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Hotel & Restaurant Times is circulated on subscription to Chief Executives, Directors and Proprietors of Hotels and Restaurants in Ireland along with Architects, Interior Designers and Suppliers to the Hotel and Restaurant Industry. Managing Editor: Cyril McAree (01-6285447, Business Development: Alan Doherty (01-2842909, Contributors: Pavel Barter, Cynthia Bifolchi, Frank Corr, Des O’Mahony, Caroline Leddy, Conor McTernan, Lorraine Griffin, Conor Molloy, ALL CONTENTS OF THE MAGAZINE ARE COPYRIGHT OF HOTEL & RESTAURANT TIMES: H&R HOUSE, CARTON COURT, MAYNOOTH, CO. KILDARE. TEL/FAX: 01 628 5447. E-MAIL: WEB:

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Real momentum As 2014 begins, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on the year past.


editorial editorial editorial



Overall, 2013 brought a welcome return of increased visitors to our shores. This was due no doubt with the help of the much-lauded Gathering initiative. It was an idea put forward by Fáilte Ireland and took on a life of its own. Supported by Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders, it caught the imagination of the country, despite some early cynical detractors who maybe had other agendas at play. Throughout the country, every local parish, sporting organisation and members of the public contributed to its success. Let’s hope a number of legacy events are continued, supported and encouraged by the agencies charged with maintain our tourism industry.

Another moment to reflect on was the RAI campaign to retain VAT at 9%. Over several months, they maintained a comprehensive and focused effort to ensure every TD, councillor and stakeholder got behind the campaign to lobby the Minister of Finance for its retention. The facts were clear and quantifiable when you see that over 10,000 jobs have been created within the restaurant sector, because of the initiative. With promise of more, it seems for once the Minister listened.

Praise must go to the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar, who continues to ensure that tourism continues to be supported by his colleagues at the cabinet table. Ably supported by Minister Ring, he has achieved much in terms of both funding and recognition for the sector.

Recent 3rd Qtr figures bear this out. Latest CSO figures shows that spending by overseas visitors for the first nine months of the year rose by 13.3% to €2.6 billion, with a particularly strong increase in spending by holidaymakers. The detailed figures from the CSO show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors for the first nine months of the year, excluding travel fares, rose by 13.3% compared with the corresponding period of 2012. Growth in spending was recorded in all three types of traveller targeted by The Gathering - business travellers, holidaymakers, and family visits. There was a particularly strong showing for holidaymakers, with spending by this group up 14.8% for the first nine months, and a 7.6% increase in the number of pure holiday trips to Ireland.

Responding to the latest figures Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland said: “Recent figures from the CSO show a very welcome increase in overseas tourism earnings of +19.3% for the third quarter of 2013.” He noted that some outstanding market performance included North America, Germany, France, Spain and from our long-haul markets - with Australia and New Zealand adding to significant growth. Shaun Quinn of Fáilte Ireland was equally upbeat about the performance, noting that the growth in figures was having a positive impact in all sectors including accommodation, attractions, and restaurants, as overseas markets are once more delivering for tourism businesses.

Overall, it bodes well for the sector as the New Year begins. Long may it continue.



Cyril McAree Editor


NEWS Bookassist crowned world’s leading booking engine for second year

(l-r) Bookassist’s CTO Robert Whittle, and CEO Des O’Mahony, receiving their World Travel Award, alongside Mr Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards

The World Travel Awards (, now in its 20th year, is widely hailed as the Oscars of the travel industry. Recognised across the globe as the ultimate accolade, it rewards those brands that are pushing the boundaries of industry excellence. Backed by the votes of the global travel industry, technology and online strategy firm Bookassist ( has been crowned World’s Leading Booking Engine Technology Provider for the second year in a row. It is the firm’s fourth nomination in the awards. Bookassist co-founders Dr Des O’Mahony (CEO) and Dr Robert Whittle (CTO) attended the event to receive the much-coveted award. Runners up to Bookassist in the travel technology sector include the global powerhouses Sabre and Amadeus. Bookassist continues to cement its leadership position in the hotel booking engine market with its win this year over local Irish competitor NetAffinity and last year French company Availpro. “To be chosen ahead of heavyweight global giants in the technology sector is something we are incredibly proud of. The technical team at Bookassist works tirelessly to create world-class innovative solutions, and our solutions add real value to our customers’ businesses. This award proves that we are delivering exactly what the hotel industry needs, and at the highest standards”, said O’Mahony. “Winning once could be seen as luck, but getting such strong support from the hotel industry twice is proof you must be doing something right”, said O’Mahony. Bookassist’s Site Builder website design team also have cause to celebrate as international hotel group ARCOTEL Hotels (, a longstanding Bookassist client, was also shortlisted in the World’s Leading Hotel Brand Website category, along with Radisson, Westin, and Marriott.

Making a McMeel of it Celebrity chef Noel McMeel, who stars in Tourism Ireland’s latest online food film, during filming in Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

Spending by overseas visitors up 13.3% to €2.6Bn Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed CSO figures showing that spending by overseas visitors for the first nine months of the year rose by 13.3% to €2.6 billion, with a particularly strong increase in spending by holidaymakers. “2013 was the year in which Ireland’s tourism grew strongly thanks to a combination of The Gathering, more air access, good value and great tourism offerings,” Minister Varadkar said. The detailed figures from the CSO show that spending in Ireland by overseas visitors for the first nine months of the year, excluding travel fares, rose by 13.3% compared with the corresponding period of 2012. Growth in spending was recorded in all three types of traveller targeted by The Gathering - business travellers, holidaymakers, and family visits. “Total expenditure excluding fares in the nine month period amounted to €2,597 million which is a highly significant contribution to the Irish economy,” Minister Varadkar said. The figures confirm significant growth in revenues across all main market areas, including the challenging British market. • Great Britain up by 3.0%; • North America up by 12.6%; • Mainland Europe up by 19.3%; • ‘Other’ long-haul markets up by 22.0%. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland said: “These figures from the CSO show a very welcome increase in overseas tourism earnings of +19.3% for the third quarter of 2013. I am also pleased to see growth of +8% in holidaymakers. This growth has been driven by strong increases in visitor numbers from almost all of our markets worldwide. In fact, we have seen the best performances ever this year from North America, Germany, France, Spain and from our long-haul markets - with Australia and New Zealand in particular driving that growth. Other Mainland European markets, like the Nordic region and the Benelux have also performed well. And the British market has also seen growth in visitor numbers in 2013 which is particularly encouraging.” Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “These figures are to be welcomed and this growth is now really driving all sectors of the tourism sector, including accommodation, attractions, and restaurants, as overseas markets are once more delivering for tourism businesses - in particular North America. With The Gathering, recent Government initiatives and improving overseas markets all boosting visitors, employment and revenue, 2013 has certainly been a great year for tourism.” H&RT DECEMBER ‘13/JANUARY ‘14



Ask and you shall receive

New page for Chapter One The Irish Dairy Board Listowel Food Book of the Year 2013 was awarded evening to Michelin starred chef Ross Lewis, author of Chapter One: An Irish Food Story. Lewis was presented the award by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan and Kevin Lane, CEO of the Irish Dairy Board.

Great tour of China

Bord Bia has announced Inch House, Thurles, Co. Tipperary as the Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month for November. The Just Ask! campaign encourages diners to look for information on where the food on their plates comes from when eating out. Built in 1720 and rescued from dereliction by John and Nora Egan in the 1980s, Inch House stands like a welcoming beacon at the centre of the family’s large tillage farm near Thurles.

Turf warfare

The largest ever Tourism Ireland sales mission to China kicked off in November, with 20 Irish tourism companies travelling to China, to meet and do business with more than 450 top travel agents and tour operators, as well as key travel and lifestyle journalists, in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Representatives of the 20 Irish tourism companies taking part in Tourism Ireland’s China sales mission 2013, with Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland (front, centre).

Still got the Blues for you Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar, recently launched the 2014 Edition of Ireland’s Blue Book at The Merrion Hotel, Dublin.

The right ingredients

A team of seven employees from O’Callaghan Hotels (OCH) hit three targets in The Turf Warrior Challenge, a 10km obstacle course at the KIllary Adventure Centre, Connemara, Co Galway. Not only was it a terrific team-building exercise, according to the group, but it was fun and raised over €6,000 for cancer charities.



Some of the bestknown names in the Irish culinary world came together to share their experiences and trade secrets at the inaugural Chef K n o w l e d g e Exchange events, in association with Knorr. The two events, which took place at Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street, and Belfast Metropolitan College, gave chefs, industry professionals and culinary students from all over the country an opportunity to discuss current industry trends and expand their culinary knowledge through informal and interactive culinary demonstrations.


Hospitality award points in right direction Compass Group Ireland has announced that Sean Dinan Food and Beverage Manager within Aviva Stadium’s Meetings and Events team has been awarded the Hospitality Manager of the Year - Catering at the Irish Hospitality Institute Founders Banquet & Hospitality Management Awards.

Pictured are (l-r): Stephen Connolly, HR Director Compass Group Ireland; Martina Flood, Operations Manager Sports and Leisure Compass Group Ireland; Sean Dinan, Food and Beverage Manager Aviva Stadium Meeting; and Events and Martin Murphy, Stadium Director Aviva Stadium.

In the Nom of the father Nom Nom Jobs: new sub sandwich franchise owner Dermot Hanrahan promises nationwide job creations for 2014 at the launch of the first Nom Nom Subs store in Pearse station, Westland Row, Dublin 2.

Grand national

That’s the spirit

Simona Faltynkova of Hilton Dublin Airport hotel was chosen from 150,000 Hilton staff from all over the world, for a Spirit of Blue Energy Award. The Award is the highest form of recognition that the Hilton Worldwide brands bestow on their staff and was created to recognise the top performers who impact guests, team members, the hotel itself or the community. Only five employees from 90 countries are chosen for an award each month.

Going for gold

Cork-based Irish Paralympic athlete, Orla Barry was on hand to celebrate the naming of Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group as Official Hotel Partner for Paralympics Ireland.

The Irish-owned Great National Hotels and Resorts Group plans to grow to 100 hotels throughout to Ireland and the UK by end-2015. The announcement was made at the Hotel Property Conference in Dublin. Pictured is David Collins, CoFounder/Marketing Director, Great National; Peter Malone, Former Chairman, Jurys PLC; David Byrne, CoFounder/Managing Director.




Cannes do attitude

Business buzz for Ireland Nine top business tourism buyers from the United States have been visiting Ireland as guests of Tourism Ireland. The buyers - all senior representatives of companies who organise international conferences, meetings and large-scale incentive events around the world - were here to discover more about the meeting facilities and accommodation available in Ireland.

Liz Godfrey, Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort; Evan Butler, Mount Falcon Estate, Ballina; Joyce McElroy, Tourism Ireland; Emer Mortell, Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Killarney; and Aileesh Carew, Ballyfin Demesne, at International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes.

Making its Marker

The Marker Hotel on Dublin’s Grand Canal Square has plenty to celebrate after it picked up two prestigious industry awards. The Marker won the award for Best Food at The 3rd Annual Docklands Business Awards and also the award for Best HR Manager at the Irish Hospitality Institute Founders’ Banquet and Hospitality Management Awards 2013.

