing reliance on free movement of people to support our people needs. Macho style hours, split shifts and pay have contributed to our challenges.” Noel said that in workplace catering, there is a renewed focus on well-being and employee welfare. It is recognised that the daily work environment has become relentless, intense and increasingly stress filled. One of the most accessible routes to relieving stress within the workplace may be with food and restaurants. Food, arguably, is playing a more central and important role in both work culture and daily life than ever before, with restaurants now becoming essential social hubs. Nutrition and health are a central force within many employer strategies across all markets and must be towards the top of our agenda. “We can move the dial, but it takes a long term commitment to do so. Academies that specialise in developing our amazing talented chefs, baristas, front of house teams and management are long term investments and simply cannot suffer from the annual budget cut. There is a huge cost in building these development pathways for our teams, but I believe they are fundamental to building a sustainable business with a strong working culture.”

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In Person

The Master Chef 14



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In Person



n mid-November at a gala dinner in the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin, the winner of this year’s Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods was announced. Guest judge Michel Roux Jnr took to the stage to name Gráinne Mullins this year’s winner, ending an intense but rewarding few months for Gráinne and her fellow competitors. Open to professional chefs under the age of 26, the Euro-Toques competition has a proven track record when it comes to discovering amazing young talent. It gives the participating young chefs an opportunity to travel and to take part in masterclasses taught by some of the country’s leading chefs. It also acts as a stepping-stone in their culinary career. “The competition started in June and I’ve been preparing for the semi-final since August. I’ve also been working in a new restaurant and preparing for its opening so it has been full on but really rewarding,” said Gráinne who was encouraged to enter the competition by head chef at Lignum, Daniel Africano. “I was hesitant at first. I’m a pastry chef and I knew I’d be tested in other areas but Danny really encouraged me to just go for it. I thought even if I don’t get very far, it’ll be a really good experience.” As a mentor, Daniel was instrumental when it came to preparing for the competition. “He helped me hugely in building up my knowledge. Before the semi-final, I wasn’t that confident with the main course so Danny was setting up trials for me twice a day, putting mystery baskets in front of me and timing me. He was very strict on me but was also constantly teaching me new techniques that I was able to showcase on the day. Even with the opening of the new restaurant he was coming in on his days off to help me. I couldn’t have done it without him.” Alongside preparing for the semi-final and final, the young chefs participated in workshops, demos, visits to suppliers and culinary activities aimed at developing their knowledge. Masterclasses were held by guest chef judges Anna Haugh and Shauna Froydenlund, chef Kevin Burke, former head chef of the Ninth in London and Kevin Thornton. “We also went to Italy, visited suppliers in Donegal and had a sauce masterclass with Jordan Bailey at Aimsir and another one on drinks pairings with Majken.” The eight young chefs were asked to come up with two original dishes — one a starter or dessert using Irish buttermilk and/or Jersey milk and Irish honey, the second a main course using a whole chicken from Regan Organic Farm for judges Michel Roux Jnr, Margot Janse, Paul Flynn and Gareth Mullins, with Kwanghi Chan running the kitchen. Finalists James Dobson (Potager), Attila Galambos (Aniar), Daniel Hannigan (Mr S.), Karan Mittal (Ananda), Gareth O’Brien (Bastible), Matthew Stafford (The Greenhouse), Alison Tierney (Dax) and Gráinne each created an imaginative series of dishes for the judges to taste, discuss and score. Gráinne opted for a dessert over a starter. “We got to choose our own honey so I went for Sliabh Aughty Honey. I grew up under the Slieve Aughty Mountains so it was the obvious choice. Euro-Toques is all about preserving culinary heritage and I have a huge interest in researching past dishes so along with a bit of inspiration from Danny, I started to think about what kind of dessert I’d like to present.” Gráinne spoke to her grandmother about dishes she would have enjoyed in the past. “She told me when she was younger, the treat in the office was the Carrageen pudding, with the honey left in the middle of the table so you could use as much on your pudding as you wanted. It sounded perfect. My first few attempts were horrendous but it ended up being quite a nice dish.” Grainne came up with a main course of chicken soup, ceaile and offal tartlet. “I wanted to create something that people would instantly recognise, even if it was done