DIT does the double There were double celebrations at the DIT Cathal Brugha Street table at the recent Irish Hospitality Institute Awards in the Four Seasons Hotel as two of their graduates took the honours in the General Manager categories.

Mark Nolan, general manager of Dromoland Castle (third left) welcomes Marie McKown, Tourism Ireland (second left); Derek Wallace, Wallace Travel Group (left); and top American business tourism buyers. Also pictured is Jim Henninger and his peregrine falcon (right).

Wild Atlantic is Wunderbar for German tourist agents Ten top travel agents from Germany recently visited Galway and Connemara, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus. They were invited to take part in the fact-finding visit around Co Galway, having completed Tourism Ireland’s 2013 e-learning training programme for German travel agents, designed to help them sell holidays to Ireland. Pictured are German travel agents at Rathbaun Farm, Ardrahan, Co Galway, with Rose O’Donnell, Tourism Ireland (fifth left).

Running rings around them Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring joined Tourism Ireland and 70 tourism enterprises from across the island of Ireland at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, heralding the beginning of the promotional drive for the 2014 season. Pictured is Mark Henry, Director of Central Marketing, Tourism Ireland; Michael Ring , T.D.; Vanessa Markey, Head of Great Britain, Tourism Ireland.

Night to remember

Pictured (left) is graduate Alan Smullen - currently back at DIT studying on the MSc in Hospitality Management programme - who was awarded the prestigious Jumeriah Young Hospitality Manager of the Year award for 2013. Alan is currently General Manager of the Doyle Collection Croke Park Hotel. Niall Rochford, graduate from DIT Cathal Brugha St in 1993, and currently working as General Manager of Ashford Castle, was awarded the Irish Times Hospitality Manager of the Year award for 2013. 8


The Irish online party brand was announced overall winner of Best Marketing and Sales in the category of Destination Tourism and Hospitality Industry at the recent Chartered Institute of Marketing All-Ireland Marketing Excellence Awards. Pictured is: Christine Watson, Chair of CIM Ireland, presenting the award to Co-Founder Jonathan Gallagher and Advertising Intern Nicola Byers.


Just desserts A new judge, new theme and new venue, were announced at the launch of the 17th annual Knorr Student Chef of the Year competition. To mark the European Year Against Food Waste in 2014, this year’s competition theme is Wise up on Waste and will challenge students to take a traditional dish and give it a modern twist using sustainably-sourced ingredients and limiting the amount of food waste generated. Watching them is a new judging panel that includes TV presenter, food writer and award-winning proprietor Ballyknocken House and Cookery School, Catherine Fulvio.

Samoa rugby squad score try for Fitzpatrick

Casting the Net Dublin based, Net Affinity is celebrating a hugely successful year having won seven major global awards and nominated for many more. In 2013, they were presented with three website designs awards at the International Hotel Awards in the 2013 European regional competition and won the overall European award for Best Hotel website Europe. They were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the WebAwards for website design and most recently they have been awarded 2 silver awards from the International Davey Awards along with a silver design award from the Irish Based Mobile Marketing Awards. Net Affinity, one of the world’s leading booking engine technology providers, expects to expand and grow the business in 2014, following a hugely successful 2013.

Pictured at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney, during their recent stay ahead of their clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, is the National Samoa Rugby Team with Eithne Fitzpatrick, Mark Scott Lennon, Nicky Logue and other members of the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel team.

Salon Culinaire opens for business

Inaugural Irish eTourism Day to attract top speakers Taking place on Wednesday January 22nd, in Chartered Accountants House, Dublin 2, the Irish eTourism Day is a one day stream at ENTER 2014 international conference and is a showcase of all that is good and great in Tourism Information Technology from the island of Ireland. The theme of the day of the conference is “Managing the Customer experience in the Digital Age”. The Irish eTourism Day, which is supported by Fáilte Ireland, will bring together a cross-section of best practice of the use of IT in the Irish Tourism industry with a mixture of the big fish and the not so big fish with big ideas. Speakers from a wide variety of organisations will have case-studies and insights to share including Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, CarTrawler, Bookassist, Google, Facebook and Realex. The Irish eTourism Day will conclude with a reception in the Guinness Storehouse which will provide a great networking opportunity for both Irish and International participants.

Ireland named Best Tourist Destination in U.S. travel mag For the second year running, Ireland has been named “best tourism destination” by frequent travellers in the United States. In a survey conducted during 2013, more than 22,000 readers of American travel magazine Global Traveler named Ireland their favourite tourism destination overall.

Hall of fame for PREM Group PREM Group, the Irish hotel management company, has announced the purchase of Merrion Hall, in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. It has led a small group of investors in purchasing the property and plans to open it under the Premier Suites brand in July 2014. The property is partly constructed and PREM Group estimate that the total investment on completion will be in excess of €5 million.

Sean Owens, Brendan Baxter and Soraya Gadelrab

Central to the long-standing success of Northern Ireland’s largest trade event - IFEX - is the International Salon Culinaire, headed up by Salon Director, Sean Owens. As the stomping ground for student and industry chefs, Salon Culinaire is hotly anticipated as THE place where the ‘best of’ culinarians in Northern Ireland are formally acknowledged. Taking place from Tuesday 11th March to Thursday 13th March, at King’s Hall Belfast, IFEX expects to host almost 250 chefs who will be taking part in 14 ChefSkills category competitions including the Department of Agriculture-supported IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year. For those who hope to compete, entry forms are available to download at and must be submitted before 8th February 2014.





Ship comes in for Killiney hotelier

Prize collection

Killiney hotelier, Eithne Scott Lennon, has been officially appointed as Chairperson of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Ms Scott Lennon, who is the owner - CEO of Fitzpatrick’s Killiney Castle Hotel, is the first female chair of the Harbour Company. She has been an active member of the board of the Harbour Company since 1994 and played a significant role in the development of the Masterplan which aims to realise the Harbour’s potential as a major marine, leisure, cultural and tourism destination, as well as securing its long-term viability. Ms Scott Lennon will serve a five year term as chair.

The Five Star Fitzwilliam Hotels Dublin and Belfast has announced the appointment of Tom Cotter, of The Cotter Collection, as the hotels’ first representative in the golf tourism market.

Kerins is Galway bound

Making magic at Druids Glen The award-winning Druids Glen Resort in Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow has appointed Edward Stephenson as the new Chief Executive Officer. Edward has been working in the hospitality sector for the last 25 years and has extensive experience across all aspects of the hotel and leisure sector.

Bowling them for six Dingle native, Brian Bowler has been appointed General Manager of The Brehon, Killarney. Brian is no stranger to Killarney having completed the Trainee Management Programme in The Gleneagle Hotel between 1997 and 2001. He later worked in both The Torc and Killarney Great Southern Hotels. More recently he honed his skills in The Clarion Hotel in Cork and The Carton House Hotel in Maynooth.

Niall Kerins has been appointed General Manager of the five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway. With over 20 years’ experience in the hotel and catering industry, Niall joins Glenlo Abbey Hotel from Lisloughrey Lodge in Mayo, where he worked as General Manager since February 2012. In addition to his role as General Manager of Lisloughrey Lodge, Niall had also worked for the Edward Hotel Group as Deputy General Manager of The G Hotel in Galway in 2006 and as Deputy General Manager of Ashford Castle in 2011. In between his work with The G Hotel and Ashford Castle, Niall worked as General Manager of the Limerick Marriott Hotel, playing a lead role in securing 5 star accreditation for the hotel, and as General Manager in Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney. 10


Cliff hanger The Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green has announced the appointment of General Manager, Siobhan Ryan. A Kerry native, Siobhan first joined The Cliff Collection in May 2008 as Sales and Marketing Manager of sister property, The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford and was promoted to Deputy General Manager in October 2011, before taking the helm of their St Stephen’s Green property, The Cliff Townhouse.


Depth and movement


Ulster Carpets at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin Located in Dublin’s cosmopolitan south side, the Burlington Hotel has long been one of the City’s most stylish and prestigious hotels. Ulster Carpets are therefore delighted to have recently been involved in the multi million pound refurbishment of the hotel since its re-brand by DoubleTree Hilton. Ulster worked closely with Glasgow based interior designers, Cunningham McLean to create over 16,000sqm of bespoke carpet for the entire hotel refurbishment. The hotel’s business centre and magnificent ballroom, received an abstract touch with a design of blues, greens and browns on a neutral background mimicking brush strokes. This textural, layered effect could only be achieved thanks to Ulster’s unique PSYLO™ technology which allows designers freedom to use up to 25 colours, without the need for a repeating pattern. The restaurant’s classical design gave a nod to the hotel’s traditional values, but with a modern twist. A rich tonal palette added depth and movement to the designs creating a warm atmosphere for the hotel diners. Also refurbished were the 501 guestrooms which are popular with business customers and tourists alike. A simple but striking geometric design with greys, greens and subtle yellow tones pulled together the whole interior scheme and created a calming space for guests to relax. Ulster has recently completed a project at The Morrison Hotel, Dublin which is now also under the DoubleTree Hilton brand. This represents a long standing relationship between Ulster Carpets and the Hilton Group both within the UK, Ireland and internationally. Ulster Carpets are proud to count hotels such as the Hilton Newark Airport, New Jersey and Hilton Grand Vacations Craigendarroch among their project list. For further information on any aspect of Ulster Carpets please contact: +44 (28) 3833 4433 email: Photography: Gary Parrott Photography

Business Lounge




Foodservice excellence Hotel & Restaurant Times meets Sean Martin, sales director of Bunzl Mclaughlin and chairperson of The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA) Sean Martin is a busy man. As well as his role as Sales Director of the leading catering supplies firm Bunzl McLaughlin he holds the position of chair of The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA) and as a founding member is heavily involved with Food & Bev Live, the one-day foodservice excellence event. We were delighted to meet with Sean in between this packed schedule to talk about how these roles came about, how they interplay to benefit the wider industry and his aims for the future. Sean has been with Bunzl McLaughlin for twenty-five years. He joined the company, then called Thomas McLaughlin Ltd. before its takeover by Bunzl in 2002, as a junior salesperson covering Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan, with a sales background in door to door insurance.

“ I want to get the industry positive. It’s all about innovation, bringing solutions to the customer and doing things differently. That’s why I ended up with IFSA.

“Selling insurance door to door was a tough game,” he says. “It was with an American-based insurance company so you can imagine the fabulous training. I stayed for five years and then I thought: I have to get a civilised job where people aren’t running away from me all the time!” In 1991, Sean was asked to take on the Dublin market. “I quickly took on three people. It was my first leap into a managerial role but I called myself a ‘player manager’ - I was still out there on the pitch playing the game. All that led to me taking on six people in Dublin and developing the business significantly and from there when Bunzl took us over I was appointed Sales Director of Ireland.” When Bunzl took over the company became a sponsor of the major Foodservice



event CATEX, a move Sean strongly supports. Indeed, it was his same desire to build links with hospitality associations across the board that played a major part in his involvement with IFSA, and it’s largely through this involvement that IFSA began to modernise and move with the changing times. “I want to get the industry positive,” he tells us. “It’s all about innovation, bringing solutions to the customer and doing things differently. That’s why I ended up with IFSA. Julie Morrissey, who I have great respect for, wanted to change things and she needed people like me to get involved with that. Therefore, we went about transforming CEA to what is now IFSA. You have to be cautious and respectful, it easy for new people coming in to criticise what went before but they were different times with different needs, ways and attitudes. We needed to respect all that but at the same time move on. We were a diminishing organisation and we were going to fizzle out eventually so we engaged a company to do a study for us and we got a comprehensive report from this. We used some of that advice and the rest we went


by instinct. Things like introducing an attractive website, running more live events, and broadening out the membership base were our priorities. So what does IFSA now offer? Sean says the association is an industry hub, invaluable in bringing people together with common interests and opening up dialogue between members. He says being exposed to different people leads to learning, broadening your net of contacts or even meeting potential customers. It also offers training seminars, information, links with other industry associations, support on issues - most recently the successful Keep VAT at 9% campaign - and exhibitions and events such as September’s upcoming Dublin Coffee and Tea Festival in the RDS and of course, Food & Bev Live. As Chair of IFSA, Sean will also lead the preparations for the 50th celebration of the anniversary of both the CEA and CATEX in 2015. This, Sean tells us, is not only beneficial for the individual or even the association, but for the industry as a whole: “If we work together with common goals we can go back and stimulate the industry,” he explains. It is this belief in the benefits of joining up with the wider industry that brought about Food & Bev Live. It started just two years ago and has already grown into a major event in the sector’s calendar. “Food & Bev Live evolved from toeing the water with the Panel of Chefs and sponsoring their Chef of the Year It’s all about competition. We wanted to open it up teamwork and people. to the industry, so we did, and had huge success in 2012 going from nothing to We’re not machines; 1000 visitors and an awards ceremony we’re people with and dinner afterwards. Garret Buckley tells me we have 62 stands booked emotions and feelings, already for this year’s event and they’re good days, bad days. If all market leaders. We also have local people ask what I do I producers and artisan producers within the Chefs Choice area.” say I talk to people… Despite these achievements, Sean isn’t one to rest on his laurels. He has ambitious aims for the future. “With IFSA we’ve got to keep the momentum going, keep it optimistic and driven. We’ve got to show the value so people get close to us. We’ve got to become the hub of the industry. One of our other desires is to be a nationwide association, most of our activity is Dublin based so I really want to get it nationwide and regionalise it. In terms of growing members, we have 124 members now but when I come out of the

chair in 2015, I would like the figure to be 300-350. With Bunzl McLaughlin, we are the market leaders with product offerings that are always relevant to the latest trends in the industry and we are a company that people can trust and also depend on for the best advice when buying products. Sean emphasises what is at the core of these endeavours: “It’s all about teamwork and people. We’re not machines; we’re people with emotions and feelings, good days, bad days. “If people ask what I do I say I talk to people, I sell to people, with IFSA and with Bunzl. It all goes back to people.”




Food & Bev Live is back Following the great success of the inaugural event in 2012, IFSA, (the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance) are bringing Food & Bev Live back in 2014. The event takes place on Tuesday, 11th February 2014 at The Event Centre, Citywest Hotel, Co. Dublin. (10am-5pm). FOOD AND BEV LIVE 2014 is an exciting one-day event aimed at stimulating the Foodservice and Hospitality industry and there is no other national event dedicated to this purpose that also stages of a range of foodservice skills competitions. Organised by the Industry for the Industry and sponsored by Bunzl McLaughlin, FOOD & BEV LIVE 2014 is setup to celebrate excellence, showcasing over 60 of the country’s top suppliers. The event will once again be a hotbed of industry promotion, networking and dialogue, attracting an attendance of over 1500 Chefs, Baristas, Bartenders, Food & Beverage Managers, Hotel Managers, Restaurant Managers, Coffee Bar & Café Owners and more. New features for 2014 IFSA is delighted to announce a series of new features for Food & Bev Live 2014 First of the new features will be The Eurotoques Live stage. Following on from the success of the Euro-toques area within CATEX 2013 and the feedback from the many chefs who sat in on both

Sean Martin, IFSA Chairman



demonstrations and master classes, Euro-toques (along with some winners from the Young Chef of the Year) and IFSA plan to repeat this unique culinary information exchange once more at Food & Bev Live 2014. The theme of these demonstrations will follow the theme of this years Euro toques Young Chef of the Year - Food Memories. A Panel of Euro-toques members will also work closely with IFSA in preparation of the menu for the Champion of Champions gala dinner at F+B LIVE. Sodexo Ireland, are also bringing another first to the event when they will stage the very first “Sodexo Challenge @ F&B Live”. For the event, Sodexo Ireland has commissioned one of Ireland’s best known chefs, Derry Clarke, to set a culinary challenge for selected members of the company’s 500-strong chef team. Said

Derek Reilly, Executive Chef for Sodexo Ireland, said “We are delighted to be working with the team at Food & Bev Live next year and the challenge set by Derry Clarke will give our culinary team the opportunity to display their skills in front of a live audience. Award winning agency Noel Recruitment are hosting the all-new Recruitment Hub at the event. The hub will comprise a recruitment clinic and advice desk for prospective candidates and emplyers looking for new staff and will also showcase training solutions and up-skilling possibilities for both client companies and individual candidates. The all-new Foodpak Zone will be launched at Food & Bev Live 2014. Food and


Exhibitor Name

Beverage suppliers are always on the lookout for innovative packaging solutions to help their products stand out from the competition. A dedicated area at the show will be available to suppliers of new packaging solutions for the market particularly the artisan sector, which both exhibit and visit this event in great numbers. National skills competitions Apart from exhibiting all products that are new and upcoming in the industry in Ireland, Food & Bev Live has a very important role as the stage for all the key national competitions that celebrate the talent within the industry. Pouring the spotlight on the cream of Irish talent, the National competitions will challenge individuals set to scoop coveted national titles and compete further on behalf of their country internationally with The National Barista Championship as well as The National Cocktail Champion. Newly crowned winners will go on to compete for their country abroad in places such as Italy and South Africa. Aiming to promote local Irish food and beverage suppliers, Chefs Choice @ Food and Bev Live is an area of the show dedicated to serving this cause in a relaxed environment. The area will comprise of 20 - 25 stands designed to give a ‘Food Market’ feel, positioned right at the front of the show. Local producers of food and beverage products are presented with the opportunity to showcase and sample their wares to an audience keen to source new and exciting products. Reward and relax To top off a great day of competition and interaction, IFSA is delighted to once more to host the very popular annual Champions Gala Dinner where the newly crowned National Champions are honoured and where exhibitors and visitors can continue to meet, mix and join in the celebrations. Said Sean Martin, Chief Executive of IFSA, The inaugural Food & Bev Live 2012 was a big success for us and therefore a very tough act to follow but we believe that we have met the challenge we have brought some very exciting new features for 2014. From chefs’ skills to packing and recruitment we’re seeking out every information need out there in the industry and endeavouring to provide the best in advice and demonstrations that we can. We’re very excited to present this bigger and better show to our industry.”

Bord Gais Networks: Stand C6 Bord Gáis Networks provide energy solutions to save you time and money by increasing efficiency and versatility and boosting competitiveness. Business today is all about networking, are you connected to the most successful network in the country? Visit our stand today to connect and learn about our solutions.

Stand #

ARC International





Block C14





Bord Gáis


Bunzl Irish Merchants


Bunzl McLaughlin


Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality


Calor Gas






CMAI - Catering Management Association of Ireland


Corcoran Food Equipment LTD

F14,F16, G17

Cup Print




Display Specialists




Edward Dillion


Exhibit Design Group




Expelliere Xpelgum


Fagor Industrial

Block C14

GH Enterprises




Goodness Grains

Chefs Choice


Block C14

HACCP Records


Hotel & Restaurant Times


The Hospitality Trust


Hugh Jordan & Co.


Irish Hospitality Institute




Marco Beverage Systems


Matthew Algie

H5 & H6

McDonnells Queen Street


Menu Pages


MG Catering Equipment




NCCO International Ltd.


Newell Rubbermaid UK Ltd




Noel Recruitment


Maud’s Ice-cream & Popcake


Norton Group

G12 & G13

Proflame - Cato Manufacturing


Rational U.K. Ltd.


Restaurant Association of Ireland


Rosie & Jim Gourmet Chicken Products


SCA Hygiene Products




Solaris Tea

Chefs Choice

Steelite International plc.


The Dining



Block C14

Wrap Film Systems


Ulster Bank



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Derek sets chefs high standards Chefs from Sodexo will interpret dishes from Michelin star restaurant L’Ecrivain at Food and Bev Live, the ‘Excellence in Foodservice’ event which takes place at Citywest Hotel Dublin on 11th. February 2014’. The unique competition is the brainchild of Derek Reilly, executive chef for Sodexo in Ireland. “We have been working with Derry Clarke over the past five years on a programme designed to enhance the skills of our chefs. We have sent teams of chefs into L’Ecrivain for Master Classes with Derry and the experience has enabled them to widen their culinary horizons,” Derek says. When Food and Bev Live was being planned, he devised a unique competition in which the top six Sodexo chefs who participated in the Master Classes would have an opportunity to interpret the dishes which had been featured. ‘We don’t just want them to replicate the dishes, but to use their skills and creativity to add their own personal interpretations’, says Derek.

Each competitor will cook a starter, main course and dessert and the dishes will be placed on a Tasting Table after they have been presented to the judges. Derek will join Derry in adjudicating the competition which promises to be one of the highlights of Food and Bev Live. Derek has been a chef for more than 25 years, working alongside Derry Clarke, Pierre Koffmann, Paul Rankin, Kevin Dundon and Rachel Allen. Along the way he

CATERING EVENT restaurant, 92 conference rooms and a brigade of 45 chefs. We had to meet ambitious targets in terms of standards and financial performance - and I am delighted to say that they were achieved. In my first year at Aviva we were awarded ‘Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal 2007’ and also ‘Hospitality Ireland’ Awards Best Corporate ‘Over All Winner’. In the following year I was named ‘Chef of the Year, Gold Medal Winner’.”

has received a host of awards in culinary competitions including a Gold Medal at Hotelympia in 2012 when he was part of the Sodexo Chefs Team. After graduating from DIT with Distinction Awards from City and Guilds, Derek began his professional career at Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin prior to moving to work with Kevin Dundon at Coffers Restaurant. He moved to another French restaurant in 1990 as Chef de Partie at Déja Vú, “where the language of the kitchen was entirely French.” Three years later he joined Clarence Hotel and a few moves later he won his first executive position as Executive Banqueting Chef at The Marriott Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield. This led to his appointment as Group Executive Head Chef at Principal Hotels whose properties included the Spawell complex in Tallaght and the Script Restaurant in Wicklow. “Making the transition to management was a real challenge’, he says. ‘The company had just one property when it was established in 2001, but rapidly developed into a large group. I had full responsibility for leading the teams of chefs across all properties, monitoring standards and procedures, food costs and control, purchasing, food concepts, menus, training and development.” After a period as Executive Head Chef at the O’Callaghan Stephen’s Green Hotel, Derek made the transition to in-house catering. “In 2006, I responded to an opportunity to join Sodexo as Executive Head Chef at Aviva. It was a really interesting challenge to take on responsibility for management of the kitchen in a cutting edge property which has hundreds of individual clients and banqueting facilities for 650, a Michelin-standard Fine Dining

Derek enjoys working with Sodexo Ireland and Northern Ireland where he is currently Executive Chef. “I am responsible for development of our chefs across 180 sites which include in-house restaurants, corporate hospitality, sports and leisure events. We provide meals for 90,000 customers every day and our annual turnover exceeds €80m. My role focuses predominantly on the development of craft and culinary skills, whilst also placing great emphasis on food quality, concepts and excellence across the business. The job involves leading from the front supporting the company’s 500 chefs in areas such as purchasing, business development, events and craft training.” In recent years Derek has been a high profile chef in Ireland and the UK. He worked for Sodexo at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland in 2013 and was Guest Executive chef at the European Parliament. He also liaised with Sodexo US on behalf of Sodexo where he promoted Irish culinary concepts. Derek and Derry are looking forward to Food and Bev Live, but the chefs competing before them will know that they are under the watchful eye of true professionals.