Gráinne Mullins

in a more modern way. To make it more nutritious, I made a barley jelly and I chargrilled the chicken thigh over turf. That was something else that my grandmother suggested and it really worked to bring this beautiful sweet, smoky flavour out.” Ceaile, the Galway version of colcannon was added to the dish along with an egg yolk jam. Potatoes were cooked directly onto the turf and crispy onions were added on top. “Through my research I also found that years ago, Irish labourers used to eat half cooked potatoes so they would have a second release of energy later on in the day. I wanted to incorporate a raw potato in there so the idea of a raw pickled potato came about as well. The last component of the dish was an offal tartlet.” With only two and a half hours to make both the dessert and the main, Gráinne was tight for time. “Any time I practiced I was way over time but on the day, it all came together.” Making connections has been a big part of the process for Gráinne. “It was great to spend so much time with the rest of the chefs, with people who are so passionate about what they do. One of the guys said, look around, we’re the head chefs of the future. If I took nothing else out of the competition, the friends that I’ve made for life are amazing.” Next up is an opportunity to work abroad with either Michel Roux or Margot Jansey. “Right now, I’m looking forward to working in the restaurant and continuing to improve. I’d love to travel again and build up more experiences but I’d also love to have my own pastry shop some day. Just to do that all day, every day, would be amazing!”

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16/12/2019 21:03

Eve An IF S to nt bro A you ugh CA TEX by th t tea e m

Get a taste for success food & Bev Live 2020 gives you two days to showcase your business, its products and innovations to an audience eager to buy and build relationships.

4th & 5th february 2020 citywest, Dublin Organised by Industry on behalf of the foodservice industry.

to book your space, contact: Margaret andreucetti sales Manager T: 01 8460020 E:

By exhibiting at Food & Bev Live you are supporting our Industry partners Chef Network, BAI, Panel of Chefs, SCA, Associazione Pizzerie Italiane showcase their members excellence in Foodservice.

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Cover Story

Challenge Accepted Fรกilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, unveiled its plans for 2020 to an audience of more than 600 representatives from across the tourism sector recently, setting out five key areas of focus to support the industry. Paul Kelly, CEO of Fรกilte Ireland gives his account of what these plans will deliver next year

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Cover Story


áilte Ireland has described 2019 as a ‘mixed year’ and has predicted that 2020 will more than likely be challenging for tourism businesses across the country. The latest research from the National Tourism Development Authority shows that business sentiment has decreased, fuelled by rising costs and low-priced competition in the sector. Visitors from Britain and Northern Ireland are also down and if sterling continues to devalue, the Northern Ireland economy will be squeezed significantly. That, coupled with uncertainty around the implications of Brexit, will be bad for businesses, particularly in border regions. “Additional funding from the government will go some way to easing the pressure on businesses and we will continue to focus on supporting tourism businesses, particularly those in the border regions that are exposed to Northern Ireland visitors,” said Paul. Fáilte Ireland has also been busy putting plans in place to help boost Irish tourism in 2020, “Fáilte Ireland has set out five key with a strategy that’s very much actions planned for 2020 which will centred around sustaining and leverage all growth opportunities and supporting the tourism industry region by region. “We’re dialling help the industry to overcome the up our focus on spreading the challenges ahead” benefits of tourism across the country and we’re intent on leveraging all the country’s assets to grow tourism. We appreciate that some of the momentum has gone out of the tourism market; challenges are being felt everywhere but particularly in the regions outside of Dublin,” said Fáilte Ireland CEO, Paul Kelly. Fáilte Ireland has set out five key actions planned for 2020 which will leverage all growth opportunities and help the industry to overcome the challenges ahead.

“Fáilte Ireland will invest €500,000 in a new careers promotion campaign starting in January 2020. A digital hub will be created that will act as a one stop shop for information on courses and careers in tourism and hospitality”

NEW AND ENHANCED VISITOR ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES Capital investment of €12 million will go into opening 25 new or enhanced tourist attractions and activities around the country. “Twelve of these are through our large capital investment scheme while 13 are through smaller investment schemes.” INCREASED VISITOR EXPERIENCE DEVELOPMENT PLANS IN THE REGIONS One of the really effective mechanisms used by Fáilte Ireland to grow tourism in the regions is its Visitor Experience Development Plans which are proving very effective. “Through these shared long-term tourism plans, we work with local stakeholders, tourism businesses and communities to drive visitor numbers to lesser known areas and attractions. We currently have about 13 of those up and running and we’ll have over 20 by the end of 2020.” SECTOR DEVELOPMENT A new Sector Development division in Fáilte Ireland will focus on Brexit and business supports and training. “This will drive the longterm development of the tourism sector and as part of the Government’s Getting Ireland Brexit Ready programme, we’ll be stepping up our business supports and training programmes for the industry. We’ve got the budget for twice as many bespoke engagements with businesses in 2020. We can work on an individual, one to one basis to help them meet the particular challenges that they face.”