The Norton Group: Stand G12

As distributors of all the major brands, coupled with their vast experience and knowledge of the catering industry, The Norton Group are highly regarded and trusted by a wide variety of clients nationwide. We would be delighted to discuss any requirements you may have when you visit our stand.


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Noel Recruitment Stand E11

SCA: Stand B14

ATTENTION potential Candidates & Clients, we will be on site to advise/assist you with your Recruitment requirements. Whether you are seeking a new challenge or have staff requirements (both temporary/permanent) we will be happy to help you. With 26 years experience within Hospitality & catering we look forward to working with you.

The largest tissue manufacturer in Europe, SCA Hygiene will be presenting a range of innovative products designed to help support your business. From the launch of the Tork Xpressnap(r) napkin range, to the rebranding of Lotus Professional to Tork, we will have a plethora of activity at stand B14.

Ecolab: Stand D18

Ecolab will be showcasing the following innovations in the food industry market: Apex: Apex is an innovative warewashing range of solids that has the technology to track your dishwashers procedures and provide data that minimises cost in your operation and ensures consistent results. Key metrics such as rinse and wash temperature and number of racks washed can all be tracked. The new Ecolab Apex system can save the average restaurant 7,288 racks per year and help save energy, water and waste in foodservice operations. Greaselift: Greaselift is a unique highly effective non caustic oven cleaner & degreaser which consistently performs as well as corrosive oven cleaners in trials. This product requires no PPE whatsoever making it a much safer alternative to corrosive cleaners in the workplace. The product is available in a 6x750ml ready to use bottle and also a 2x2L concentrated pouch. Ecolab will demonstrate the product’s excellent degreasing properties and also show videos on the correct procedure for best results.

SMX: Stand D22 SMX Music on stand number D22 will be showing their revolutionary GREEN BOX music system. GREEN BOX offers up to 20 great channels of music to suit every business especially hospitality outlets. In addition GREEN BOX offers three excellent Noncopyright music channels which eliminate the need to pay IMRO/PPI charges. The system is connected on line so music updates are instantly available... no cumbersome disc update etc. Contact - Anne at 087 2433631 for free demo installation today. Superleague Ireland Ltd SMX Music Ltd. Coin Exchange Ltd.

For information on Food & Bev Live please contact: Garret Buckley at 01 8460020 or or Ciara Moffatt at 01 846 0020 or Or visit 18



A lot to be confident about Hotel and Restaurant Times recently met with CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Shaun Quinn to review the past year and look toward 2014 Hotel & Restaurant Times (H&RT): As 2013 winds down to a close, how would you describe the condition of the tourism sector? Shaun Quinn (SQ): Well, I think the tourism sector has a lot to be confident about. Indeed, our own Fáilte Ireland surveys have recently shown that business sentiment in the sector is at its highest since the downturn began. This upbeat mood is certainly due to the increased numbers of international visitors which have boosted revenue and created jobs. Optimism in the sector has also been strengthened by the Government decision in Budget 2014 to retain the lowered VAT rate for the hospitality sector. And, of course, The Gathering has played its part in buoying up the industry and driving greater business to our shores. H&RT: The Gathering - the gamble paid off? SQ: Absolutely. As Chairman of the Gathering, I am particularly pleased that the initiative has delivered in the manner we always imagined it would when we first began to develop the concept. However, we could never have done this on our own. I would like to thank all our industry partners, the thousands of community groups and our colleagues in Tourism Ireland who joined us in this enterprise and whose involvement helped ensure its success. H&RT: So will the good times continue into 2014? SQ: Look, it would be very tempting, at the end of such a busy year for tourism, for all of us to sit back and simply count our takings. However, I actually believe we need to guard against complacency and the temptation to assume that some beneficial rising tide in many of our overseas markets will simply carry us back to the same levels we enjoyed throughout the boom. In fact, just as this industry had to fight for survival over the last five years or so, we now need to energetically chase growth to build on the momentum of The Gathering. H&RT: Where will that growth come from? SQ: Well, with the domestic market at a standstill, the best prospects for near-term growth in visitors and revenue lie in our traditional overseas markets, particularly Europe and the United States. If we are to maintain momentum, we need to tap into all the potential growth which exists in these markets. H&RT: How can we do that? SQ: For one, we need to break through the international clutter and chatter and stand out as a destination. This means we need to offer propositions of authenticity, singularity and scale to international travellers. Here, in Fáilte Ireland, we are beginning to develop these with the first example - The Wild Atlantic Way - ready to roll out in early 2014 and already proving attractive to overseas travel agents. As we enter 2014 we are developing similar large scale concepts to drive tourism growth in the rest of the country. To build on this year’s momentum, we will also need to be more effective in targeting those markets with the best possible prospects of growth as well using the most up-to- date and effective channels to do so. We need to move away from a broad-brush pitch to travellers and target those various categories of visitors that are most likely to actually answer Ireland’s call. Already, working with Tourism Ireland and our industry partners, we have identified where these are in Great Britain with similar work well advanced on other markets. H&RT: We hear a lot about social media’s growing importance everywhere these days - is it in your sights? SQ: Without a doubt! Developing a good product and identifying your customer is only half of the equation. We also need to close the sale and, in this day and age, that includes mastering the most up to date digital channels. There is no getting away from it, the internet has fundamentally changed tourism and completely revolutionised the way that we need to interact with potential customers. Crucially, if the tourism industry is to fully exploit the potential of digital marketing, we need to realise that the emphasis needs to be on content as opposed to platforms. In other

words, it will not be about the number of clicks on a tourist board website or Facebook page but rather the mass mobilisation of the whole industry online pushing and promoting attractive multimedia images and messages with a persuasive and cohesive pitch to come visit Ireland.

But it’s not all about the new stuff, as well as maximising the potential of new opportunities; we also need to maintain the existing mixture of good value and quality we managed to retain during the downturn. H&RT: Finally, in 2014, we’ll have the results of the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar’s policy review what do you expect? SQ: When the Minister invited me to speak at the recent launch of the review, I took the opportunity to set out what I saw as the four key pillars for future growth in the sector: developing greater international demand; delivering more compelling consumer experiences; getting the most out of digital media; and continuing to provide authentic experiences at competitive prices. If we focus on these core areas, I believe we can maintain and build on our Gathering bounce and restore this sector to its former rude health.




Kilkenny crowned Top Tourism Town for 2013 Mulranny, Co. Mayo also announced as ‘Best Small Town’

Kilkenny Crowned as Ireland’s Top Tourism Town in 2013. (l-r are) members of Kilkenny’s Tourism Towns Committee Brian Tyrell, Mayor Martin Brett, Nora Darcy, Amanda Horan, Fáilte Ireland, and David Fitzgerald. [Photo: Derek Cullen, Fáilte Ireland]

Kilkenny has been announced as the second winner of Fáilte Ireland’s National Tourism Towns Award. Kilkenny was chosen from a shortlist of ten top tourism towns and has received an award of €5,000 which will go towards developing the town’s tourism potential. The remaining nine finalists received highly commended certificates and an award of €1,000 to support their tourism development. Kilkenny was also awarded with a special certificate for the best large town and Mulranny was announced as best small town. Each of which received an award of €5,000 toward tourism development in their towns. Now in its second year the Tourism Towns Award was designed by Fáilte Ireland to promote those Irish towns and villages which are working hardest to enhance their appeal to tourists visiting their local area. Following a shortlisting, the top ten towns were visited by a panel of independent assessors, as well as a team of ‘secret shoppers’, who measured the town’s tourism performance and the level of welcome to visitors. The winner, Kilkenny, was recognised for the preservation of so many of its historical buildings while at the same time



undertaking an impressive regeneration programme, as instanced at the Alms House Tourist Information Office, Rothe House and Garden, Kilkenny Castle and Craft Centre. The sense of place in Kilkenny was described by adjudicators as ‘very obvious to the visitor’ and the long history and artistic contribution of Kilkenny was well presented. The adjudicators were also impressed by the number of local groups working together to iincrease and improve tourism in the area and the access and tourism offering on offer to the visitor. Congratulating Kilkenny, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “I would like to commend everyone in Kilkenny for their involvement in this year’s award. All our top ten towns have shown a high degree of local involvement in - and passion for tourism. A big focus of both The Gathering and the Tourism Town Award is community involvement and, as we are coming to the end of a year when such community tourism has really come to the fore, these finalists are all great role models for the type of local activism which has made The Gathering such a success.” Describing Mulranny the adjudicators said it was is a stunning location and the community has worked hard to revitalise its tourist product. They commended the signage in the town and the wealth of information available to visitors. Also highlighted was the local promotion of the town’s tourism product and their clear understanding of the importance of choice and diversity that should be offered to visitors. The other towns shortlisted were: • Cobh, Co. Cork • Drogheda, Co. Louth • Ennis, Co. Clare • Kenmare, Co. Kerry • Letterkenny, Co. Donegal • Murrisk, Co. Mayo • Tralee, Co. Kerry • Westport, Co. Mayo


New Year’s Eve festival wraps up the Gathering NYE 2014 brought the Gathering to its official conclusion last week as the New Year’s Eve festival NYE Dublin - the Ultimate Gathering took place. This year NYE Dublin was extended over four days opening on 29 December with the Gathering at Leopardstown and featuring a new #LoveDublin day as well as festival favourites The Procession of Light and Countdown Concert on the 31st December, followed by a Big Brunch on 1st January. The Countdown Concert in College Green was headlined by iconic ska band Madness and featured MKS (Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan - the founding members of Sugababes), hot new act The Strypes and YouTube darlings Seo Linn. Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Now Project, which aims to reposition Dublin as a destination that will grow Dublin’s visitor base by attracting fun loving adventurers (otherwise known as ‘social energisers’) from Great Britain, worked closely with the festival to help them shape their programme to attract this new market segment. As part of this the festival introduced a #LoveDublin Day offering visitors a chance explore Dublin City in a different and new way and enjoy more than 30 acts at some of the city’s trendiest coffee shops, restaurant and book shops. From literary readings, poetry and slam, to inspirational talks, political debate, pop up cinema and comedy there was something for everyone at NYE Dublin 2014. Speaking about the event, and the success of the initiative, Gathering Chairman and Fáilte Ireland CEO Shaun Quinn, pointed out, “We opened an exciting year of gatherings with NYE 2013 and we were delighted to close this wonderful year of Gathering celebrations with Three NYE Dublin 2014 the Ultimate Gathering. “The Gathering itself has truly been a people’s project, driven at a grass-roots level throughout Ireland. Almost 5,000 individual Gathering events were run right across Ireland, organised and supported by almost 100,000 local volunteers - with each of those gatherings making a unique contribution to the local economy by drawing on

Crowds enjoy New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert at College Green, Dublin.

personal and community links with families and communities around the world”. “This success could never have happened without people power and I personally would like to thank all the thousands of volunteers involved for their efforts as well as commend the commitment of all those communities and organisations across the country who stood up to the plate”. “Thanks to the Gathering initiative, Ireland will now enjoy an improved events schedule at national and local level, offering overseas visitors meaningful reasons to visit our country.”

Mobile set to surpass visitor’s PC usage in 2014

Digital taking a key role in tourism: Fáilte Ireland’s John Concannon (far left) is pictured at one of the world’s largest gatherings of travel and tourism bloggers, TBEX Europe 2013 with Rick Calvert, TBEX CEO and Key Note Speaker, Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality for Airbnb and founder of boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre.

A Fáilte Ireland study (2012) into the use of new technology by tourists in Ireland has found that the use of mobile devices is expected to surpass traditional computer internet use by 2014. In this digital age of the internet, iPads, Xboxes and smartphones; the modern traveller is hands-on and wants to actively engage with their environment. They want to learn more and do more in the places they visit and will use their smartphone to do this. The research also illustrates that close to 55% of tourists who own smartphones or other related mobile devices use their device while travelling in Ireland and 31% booked an element of their trip using their mobile devices. Social media is also becoming increasingly influential. According to a recent Google survey when it comes to attracting visitors to destinations with approximately 40% of travellers citing social networks as influencing their travel planning, while 50% actually based their travel plans on other people’s reviews and experiences.

According to Travel Daily News (2012), Tripadvisor has become so intrinsic in travellers’ planning processes that 53% of people surveyed claimed that they would not book a hotel if it had no reviews on a site. The vast majority agreed that TripAdvisor reviews helped them feel more confident in their booking decisions (87%), and that they considered reviews on the site to be accurate (98%). Consumers trust opinions from other users far more than they trust any other form of marketing message. This can be seen as an enormous 96% of businesses in the travel industry reported that online reviews are fundamental for generating bookings, and 84% are concerned that negative reviews may affect their reputation and impact their business. There is an on-going trend for users to actively produce and engage with travelrelated feedback. According to the TripAdvisor Global Report, 2013, nearly 37% of users surveyed had added comments about their trips to their social media feeds, and 34% had written an online review of a travel product, service, or destination. Online travel reviews are an influential part of many people’s decision-making process, especially Europeans, 51% of whom say reading online reviews has the biggest impact on their planning decisions, a factor of greater importance even than price and location (TripAdvisor Global Report, 2013).




It worked– no argument Hotel & Restaurant Times 2103 year in review looks at the Gathering amongst other successes – by Conor Power. The Gathering divided opinion like no other marketing campaign so far. At its foundation, was a very simple idea: Tell everyone - particularly the Americans - that we’re having a party and that you’re all invited for the craic. No sooner was the ink dry on the press releases and the web page complete that the backlash began. Hadn’t we been doing this all along? Isn’t this exactly what we do in Ireland anyway and been doing for years? Should we not be concentrating on getting our product right; on improving it and giving tourists something different rather than just wheeling out the same product once again wearing a different coloured dress? Isn’t that flying in the face of what has been learned from the international tourist market over the last decade or so? That you have to keep coming up with the new, the unique, the reworked and the undiscovered if you want to stay ahead of the race? Gabriel Byrne reflected a certain cynicism found amongst the Irish populace when he famously poo-pooed what he saw as a lazy marketing effort and many people in Ireland were left scratching their heads, trying to define just what a “Gathering” was (five or more people? Five hundred? Am I in a “Gathering” now? Was I ever in a “Gathering”?) But there’s absolutely no arguing with the figures as released by Tourism Ireland early in December. The truth is that it was a simple hook and it was one that worked. Visitor numbers overall are up. Of course they’re up for the first time in a number of recessionary years but this time they really are impressive: 7% growth overall was achieved and we saw records being set for the numbers of Germans, French, Spanish and Portuguese coming to our shores, according to the Tourism Ireland figures. “The Gathering has obviously been very successful,” says Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland. “It certainly will exceed the targets for the year and will bring us back to our roots... the importance of community that’s what it tapped into. The communities responded and with that response came many authentic experiences.



Shaun Quinn, Fáilte Ireland CEO

“In many respects, The Gathering did what we’re trying to do every day in tourism; which is to deliver quite authentic experiences with a very strong Irish welcome.” What Mr Quinn says goes to the heart of the subtlety of the idea that was behind the success of The Gathering. Taken at face value, it could be argued that it was nothing more than a big loud “come-all-ye” aimed mainly at the dewy-eyed American tourist. Whilst there was certainly no shortage of the latter visiting our shores over the last year, the real trick with The Gathering was the manner in which it energised communities across the country into taking ownership of the national tourism framework.

2013 REVIEW “I think that there’s a mood around the country to sustain a lot of what The Gathering did and to build on that momentum going into 2014,” says Mr Quinn. From Tourism Ireland’s point of view, it was a job well done this year too with plenty to build on. Commenting on the impressive set of figures for the year thus far, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons expressed satisfaction at the record numbers from many of the main markets: “We are particularly pleased with the performance from the United States - by the end of 2013, we will have welcomed one million American visitors, spending US$1 billion. And the British market, which has proved challenging over the last few years for economic reasons, has also seen growth in visitor numbers in 2013 (+7%).”

Business from the island of Ireland accounts for up 70 per cent of overall hotel demand nationally and the sluggish internal growth is at the heart of a slower-if-forwardmoving ship that is the hotel and catering sector. In the five-star category, it’s interesting to note that the number of registered hotels has remained more-or-less static since its peak in 2010. Then, as in 2013, there were 34 5-star establishments registered in the country. The five-star end of the spectrum is more indicative of the overseas market, however, from where 56% of their guests typically originate. The much-vaunted 3-star hotel class is where a truer barometer is to be found. This is a sector that suffered a significant amount of attrition since the downturn began; dropping by 10% from a peak in 2007 of 407 down to 366 registered units in 2013. Occupancy rates are on the way up,

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO

Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association of Ireland Chief Executive

It’s not a time for resting on laurels either, of course. The Year of the Gathering, as Shaun Quinn points out, is but a “kick-start” for some serious work ahead - work that, according to Tourism Ireland’s modestly ambitious marketing projections, should see an increase of 15% over the next three years in visitor numbers, bringing the total tourist head count up to 8.9 million by 2016. “There’s certainly a mood around the country to sustain what The Gathering did and I expect to see it continue into 2014.” The hotel and catering business has seen the positive effects of the year’s activity too, with Tim Fenn, CEO of the Irish Hoteliers Federation commenting on the year’s activity: “2013 has been a good year for Irish tourism with many hotels and guesthouses reporting an increase in business over the last 12 months largely on foot of The Gathering and strong levels of growth in overseas visitors.” According to the IHF’s latest Quarterly Barometer (Dec 2013), 73% of hoteliers have seen an increase in overall business levels throughout the year while the vast majority (84%) say that they have a positive outlook for the next 12 months - nearly double the number who had a positive outlook this time last year (46%). However, the domestic market remains a concern with business levels struggling throughout the year and depressed consumer spending continuing to put significant pressure on hotels outside of the larger urban areas and main holiday hotspots.

however and, although figures for 2013 are not yet available, numbers were already up in 2012 (from 58% to 62%) and the expectation is for an even more significant rise in 2013. Confidence in the hotel sector is certainly up. According to the IHF’s latest barometer, almost half of hotels and guesthouses (48%) say they plan to take on additional staff in 2014 “In terms of competitiveness, the Government’s decision to retain the 9% VAT rate will continue to help when marketing Ireland abroad as a tourism destination,” says Mr Fenn. “This measure, combined with increased air access through the scrapping of the air travel tax, will enable us to attract a greater share of overseas visitors in 2014 and beyond. This is directly feeding into increased confidence on the ground with over 62% of hoteliers planning to increase their investment in marketing next year.” Mr Fenn continued by saying that many


☞ 23


Tim Fenn, Irish Hoteliers Federation CEO

hotels were planning to invest to some extent over the next year as part of longerterm investment plans. “A significant amount of this will be funded by through retained profits, however, there is a need for banks to play a greater role by providing viable hotels with ongoing access to credit to fund product investment.” There was plenty of welcome too, in the restaurant sector, with RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins heaping praise on the successful implementation of the Gathering plan: “On the ground, we’ve seen growth from mainland Europe and the United States in particular that’s quite evident,” notes Mr Cummins. “Tourism Ireland have to be complimented in their role in developing new routes into Ireland. When you develop route access into the country, it gives you a platform to sell space through to tour operators to a particular destination. If you don’t have access, you don’t have growth in an island market.” The increased number of routes has helped increase the number of visitors, which in turn leads to more access routes and yet more growth in turn. The number of airline seats between the US and Ireland increase by some 26% in the peak season in 2013. Additional air routes are on the cards for 2014, with new links to mainland Europe, Great Britain, USA and Canada and a total of three new sea routes from Britain and France. Mr Cummins is of the opinion that growth



targets should be stronger than the ones published, suggesting that “we should be targeting double-digit growth over the next 12-24 months”. In terms of readiness for whatever growth is to come over the next few years, the RAI chief executive points out that one of the crucial issues remaining unaddressed is that of the shortage of chefs in the country: “Everybody that’s involved in the tourism industry and the restaurant industry are continuing to say that there’s a shortage of chefs in the country… This problem should have been addressed 18 months ago when we first said it. Now the penny has dropped that this is a major issue, so we’d welcome a task force on it and we need all the agencies talking to each other and be pro-business about it.” On another front, an area where the Irish tourism industry emerged as real worldbeaters was that of its use of online communication technology to get its message across effectively. The Digital Tourism Brand Index ranked Tourism Ireland top amongst 45 national tourism organisations in Europe for their use of Facebook (1.9 million fans) and their use of YouTube (10 million video views) and third in their use of Twitter. One of the key lessons that seems to have emerged from the experience of The Gathering is that if you allow your tourism industry to lead from the bottom up, then you have a whole army on the move, motivated by a common clear purpose. One of the criticisms that has often been levelled at the Irish tourism industry is that is a top-heavy movement led by comfortable suits in secure state jobs rather than community led. Comparisons have been drawn when compared with the very strongly community-rooted world-beating tourism industry in France, for example. The Gathering, in all its deceptive simplicity, gave all the tourism players up and down the country a clear purpose and a sense of ownership of the tourism industry that they didn’t have heretofore. In this, it has set a precedent that, one hopes, will be followed in the years to come. The lesson seems to have been learned all right, going by what the tourism chiefs are saying. In fact, Shaun Quinn is at pains to point out that this was not any evolutionary accident, but rather a mainstay of the thinking behind The Gathering from the very start: “From the time we first designed it some years ago, it was always meant to be primarily a bottom-up approach and it worked really really well... We learned a lot even from marketing in social media about how to communicate with consumers and we would have passed a lot of those learnings on to Tourism Ireland. “It has certainly enhanced our view about how tourism should be enhanced and delivered on the ground and even how it should be promoted.”


forTHOUGHT Thanks to our Members –

We are battling constantly with local authorities to bring down their charges for restaurants, and with the government to provide incentives to employ people. Local Elections