DOMESTIC AND NORTHERN IRELAND MARKETING CAMPAIGN An investment of €6 million is going into a new domestic and Northern Ireland marketing campaign to encourage short break domestic trips. “Outside of Dublin, about two thirds of all bed nights are taken up by domestic and Northern Ireland visitors. Our research also shows that when it comes to visitors from Northern Ireland, 50% go to the border PROMOTING TOURISM CAREERS counties, 25% go to Dublin and 25% go to the A campaign promoting careers in the tourism rest of the country. We need to work with our industry will, says Paul, go some way towards colleagues in Tourism Ireland and continue to shifting perceptions and attracting the volume grow the number of international visitors but and quality of talent required to sustain growth. we also must promote those regions for our “Fáilte Ireland will invest €500,000 in a new domestic and Northern Ireland visitors. We’ve careers promotion campaign starting in got a really exciting new campaign under the January 2020. A digital hub will be created that tagline ‘Keep Discovering’ and we expect it to will act as a one stop shop for information on be very effective,” said Paul. courses and careers in tourism and hospitality.”




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18/12/2019 09:42

Cover Story Niall Tracey, Director of Marketing, Jenny De Saulles, Director of Sector Development and Paul Kelly, CEO at the unveil of Fáilte Ireland’s 2020 plans in Croke Park

Key actions for 2020 •

€6 million for a new domestic and Northern Ireland marketing campaign to encourage short break domestic trips €12 million capital investment for 25 new and enhanced visitor attractions and activities €500,000 in a new campaign promoting tourism careers to shift perceptions and attract the volume and quality of talent required to sustain growth. A digital hub will be created that will act as a one stop shop for information on courses and careers in tourism and hospitality Increased visitor experience development plans in the regions – working with local stakeholders, tourism businesses and communities, shared long-term tourism plans will be developed to drive visitor numbers to lesser known areas and attractions New sector development division in Fáilte Ireland focusing on Brexit and business supports and training

‘Fáilte Ireland’s 2020 plans are all about ensuring businesses across the regions are Brexit ready. At the same time, the intention is to develop and support a tourism sector that offers strength and sustainability to our economy next year. ‘Our plans are about building an Ireland where every part of the country is included and the natural inclination of our people to welcome others is translated into jobs and opportunities.”

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g n i m o C

n o o s

The 2020 Gold Medal Awards will be launching in January 2020 For sponsorship opportunities contact, Sponsorship Director Trish Murphy Email: Phone: 086 837 9246

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors

uintessential Brands Ireland

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ire safety. It’s something that should be at the top of every operations or general manager’s mind but for most, their legal obligations may provide more headaches than reassurances. Despite a slew of fire-related incidents making the headlines recently, fire safety is something that often comes well down the list of many managers’ priorities. “We’ve met with managers who roll their eyes whenever the topic is broached. They don’t realise that fire checks are actually a task which can be completed without expending much effort and time,” says Stephen Norman, one of the team at My Ez Fire Check, a new app designed to make fire safety procedures as easy as possible while keeping companies compliant with fire safety regulations. “There’s a certain fear around fire checks and we understand that, particularly when you factor in the amount of paperwork required to keep the traditional fire register in order. Add in the time and manpower needed to carry them out and follow up on any issues and the checks can often be considered a drain on a company’s resources.” “Media reports and our own research show that many businesses are struggling with their fire safety obligations,” adds Padraig Muldoon, Stephen’s colleague in the marketing department. “My Ez Fire Check is such a great solution.” The My EZ Fire Check app saves businesses both time and money when it comes to fire checks. The system is completely paperless. All checks are conducted using a mobile

device that is preloaded with proprietary software. Once the checks are completed and signed off, the data is timestamped and stored in the cloud. This means that files can be accessed instantly if and when they are needed. The software is formatted to issue reminders and will send alerts if checks are missed. Combined, all of these features drastically reduce the amount of admin required to stay on top of fire safety obligations. Lack of time and knowledge are two of the biggest issues My Ez Fire Check is seeing with customers. “Many hotel and bar managers are run off their feet with a seemingly endless amount of day-to-day tasks. Quite often, fire checks can be seen as a problem for another day,” said Stephen. “However, they needn’t ever be a problem. Our benefits include increased accountability and efficiency, risk reduction and an elimination of paperwork. Not only can it help staff get about their day more productively, it also gives owners and management the added reassurance that all items were checked at the correct time.” This is made possible through My Ez