A message from Padraic Óg Gallagher, RAI President As we head in to 2014, like any businesses, restaurants have seen their ups and downs throughout the year but I think 2013 will be looked back on with a certain amount of nostalgia. This year, the industry- every food business in the country- lobbied successfully for the retention of the special rate of VAT at 9% in the Budget. Here in the Restaurants Association of Ireland, we were proud to spearhead and facilitate such a powerful lobbying campaign that finally caused our leaders to listen to their constituents; the business owners who provide employment for 64,000 people in this country at a time in our nation’s history when unemployment is rife. The involvement of all of our members, non-members, Trade Partners and concerned consumers made all the difference to the Keep VAT at 9% lobbying campaign. Without the restaurateurs who put up posters and stickers, talked to TDs in constituency offices and took part in the virtual flashmob on Twitter, nobody would have noticed the pressure our industry is under. Instead, the issue of the 9% VAT was discussed widely, both in mainstream and social media. People took notice of our campaign, and for that, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved, and thank you all for the work that you do day in, day out for the good of our industry. The Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards, the biggest restaurant awards in the country, have gone from strength to strength since their inception five years ago. Over 10,000 nominations were received, well in excess of previous years, and over 2,000 restaurateurs, staff and industry players attended the awards ceremonies around the country. The strength of the Santa Rita LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards reflects the strength of the industry, and we are glad to facilitate a celebration of your hard work.

will take place in May 2014 and the association will be putting together a manifesto to present to local candidates. Another problem that has been highlighted to us for the past number of years was the shortage of chefs in the country. After over 18 months of lobbying, this year saw the realisation of our efforts and the first ever Restaurant Association of Ireland Professional Cookery Programme was launched in Dublin, with more to be rolled out in Galway and Limerick in the New Year. The RAI only has strength in numbers, and we are delighted to say that in 2013 we exceeded our target of 1,000 members. To all our new members, welcome on board and we look forward to working with you in the future. To our existing members, thank you for your years of loyalty and support in the work that we do on your behalf. Our work is funded 100% by our restaurant and trade members, and we always welcome input from our members as to how we can best represent you around the country. Don’t be afraid to get involved at one of our nine branch meetings, and any questions you may have will be happily answered by our team in the office.

While this past year may have been tough for many of you reading For our AGM and Conference last April, we undertook a survey this, it may be a comfort to know that many people like yourselves of our members to better understand the challenges you are see the benefit of joining together for the common good. Thank facing, and to draw public attention to those challenges. Ireland is you all for allowing us to carry out vital work on your behalf. already the most expensive country in Europe to run a restaurant, with water charges, waste charges and staff costs accounting On behalf of Adrian and the office team I hope you and your for vast amounts of their expenditure. The top two issues facing families had a great Christmas, and that the New Year will bring Restaurants Association Ireland restaurateurs facing into of 2014 are rising wage costs and local success, and even more hope. 11 authority Bridge Court rates.– Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224 Official Sponsor of




restaurants association of ireland LAUNCH 2014 EUROPEAN ELECTION MANIFESTO The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) recently supported the Manifesto launched by HOTREC, the representative body of all of the hotels, restaurants and cafés in Europe. The European representative body, which brings together 44 national associations in 27 countries, has highlighted 16 priorities which they feel should be supported by candidates to the European elections for the next EU legislative term (2014-2019). Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, commented positively on the details of the Manifesto launched today, “Not only is the Tourism and Hospitality industries vital to Europe’s growth and employment, but it is these very industries that keep Ireland alive. By supporting this Manifesto, European Election Candidates are supporting job creation and employment in the tourism and hospitality sector.” “The restaurant sector employs 64,000 people (1 in 4 tourism jobs) and contributes a total of €2 billion to the Irish economy each year. On a European scale, more than 10 million people are employed in the Hospitality Industry, ultimately contributing €460 billion to the economy.” The priorities promoted by the European Hospitality sector for 2014-2019 include the creation of an Intergroup on Tourism in the European Parliament, the promotion of smarter

regulation, the facilitation of tourism SME’s funding, the strict application of the subsidiary principle, the facilitation of visa procurement, a more balanced approach to data protection, EU food policy or fairer competition on the online tourism distribution market, among other equally important EU policy issues. Cummins continued “As a representative body for the Irish Restaurant Industry, we understand the importance of this sector to the overall economy and see the need to put tourism at the centre of European economic policy.” For full details on the manifesto visit

Fine Dine at Mine 2014


All-Ireland Schools Cookery Competition The Restaurants Association of Ireland is delighted to announce the partnership with St. Angela’s College in delivering the Fine Dine at Mine All-Island Cookery Competition 2014. The Fine Dine at Mine cookery competition is open to all students in post-primary schools on the island of Ireland and Youthreach Centres in the Republic of Ireland. The competition gives students an opportunity to create tasty, healthy and affordable restaurant meals at home.  Students are asked to submit their favourite

A total of 32 (16 Junior and 16 Senior) entries will be selected to go forward to the All-Island Final based on the entries submitted. At this stage of the competition, each finalist will be assigned a Restaurants Association of Ireland Member Chef to mentor them for the final cook off. For further information on the competition please go to

RAI Priorities for 2014 Lobbying Campaigns l l

Excise Duty Against the restoration of the Joint Labour Commit tees

Education & Training l RAI will apply for further funding for Chef Training, Kitchen Management and one day courses for Restaurant/Bar Staff and Restaurant Managers. l Establish an education Forum l  Create awareness of Culinary Arts & Hospitality as a career choice amongst secondary school students Official Sponsor of



restaurant meal (main course dish only) for TWO people.

GREAT PRIZES Including tablets, cookery school vouchers and equipment for schools

Local Election Manifesto – RAI will highlight restaurateurs local issues to candidates running for Council seats l Local Authority Rates l Rents l Water Charges l Waste Charges l Outdoor Seating l Grease Trap fees If you have any comments, suggestions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch – we are here to fight the corner on behalf of the restaurant, catering and hospitality industries and again, without your support, this would not be possible. Tel: 01-6779901 or e-mail Patrons:


NEW MEMBERS Restaurant Name



The Oarsman


Harrison's Bar and Restaurant

Co. Sligo

The Blackboard Bistro

Dublin 2

The Sage Café



Dublin 2

Annamar's Restaurant

Co. Kildare

The Wier Bistro

Co. Cork

The Mason's Apron

Co. Cavan

The Merrion Inn

Dublin 4

Lishh Café

Co. Cork

Rosie O'Grady's

Dublin 6 W

Little India

Co. Waterford

Boteco Brazil

Dublin 7

The Roadhouse

Co. Westmeath

Hickey's Bakery & Cafe

Co. Tipperary

The River Café

Co. Louth

Ballinwillin House

Co. Cork

The Quay Street Kitchen

Co. Galway

Café Goa

Co . Waterford

Bite Of Life

Dublin 8

The Squealing Pig

Co. Monaghan

The Merry Ploughboy

Dublin 16

Becky Morgan's

Dublin 2

Smyth & Gray

Dublin 2

Brimstone Steakhouse


Bleachfield Bistro

Co Kerry

Old Stand Gallery

Co. Limerick

Botanic House Bar And Grill

Dublin 9

Balrothery Inn

Co. Dublin

Marie Louise Tea Rooms

Co. Dublin

The Abbey Hotel Roscommon

Co. Roscommon

Springfield Hotel

Co. Kildare

The Boatyard

Co. Kerry

Champagne Bar Restaurant

Co. Kildare

The White Pheasant

Co. Wicklow

Brasserie @ The Marker Hotel

Dublin 2

The Pigs Ear

Dublin 2





Phone Number

Natures Oils

Co Kilkenny

01 - 2543500


Co. Cork

01 - 8295800

Display Specialists Ltd

Co. Dublin


Costa Systems

Co. Meath


Official Sponsor of



NEW MEMBERS Restaurant Name



Courtyard Café @ Walton Court

Co. Cork

The Stuffed Olive

Co. Cork

Lemon Leaf Café

Co. Cork

Campbell's Lounge

Co. Mayo

Mexico To Rome

Dublin 2

The Venice Restaurant

Co. Galway

The Arch Bistro

Dublin 14

Strasbourg Goose Restaurant

Co. Cork

Man Friday Restaurant

Co. Cork

Season's Restaurant

Co. Mayo

Mulroys Pub

Co. Mayo

Tulsi Restaurant

Co. Galway

Jack Whites Restaurant

Co. Wicklow

The Lake Room Restaurant @

Co. Kerry

Pearl's Place

Co. Donegal

The Mallard Restaurant

Co. Limerick

The Magpie Inn

Co. Dublin

Sheridans Bar & Restaurant

Co. Galway

Romany Stone

Co. Wicklow

Inishbofin House Hotel

Co. Galway


Co. Donegal

Forest Avenue

Dublin 4

The Vintage Kitchen

Dublin 2

Trade Winds

Co. Cork

The Cosy Restaurant

Co. Mayo


Co. Louth

Zao Fine Asian Restaurant

Dublin 9


Dublin 4

Trax Brasserie

Co. Kildare

White Horses Restaurant

Co. Waterford

Parklanes Bar & Restaurant

Co. Mayo


Dublin 6W

Le Bouchon Restaurant

Co. Galway

Little India The Ivy

Co. Donegal


Co. Dublin


Co. Galway

Café Cupcake Parkway


Medley By Andrew Rudd

Dublin 2


Dublin 2

Pepper Brasserie and Grill

Dublin 3

Zweton Restaurant

Co. Limerick

Superior Bistro

Co. Meath

Peking Restaurant Kingscourt

Co. Cavan

Peking Inn Noodle Bar

Co. Cavan

Peking Inn Restaurant Carrickmacross

Co. Monoghan

Town Bar & Grill

Dublin 2

The Snug

Co. Cork

Gleesons Of Booterstown

Co. Dublin

Restaurants Association of Ireland


11 Bridge Court – Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224


Official Sponsor of





Suppliers of Contract Furniture, Pub Memorabilia and Architectural Salvage

Specialists in Bespoke Metal Solutions • Structural & Industrial Steel • Sheet Metal • Staircases & Balustrades • Shop Fitting Components

Pleased to be associated with McCue Interior Fit Out Solutions T 028 9070 1021 ROI (048) F 028 9079 3189 ROI (048) E W Dill Road, Castlereagh Industrial Estate, Belfast BT6 9DB


60 years transforming

space into place

MCCUE are specialists in refurbishment, fitting out and joinery manufacture for a wide variety of sectors, including Hospitality and Leisure, Retail, Corporate and Financial and Health & Beauty, delivering projects to the highest quality across Ireland, Great Britain and more recently mainland Europe. Managing Director Les McCracken explains to us why McCue are one of the best at what they do. “We take time to know our customers, the things that matter to them and take pride in bringing forward new ideas that turn promising spaces into distinctive, interesting places, on time and to budget. We are a fit-out company which thrives on a collaborative and entrepreneurial approach with our customers. We’re not afraid to do things differently, and aspire to excellence in the smallest of details. That’s why our peers and clients across our markets have consistently rewarded us with the highest honours in our industry.” 2014 celebrates McCue’s sixtieth year in business and to celebrate they have launched an exciting re-fresh to their original brand, which has seen a new



website and promotional material. The key message is ‘Transforming Space into Place’, complimenting and emphasising their work from an end-users point of view. Les stated, “Whether they are restaurateurs, hoteliers or retailers, our clients aim is to ensure potential customers visit their premises; and the message ‘Transforming Space into Place’ highlights that at the end of the day, the work we do is ‘all’ about the customer. McCue have been awarded a number of accolades and most recently at The Irish Times Fit-Out Awards. “In 2013, we were presented with ‘Fit-Out Project of the Year - International’ for our work on Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill at The Savoy Hotel in


London. This followed our success in 2012, when we were crowned ‘Overall Contractor of the Year’ and ‘Overall Project of the Year’ for our work on Easons in Belfast. “Our success in delivering The Savoy project has led to further work within the Premium Hospitality Sector in London, namely Claridge’s and The Berkeley Hotel, and we are currently working in a newly constructed hotel in Mayfair, London called The Beaumont.” McCue’s client list includes many well known national and global brands including Urban Outfitters, GANT, Peter Mark, Superquinn, Donnybrook Fair and DW Sports Fitness. McCue have delivered a number of entertainment venues in and around Dublin; The VCC for example, which is a well-known private cocktail bar in the heart of Temple Bar. They have also built The Everleigh Garden Nightclub on Harcourt Street

and more recently The Liquor Rooms Bar on Wellington Quay, various works in The Clarence Hotel, Cleaver East Restaurant on East Essex Street and the plush Madison Nightclub on Wicklow Street. In Belfast, recently completed projects include The Harp Bar and The Albany Restaurant. “We have carried out several projects in hotels across Ireland over the years. In recent times, things have been slow in the hotel industry but there are signs of improvement and the outlook is now more positive. A message to the hotels of Ireland who have been quiet in recent years but want to look at their offering is ‘we are here and open for business’. Our qualifications come second to none. We want to demonstrate that we are very capable of doing anything from a budget hotel to a top five star hotel like London’s Savoy.” Aileen Galvin, Head of Marketing & Communications at Press Up Entertainment Group who represents the VCC, Everleigh Gardens and a number of other high-end venues said, “We work with McCue on key fit out projects every year and they never fail to deliver a high specification, fully completed job. We usually put them under incredibly pressurised time constraints, our builds can be demanding, but McCue always come up with the goods on time and on budget. It’s great to work with skilled craftsmen who know the business inside out and who take genuine pride in their work. Their guidance has steered us right on many occasions and we rely on them repeatedly when it comes to crucial on-site decisions. They are always willing to go the extra mile to bring our concepts and designs to life. You can’t ask for more than that.” Recent economic circumstances have postponed many capital projects within the Irish hospitality sector, but with that situation now beginning to improve, there is a much better feeling. “I’m happy to say that the hospitality market in Ireland is beginning to show signs of a recovery and is starting to reinvest in the product.” says Les. “I see growth happening year after year for the next couple of years. This turnaround has been fuelled by necessity, a necessity to get back into business. The Irish market has always been hungry enough to compete internationally as a tourist destination and I believe it is one of the best. There is a good air of confidence today and let’s hope it continues.”




10 vital steps to online health in 2014 Dr. Des O’Mahony, CEO, Bookassist Though travel demand in Europe stagnated during the global recession, the pace of technological innovation continued unabated. For hotels to be successful they increasingly need to be where their customers are or risk becoming irrelevant. The many technical advancements have radically changed the overall travel environment and hotels need to catch up fast. That said, the opportunity to bring the customer closer through digitalisation has never been better. So here’s what Bookassist thinks hotels need to do to shape up in 2014. Use OTAs - don’t let them use you


Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are not the enemy! They are a significant advantage provided you use them properly, so that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Smart Hotels use OTAs to provide them with reach into markets they could not themselves afford to go to. Smart hotels take advantage of the billboard advertising effect that OTAs offer. Smart hotels use OTAs to help them sell in the off peak. Smart hotels use OTAs to sell the difficultto-shift room types only. Smart hotels do not treat all OTAs the same and implement technology that helps them differentiate and manage these varied channels. Not-so-smart hotels give OTAs full inventory, get locked into allocations, or forget to block out dates that they could easily sell directly themselves. Many give OTAs their best offers and packages rather than reserving these for direct customers. Still more allow OTAs to undercut their own website on rate. So think before you sign up to or renew an OTA agreement and make sure that your hotel is the smart one. Or use a tool like Bookassist’s Distribution Manager to intelligently and automatically close off more expensive channels as availability tightens. Go mobile or it’s game over


The year-on-year growth in the mobile and tablet device categories is staggering, while the desktop continues to lose. According to Forbes, 87% of all connected devices with be smartphones or tablets in 2017.



Notably in Q3/2013, visitors to desktop hotel websites declined by 17% year on year, but increased by nearly 85% on mobile. In the same period desktop bookings declined by nearly 6% while increasing by over 57% via tablet and more than 86% via mobile. Statistics aside, it’s quite simple. Adapt to mobile or lose. Period. Simply having a responsive website is not good enough. Consumers behave differently depending on the device they are using so hotels must treat desktop, mobile and tablet as three separate channels. Bookassist’s award-winning Site Builder team is at the forefront of tackling this triple-platform approach. Make sure you get expert advice on this key area and invest accordingly. Provide for your “connected” guest or risk pushing them elsewhere


The hotel experience for many guests includes the digital experience, the ability to seamlessly and simultaneously interconnect their laptop, tablet and smartphone. Failing to deliver on this will only encourage some guests to check in elsewhere and will result in bad reviews. For the important millennial segment the lack of free wifi together with poor bandwidth are the greatest disincentives to booking a property. You can hardly expect guests to be satisfied when they receive inferior wifi than they themselves get at home. This service needs to be free, without exception. Guests are increasingly connected, use multiple devices, and are self-entertaining, streaming their own movies and music. Invest now in scalable technology to ensure you can deliver connectivity and bandwidth, and can adapt quickly as technology improves. Protect your most valuable asset - your guest


With the huge increase in online business hotels risk destroying the brand they have carefully built by failing to protect their most valuable asset - their guest! Customer data protection is of paramount importance. Make sure that your guest wifi system is fully secure, isolated form your main data systems, and does not leave you or your guests vulnerable to outside snooping. As an absolute basic ensure that the Booking Engine you are using is PCI DSS compliant. PCI DSS compliance gives you peace of mind that your suppliers know what they are doing in accordance with certified best practice. Data breaches are serious events that can destroy your business overnight. In light of recent data breaches consumers are, rightly, much more conscious of the online fraud threat. Your guests place their trust in you with every interaction they have with your hotel, they expect you to look after their data. A breach of this trust could have devastating consequences. Meta search - use the third way


Metasearch is a new breed of “hybrid” digital marketing formats and initiatives, part of a new digital advertising trend in the hospitality industry as a result of the convergence of hotel online distribution and hotel online marketing. It sits in between the classic two approaches online - direct via your website and indirect via OTAs. Meta search channels offer a previously unavailable option for hotels to have a much stronger presence in this process, sending additional customers to the direct route. Meta search advertising programs include: Google Hotel Finder Meta Search

ONLINE MARKETING (Google Hotel Finder, Google Maps, Google SERPs, etc), TripAdvisor TripConnect Meta Search, and others. For hoteliers, meta search marketing is a huge potential revenue generator and a way to shift share from the OTAs to the property website. In 2013 Bookassist integrated its booking systems with Google Hotel Finder and TripAdvisor’s TripConnect. integration will be launched in January 2014. Get real. It’s margin that counts, not revenue


We often hear from hotels that they are trying to grow revenue, but at what cost? The key issue is to grow margin, and incentivising your team to maximise margin is where you need to be. Growing revenue is easy - just give 100% of your stock to OTAs! But what will this do? It will increase your cost of sale substantially. By focusing on how you can redistribute your stock so that as much as possible is sold direct, you are reducing your cost of sale and maximising margin for the same revenue. Moving just one booking per day from an expensive OTA to direct can net you up to €50 in extra cash - for the same room sold, to the same guest, at the same headline cost. Do this every day for a year, and you net almost €20K more in cash! Remember, there is often much more profit gained by moving a sale from indirect to direct than there is by changing the price you are selling at. So look closely at margin in 2014, and don’t get fixated on revenue alone. Invest in your brand


Hotels simply don’t invest enough in their own brand. PPC, Website, Mobile, Social Media - there is certainly a lot to do, but that’s no excuse for not doing it. For PPC advertising, the key issue to remember is that return on spend should be monitored and continually optimised. At Bookassist, we track return on investment by integrating the booking engine with Google Analytics Ecommerce, so we can see what every cent spent returns. As long as your return, adjusted for margin, outstrips your spend, then you should continue to invest. Putting a notional budget (read: limit) on PPC spend, without looking at the return, is an old-fashioned marketing approach that will cost you, not save you. Spend while you can profit, no limits. For social media, it is not about monetisation, but is really about brand building through engagement. Looking to make a measurable return here is a mistake. For example, recent changes on Facebook have made the social network more relevant to hotels as a marketing tool. Graph Search, for instance, is like a search engine within a user’s friend network, where you can search for hotels your friends recommend. This can be far more relevant than anonymous reviews on TripAdvisor, so make sure your Facebook presence is a priority for you. Engage engage engage


It’s not just about brand communication but brand conversation. Traditional owned and paid content is rapidly losing value as hotel marketing professionals begin to see the advantage of effective earned content marketing such as usergenerated reviews, blogs, social media, newsletters, webinars etc. Social Media is taking the whole brand experience way further. It is absolutely necessary for hotels to have a presence on social media since there is talk about your hotel on these platforms whether you are participating or not and whether you like it or not. Social media can carry your brand influence way beyond the intended target and outside of your control. In order to adapt to the new market conditions stimulated by the growth of social media hotels need to start developing strategies around earned content. Like it or not your customers are influential shapers of your brand and you need to engage with them to jointly create and grow your brand. Start by providing exceptional guest experiences to increase positive earned content while at the same time generating regular pieces of content that can be easily shared across multiple channels to encourage engagement.

Online reviews - rank is revenue


Online reviews are playing an increasingly central role in driving consumers’ purchasing behavior. Similar to word-ofmouth, consumers place high trust in the accuracy of online reviews. Recently Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration correlated higher TripAdvisor rankings with market share put simply, rank is revenue. There has been a big change in the past year in how the Google algorithm ranks websites. Google’s algorithm is placing increasing emphasis on user-generated content, such as reviews, weighing current content, social proof and author scores in their results ranking. With the stakes so high, it’s important for hotels to develop procedures for locating and responding to online reviews and to spend time improving their response plan for online reviews – especially those that place their business in a negative light. Consumers view your social media channels as an extension of your digital presence and expect you to respond to questions, comments and other inquiries they share there. Failing to do so is like deliberately ignoring a customer at reception. So setting up a process for monitoring your business’s social media pages is key too. Go for the boomerang effect!


Whether an OTA brings you the booking or you get it directly it is up to you, the hotel, to take the necessary steps to encourage repeat stays. Your guest will of course continue to book via OTAs unless you offer as easy a user experience as they do, or offer the kind of incentives they use. It’s up to you to rise to the challenge, to do it as well as if not better than the OTAs. You will always have the advantage as the guest ultimately stays with you but whether you gain from this advantage is entirely up to you.