Fire Check’s use of tag technology. Checklist items will only be checked off when the device scans the tag located in a specific physical location. So far, reaction to the new innovation has been extremely positive. “Everyone we’ve spoken with has been really interested, especially once they’ve seen the app in action. We’re already working with well-known names in the bar and hotel industry including the Charlie Chawke Group, the Camden Court Hotel and parts of the Press Up Group. Only recently we met with reps of a nationwide retail brand,” says Padraig. “We’ve just updated our website ( and the analytics data shows that there’s demand for the product across the board.”

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17/12/2019 16/09/2019 12:06 11:37

Business Matters


The village of Doolin, Co. Clare


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Business Matters

Hotel Doolin has proven that putting sustainability at the heart of your business needn’t be a costly endeavour. The Co Clare hotel is the first Irish premises to be awarded carbon neutral status by The Green Hospitality Programme, a resource that’s recognised by the likes of Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Discover Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The ‘Carbon Neutral12 GREENMark’ award bestowed on the hotel is the result of a comprehensive energy reduction programme and a lot of hard work on the part of Áine Martin, the hotel’s Green Team Manager. Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way and just up the road from the Cliffs of Moher, Áine and the team felt it was their duty to protect and look after the environment around them. “We had two “We had two main aims – to reduce the hotel’s carbon main aims – to and increase our reduce the hotel’s footprint social responsibility while supporting local producers. carbon footprint Initially, we focused on the and increase carbon footprint element of our social our plan. We changed to green electricity and responsibility replaced our heating system while supporting from oil to an air to water heat pump in 2017 which local producers” runs on green electricity so there’s no carbon footprint from it. We also swapped all the lighting to LED.” Energy charts have been put up around the hotel to act as a reminder to staff




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Business Matters

“The barn has been designed to maximise solar gain while the concrete floor and block walls act as a thermal mass to retain the heat internally. It’s an ideal venue for a wedding or event all year round” to reduce energy consumption. “A good example is not turning everything on first thing in the morning. It’s easy for a chef to arrive in the morning and switch everything on so it’s about changing that mindset.” Hotel Doolin hosts about 90 weddings per year. For each wedding that’s held, the hotel plants 10 native trees. “We planted 900 trees this year in Lahinch and last year we planted 863. Each tree offsetts 1 tonne of carbon per year so this year we’ve offset 900 tonnes of carbon.” Last year, the hotel replaced its wedding marquee with a 100% aerated and soundproofed eco barn. “The barn has been designed to maximise solar gain while the concrete floor and block walls act as a thermal mass to retain the heat internally. It’s an ideal venue for a wedding or event all year round.” Lampshades in the barn bar have been made out of old eel baskets from Co Sligo that once would have been used by fishermen in Co Sligo. The counter has been made out of old whiskey barrels. “As much as possible, we’ve tried to reuse materials as opposed to just buying new all the time.” About 70% of the food consumed at Hotel Doolin is sourced

from a 50km radius of the hotel. “We also have a 50ft polytunnel and in that, we grow about €6000 worth of produce. Rather than buying something that we need, we’ll stop and ask if there’s a better way of sourcing it that won’t have a negative impact on the environment. A good example is our ‘do not disturb’ signs which we’ve made out of wood. They hardly ever have to be replaced and they also look much nicer.” Hotel Doolin’s carbon neutral status has been achieved primarily through an investment in time rather than money. As HR and Purchasing Manager, Áine was a natural fit for Green Team Manager. “While we’ve invested in green electricity and the eco barn, the changes that we’ve implemented haven’t actually required any major capital investment. We didn’t have to replace our radiators and changes like harvesting rainwater and not having any single use plastics are more of a mindset change than anything else. It takes commitment and time but the payback so far has been substantial.” Since embarking on its sustainability drive, the business has grown by about 30%. “We’re also finding our green ethos is helping to retain staff and attract new employees. Guests also appreciate the fact that we’ve gone to such lengths to take sustainability into account. The marketing that comes with it is a positive but that’s not why we do it. Irrespective of the investment, it’s just the right thing to do.” Ambitions for an even greener future include solar PV and possibly even wind power. “Although we’re a small hotel in the west of Ireland, I think we’ve shown that once you’re committed, it’s easy to implement sustainable initiatives into your business and stick to them. A bit of creativity and teamwork goes a long way.”

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From left to right: eco barn; barn wedding set-up; lobby; polytunnel; Moy Hill trees



16/12/2019 21:09

Oriental botanicals, Gunpowder tea & Irish curiosity.

“ can absolutely see why.”

Best Gin Oscar 2019 “The Best Spirits Known to Mankind”

Jugoslav Petkovic Flaviar Co-Founder


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Tea Masters cup to debut in Ireland at



he launch of the Tea Masters Cup competitions in Ireland is such an exciting development and is perfectly aligned to reflect the renaissance of tea drinking as the next big trend,” said David Veal, Executive Director of the European Tea Society. “We’re thrilled to be bringing this inaugural event to Food & Bev Live and shining a light on tea – one of the nation’s favourite drinks. The competition will be part of the European Tea Pavilion which will be promoting speciality teas, particularly to the younger tea drinking market. “The Irish market is highly valued and the popularity of niche and speciality teas is a growing trend across the country. Moreover, the demand for an international platform for the professional growth of tea specialists has never been greater, so we look forward to welcoming competitors to the show next February,” adds David. The Irish Tea Masters will be a unique series of competitions focusing on four different categories – tea preparation, tea pairing, tea mixology and tea tasting, with the overall winner going on to represent Ireland at the International final of the Tea Masters Cup in 2020. The competitions will take place in the

Food & Bev Live 2020 will once again be hosting the National Barista Championships, the Bartenders Association’s Irish Cocktail Championships and the hotly contended Chef Ireland Culinary Competitions. In addition to the new European Tea Pavilion, Ireland’s First National Pizza Championships will be launched at the show, in association with the Associazione Pizzerie Italiane (API) and will see chefs from across Ireland battle it out to be crowned National Pizza Champion. Championing best practice within the industry, sustainability will also play a central role at the show. In a first, the show has launched the inaugural Irish Foodservice Supplier Awards – the IFSA’s – designed to acknowledge product and service innovation within the foodservice industry. The theme for 2020 will be ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Future’. The awards have been created to shine a light on suppliers who are at the forefront of industry’s response to the environmental crisis. European Tea Pavilion, a new addition to Food & Bev Live. Attracting specialist tea exhibitors, the pavilion will be home to live workshops, seminars and tea tastings running across both days of the show. An event by the industry for the industry, Food & Bev Live will be home to thousands of visitors and over 100 exhibitors, who are looking forward to availing of the many opportunities that the show serves up.

Bursting with new features and industry-specific attractions, Food & Bev Live 2020 is taking place on the 4th and 5th February 2020 at Citywest, Dublin. For stand sales or exhibitor enquires, contact Margaret Andreucetti on 00353 (0)1 846 0020 or via Go to for more on the event.

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A new face and voice for

THE HOBAN HOTEL Sprint Digital gives a lift to a local favorite


n early 2019, what was known as Aspect Hotel Kilkenny completed a major renovation to its lobby, restaurant and meeting rooms. With a new look, it was the perfect opportunity to develop an entirely new brand. Aspect Hotel Kilkenny became The Hoban Hotel.


This was a hugely interesting project from the very beginning. We were given freedom to be creative but one instruction we were given was to pay homage to Kilkenny. Aspect Hotel Kilkenny has always been known for the friendliness of its staff. It was important that the new menus, colours and fonts that were chosen allowed them to show off their quirky and social personality. It was obvious where we had to start – with the name of course! We researched Kilkenny’s vibrant history and came across the native James Hoban, the architect who designed The White House.


With a new brand comes a new website! A hotel website should show guests exactly what to expect when staying. We designed the new website to be simple, informative and image focused. Incorporating a clear top navigation menu, it’s easy to find what you are looking for. To get people in the door you need to show them who and what you are. Having already planned the website structure and written our new engaging content, our next step was to capture photos that would further enhance each page. We took photos of their gorgeous new lobby, facilities, food and drink. If The Hoban Hotel was to continue to be known for their friendly and social personality, it made sense to get the team involved, along with members of the Sprint Digital team who were the ‘guest’ models for the day. Of course, while showcasing the new look of the hotel we couldn’t forget the website’s main goal – to get people



to book directly on the website. A clear call to action is obvious on every page.


We had to ensure that from the day of the launch, guests could still find the hotel online. Using paid advertising, we ensured that those searching for both the old and new name could easily find the hotel online. Since building the new website and launching the new brand, The Hoban Hotel has seen an increase in direct bookings, overall campaign performance as well as visitors happily spending more time on site. “After rebranding to The Hoban Hotel and undergoing an extensive refurbishment, we wanted to put our best foot forward. We worked closely with Sprint Digital to develop our new brand and create our new website. I think the new website perfectly reflects our new hotel. The results speak for themselves.” – Clement Gleeson General Manager of The Hoban Hotel See other real results at or 01 639 1194


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Deliveroo recently reported that vegan orders had increased by 330% over the past two years. The number of sellers catering for vegans on the Deliveroo platform has grown by 168% in the past year alone and the food delivery company isn’t expecting this growth to slow down in 2020, meaning consumers will have more vegan options than ever before. Vegan isn’t exactly new, but the growing trend is vegan-ish. Deliveroo data shows that a large group of customers are more frequently opting-in for a part-time vegan diet, with around half of their food consumption being meat and the other half plant-based.


According to Deliveroo, salad is getting serious. Jess Tatham, a chef with a flair for unique, beautiful salads, notes that the top five ingredients we can expect to see in our salads next year include: • Ferments – such as lacto fermented sauces and miso to add depth of flavour • Unusual grains such as teff, freekeh to replace the ubiquitous quinoa • Unusual nut butters in dressings and dips, like sunflower seed • Underused produce like swede which tastes amazing shaved raw and seaweeds such as dulse • Dehydrated vegetables that add texture According to Deliveroo data, customers ordering on Deliveroo in November were three times more likely to order a salad than this time last year.


No longer reserved for designated drivers, consumers are becoming more strict in a healthy body equals healthy mind way of living. Deliveroo reports a 240% increase in orders of alcohol-free beers over the past 12 months. It’s not just beers and wines either – Seedlip is a great zero alcohol spirit producer that gives you all that taste without the buzz.


Fresh pasta restaurants are opening up all over the place. There’s a huge consumer demand for restaurant-cooked pasta, both dining in and through food delivery. Searches for fresh pasta on Deliveroo have increased by 68% in the past three months and the company sees that number steadily rising throughout 2020. With chefs playing around with interesting pastas and matching each shape to the right sauce, this area of Italian cuisine has become much more sophisticated. It’s also a win-win for restaurants as it means high margins and for customers, it means our favourite bowl of carbs just got better.


2020 will bring more twists and surprises in the art of cooking. Theatrical elements have been steadily on the rise over the past few years, in an attempt to add that memorable WOW factor to every bite we have. Gen Z, in particular, are all about experiences; they would rather spend £100 on an exciting evening at a showstopping restaurant than buy an expensive item of clothing. So how do you create that experience? Deliveroo research shows that 88%

of customers find elements such as ambience and service just as important as the food when it comes to having a good experience in a restaurant. In food delivery, it’s much more difficult to provide customers with an “experience”, but not impossible. From unusual ingredients to digital experiences, consumers can expect to see some more theatre with their delivered dishes in 2020.


2020 is the year of balance. Consumers are breaking habits, experimenting with new lifestyles and trying new food options in an attempt to live more happily, more responsibly and more sustainably. Sustainability means many things but for consumers in 2020, being sustainable requires balance. A balance of diet – replacing some meat dishes with plant-based food. A balance of health – consumers aren’t avoiding burgers and pizzas but they are enjoying more salads or plant-based alternatives, such as impossible burgers. A balance of finance – spending money more wisely so there’s no need to binge on pay day and then purge for the rest of the month.

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Call our expert team on 01 880 9300 or email

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Books out this month....

Pod Life... GASTROPOD Each episode of this food-related podcast looks at the hidden Find your history and surprising next favourite science behind a podcast with different food our pick of the and/or farmingbest related topic, from aquaculture, ancient feasts and cutlery to microbes and Malbec. The hosts interview experts, visit labs, fields and archaeological digs and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to understand the world through food. Listen on Spotify or Stitcher

Rick Stein’s Secret France

Adare Manor: The Renaissance of an Irish Country House

Author: Rick Stein Publisher: BBC Books RRP: €27.99 Available:

Author: Turtle Bunbury RRP: €60 Available: From Adare Manor and online at

Over 50 years ago, Rick Stein first set foot in France. Now, he returns to the food and cooking he loves the most. Rick’s meandering quest through the byways and back roads of rural France sees him pick up inspiration from Normandy to Provence. With characteristic passion and joie de vivre, Rick serves up incredible recipes – chicken stuffed with mushrooms and Comté, grilled bream with aioli from the Languedoc coast, a duck liver parfait bursting with flavour and a recipe for the most perfect raspberry tart plus much more.

Through the words of Turtle Bunbury and wonderful imagery of the property, this book details the story of Adare Manor. It takes a look at the early inspiration of the Dunravens in 1832 and the construction of the manor house which was modelled on the great houses and cathedrals of Europe, along with the extensive restoration, refurbishment and expansion programme by the current owners, the McManus family. This book brings readers on the journey taken to preserve and protect the historical nature of this magnificent building, safeguarding the resort for future generations.


Shelf Book

THE FOOD STARTUPS PODCAST The food business, unlike the tech world, is not so user-friendly for startups. Finding packaging, getting in front of whole foods buyers, figuring out what paperwork is required for import/ export, how to start, how to scale, etc.. The Food Startups Podcast helps you share your project with the world and turn it into a sustainable business. Every week, the hosts deliver a new show with a guest that could be in the beginning stage of a startup, a food author/advisor, or head of a 8/9 figure revenue company. Listen on Apple podcasts or Stitcher

THE PASS One of Australia’s favourite food podcasts, The Pass is an insider’s guide to the best food, restaurants and eating experiences, locally and around the world, chosen by the experts themselves. Each episode introduces listeners to world-class chefs, food writers, critics and tastemakers, who take them on a journey to their favourite places. Honest and engaging, The Pass gives unprecedented insight into its guests and what makes them tick, through the food they eat. Listen on Stitcher or Apple podcasts

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16/12/2019 21:13

A Quick Chat

A Quick Chat with Michelle Crehan

Michelle Crehan of Marmalade Bakery and The Kitchen in Galway talks about the challenges associated with setting up a business and why we should all give our servers a smile this Christmas





I’m a late in life chef and only started in the industry when I was 40. Previously I have been a tour guide, journalist and teacher but always dreamt about a career in food. After the recession I knew I needed to do something I loved, so I went back to college in GMIT. When I opened The Kitchen in 2011, I wanted it to be a welcoming and nurturing space where the community could come together and Marmalade, The Kitchen’s little sister, shares this same vision.

It’s my passion to work with locally sourced produce and ingredients as much as possible. I love supporting local businesses as these are the soul of our city. For example, I still use the same butcher my family used when I was growing up – Martin Divilly. He is a third generation butcher and is so knowledgeable. I use the same ethos across all ingredients for both The Kitchen and Marmalade.

Cooking style

I like to describe my cooking style as comfort food with a little bit of pizzazz. I want people to feel nourished but also to feel satisfied. I cook from the heart and that ethos is the same across all my staff. Gavin Gleeson is my head chef at The Kitchen and he is just phenomenal with flavours. It’s all about working with good quality ingredients and taking inspiration from many different places, to create nutritious, enjoyable food.



The main challenge for me in my first year of business at Marmalade is balancing staff costs against what people are willing to pay for a loaf of bread. If you look at how people perceive their spending, they are happy to pay €5 for a pint but perhaps consider €5 for a loaf of good quality bread too expensive. If you take a moment to think about it, a loaf of handmade sourdough bread can take 24 hours to turn around, while using high cost, good quality ingredients.

For me, one of the most important aspects of my business is my staff but the service industry is one of the most difficult to work in. Wages are low and there isn’t much support for small businesses in the industry. My staff are some of the best people I know and they always receive 100% of their tips from my businesses. They are the lifeblood of this industry and in this busy Christmas period, I’d ask that you give your server a smile – it can go a long way.

The future

I’d love to see Marmalade grow. At the moment we have a very small baking facilityand are pretty much at production capacity. I am a firm believer in not doing something if you can’t do it right, but I’d hope to be able to expand the business in the near future.


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