Conclusion Online in 2014 is a massive opportunity, but requires hard work. Focusing your business online will pay huge dividends in brand reach and in margin if you are prepared to take it seriously. Dr Des O’Mahony is CEO and Co-founder of Bookassist (, the strategy and online technology provider for hotels and World’s Leading Booking Engine Technology Provider 2013 / 2012.




Delivering a quality project, safely and on time

Ma Nolan’s Bar, Cannes, France. Short listed for the 2013 International Design Award

The Bar Fitout Company specialise in both traditional and contemporary bar and restaurant fit-outs. The Bar Fitout Company is the renowned joinery division within David Flynn Limited, one of Ireland’s leading contractors, and specialises in the fitout of bars, nightclubs and restaurants on a worldwide basis. Offering both traditional and contemporary designs, The Bar Fitout Company can provide the complete turnkey package encompassing all elements of the design, manufacture and installation on site, or can work with the client’s existing architect and/or interior designer and solely provide a manufacture, installation and commissioning service. The Bar Fitout Company design service is delivered by specialist design partners who work internationally to deliver award winning venues. With over 27 years of experience and an extensive knowledge of all aspects of design, manufacture and specialist fitouts, The Bar Fitout Company guarantees project completion ahead of a specific opening date and a superior finish to the venue.



The Bar Fitout Company’s complete service includes all elements of the supply and installation of joinery, counters, bars, wall panelling, doors, screens - all of which are fabricated in their own first class joinery in Waterford. The company also organises and oversees all of the services installation, commercial kitchen fit-out, structural work and decoration, so all aspects of the project are fully planned and coordinated to ensure a seamless finish and fulfilment of their commitment to every client in “Delivering a Quality Project, Safely and On Time.”

Services • Budget and Procurement • Cost Management • Project Management • Bespoke Joinery • In-house Manufacture • Delivery On Time • Fire Certification • Site Surveying Also available • Design Concepts • Complete Design Service • 3D Visualisation etc.

Quality and Dependability The Bar Fitout Company is synonymous with quality and dependability having successfully delivered numerous projects throughout Ireland and a number of projects in the South of France. They are also currently developing two projects for a major bar chain in New York which are due on site in the coming months. Unlike many other fitout companies in the industry, The Bar Fitout Company manufactures all of the bar and fit-out items in their own 40,000 sq. ft. modern factory and this gives ultimate control over the quality and delivery to guarantee deadlines.

FIT-OUTS All work is undertaken by genuine craftsmen and carried out to the highest quality standards, utilising a combination of traditonal and modern techniques in their own fully equipped workshop. Teamwork lies at the heart of what The Fitout Company offers. All staff work very closely with customers, professional teams and supply chains to develop innovative and value adding solutions for clients. Relationships with clients have been a central key to The Bar Fitout Company’s success, and with the current economic climate are now more important to the company than ever before. The “hassle free” nature of the design and build services is very appealing to customers. Being in the business for over 27 years means that the company knows the importance of good service. Whether the project is the client’s first venture, or part of a chain of pubs or restaurants, The Bar Fitout Company can offer the complete package.

Unlike many other “bar fit-out” companies in the industry The Bar Fitout Company manufacture all of the bar and fit-out items in their own 40,000 sq. ft. modern factory, as this gives ultimate control over the quality of the finished product as well as ensuring they always deliver on time! The company’s highly skilled craftsmen source materials from sustainable sources worldwide and the fact that they manufacture everything in-house ensures that the quality of the finish is never compromised. Areas of Expertise The Bar Fitout Company offers cost effective solutions as all aspects of a project are controlled in-house which provides best value for the client. The company is equipped to handle the most complex and challenging assignments with guaranteed on time delivery. Attention to detail is paramount in every project, big or small. The Bar Fitout Company specialises in coordinating all elements of the project through their experienced management team and regularly work closely with architects and interior designers to streamline the delivery of projects, as well as offering a complete design service if required. The company operates a partnering arrangement with a number of other specialist companies, enabling them to offer a wide range of additional services.

Further Information Tel: 051 374593




Overseas tourism to deliver €12.6 billion for economy Tourism Ireland launches ambitious 2014-16 plans Tourism Minister, Leo Varadkar, launched Tourism Ireland’s ambitious marketing plans recently. The plans will see us welcome 25.6 million overseas visitors to the island over the next three years, contributing some €12.6 billion to the economies, north and south. Building on recent successes and sustaining growth is at the heart of this ambitious three-year journey. Tourism Ireland will prioritise markets that offer the best return on investment in terms of holiday visitors and revenue, including North America and Mainland Europe. Ireland’s ‘best prospect’ visitors will be targeted more closely - with distinctive holiday experiences, events and

special offers tailored to their interests and designed to trigger their ‘must go now’ impulses. Tourism Ireland will get potential visitors talking about Ireland among their colleagues and friends and then sharing those conversations online - by harnessing the growing power of social media, as well as digital and traditional channels, to deliver regular ‘new news’ about Ireland. 2014 will be another exciting year for tourism. Major events like Limerick City of Culture, the ‘Grande Partenza’ or ‘Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia, and the Croke Park Classic will be just some of the important ‘hooks’ to capture consumer and media attention overseas. Promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s first longdistance touring route stretching all the way from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, will be a major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotions in 2014.

Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland; Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2014-16 marketing plans.

Rachael Moylett, Downhill House Hotel; Helen Wycherley, Celtic Ross Hotel; Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland; Tina Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel; and Úna Young, Select Hotels of Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2014-2016 marketing plans.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland; Liam Anthony Griffin, Monart Destination Spa, Enniscorthy; Bettie Marie Burger-Smit, Brandon House Hotel, New Ross; and Gary Breen, Fáilte Ireland, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2014-2016 marketing plans.

Commenting on the plans, Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO, said: “In 2014, we will place a major focus on the Wild Atlantic Way. This exciting new tourism experience will showcase the spectacular scenery and unique culture of the west coast. We believe it will have tremendous appeal in our markets around the world. We will promote key events including Limerick City of Culture, the ‘Grande Partenza’ of the Giro d’Italia and the Croke Park Classic, to encourage prospective travellers to ‘book now’. We will also capitalise on important access developments maximising the promotion of new and existing flights and ferry sailings to continue to grow overseas tourism to Ireland.”

Ireland ‘Meets’ London’s West End Thirty-six tourism enterprises from around Ireland travelled to London, to take part in a B2B workshop and networking event, organised by Tourism Ireland. At the event, they met, and did business with, senior representatives from 45 of the top British conference and meetings organisers. The event proved to be a valuable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to showcase their product and to communicate what is unique about Ireland as a world-class destination for doing business. It was also an excellent opportunity for Tourism Ireland to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way to the top-level decisionmakers who attended from the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector around Britain. L–R: Fiona Whitehead, Creative Travel & Event Management (based in Middlesex); Mary Rose Hickey, Killarney Hotels; Michelle Murphy, Kerry Convention Bureau; and David Boyce, Tourism Ireland, at Tourism Ireland’s B2B workshop in London.




One in a million - our 1,000,000th American visitor lands in Ireland The 1,000,000th American visitor to Ireland in 2013 - Leonie Higgins - arrived in Dublin in mid-December. She flew in from JFK with her husband Jim. To mark the milestone occasion, Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus offered the couple two return tickets just before they left New York for Dublin - for a future visit to Ireland. Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome the 1,000,000th American visitor to Ireland this year. 2013 has been a record year for American visitors to Ireland - even surpassing our previous best year of 2007. This year, Ireland welcomed over one million Americans, spending US$1 billion. Tourism Ireland rolled out our new strategy - Make Ireland Jump Out - throughout 2013, targeting new audiences with strong potential for growth through a very extensive programme of promotions. There is no doubt that The Gathering has played an important part in helping to boost visitor numbers from the US - as we reached out to the almost 40 million Americans of Irish ancestry, as well as many others who feel Irish in spirit.”

Walkers tourism promotion targets millions of Britons Tourism Ireland and Heritage Island teamed up with Britain’s number one grocery brand Walkers Crisps - to boost late-season travel from Britain. In a nationwide campaign, Tourism Ireland’s logo appeared on a massive 145 million multi-packs of Walter Crisps and on their website. The promotion encouraged GB consumers to enter a fun competition on the Walkers website, called ‘Gary’s Great Ingredient Hunt’, for a chance to win a cash prize, as well as discounted days out in Ireland, which included special two-for-the-price-of-one admissions to 50 Heritage Island visitor attractions across Ireland. Walkers Crisps sell a massive 10 million items per day across Britain and, as well as being the top grocery brand, is the third most popular overall brand among British 16- to 34-year-olds - so this promotion was an ideal fit with Tourism Ireland’s key target, the ‘Social Energisers’ group in GB. Following an extensive review of the British market last year, Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an ambitious new strategy throughout 2013, called ‘GB - Path to Growth’. The organisation is targeting several new audiences with strong potential for growth - including a younger, fun-loving audience looking for an exciting time in a vibrant destination, called ‘Social Energisers’.

The 1,000,000th American visitor to Ireland, Leonie Higgins, and her husband Jim (centre); with Brian Desmond, Aer Lingus Duty Manager, JFK, and Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President, US and Canada.

IHI awards mark positive year for tourism

The Irish Hospitality Institute Founders’ Banquet took place recently at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin where the Hospitality Management Awards 2013 were presented by Nicky Logue, IHI President. Our picture shows Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO (second left), who was enrolled into the College of Honorary Fellows.

Also at the IHI Awards, Marjorie Farrelly, Tourism Ireland (right), was awarded “Hospitality Manager of the Year 2013 - Continuous Professional Development”.



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Ambitious growth plans at Silverhill

In our last edition we spoke to Head of Sales, Barry Cullen, at Silver Hill Farm where he talked us through their ambitious growth plans. This time we’re talking to Jennifer Eustace, New Product Development Manager, taking a closer look at their newest product launches and the increasing usage of duck on both the restaurant scene and in home cooking. The success of Silver Hill Foods lies in the unique Silver Hill Hybrid duck - a breed exclusive to them, which has been continually developed over the years to produce a duck that is full of flavour, succulent, tender and consistent in its quality. This has led to number of awards over the past few years, most recently, in 2013; they picked up 3 gold stars for Garlic & Black Pepper Fillets as well as one gold star for their Silver Hill Peking Duck and Crispy Duck and pancake in the Great Taste Awards. Additions to the Range The company has embarked on a series of new product launches over the last few months. These launches were timed to coincide with the Christmas party season, as all new products were made available from December onwards. The new product range has been packaged and marketed in line with their recent re-brand and includes flavoured raw duck legs: maple and mustard; smoked spice and garlic and black pepper and Aromatic-cooked duck wings. According to Jennifer, the lower price points for duck legs and wings have appealed to budget-conscious shoppers. “Whilst our fillets sell well, the legs and wings are proving popular now -the wings are larger and more flavoursome and offer a tasty alternative to chicken”. Silver Hill also offers a range of sauces and rubs for marinades. “These encourage people to try new ideas, and all of them can be used with meats other than duck so make a handy store cupboard staple” For those wishing to achieve that crispy roast potato or chip, their hugely popular duck fat is now available to purchase also: “Duck fat is very versatile and can be used more than once. It’s also a healthier option as it has lower cholesterol” Duck -an everyday option As a nation, we’ve certainly come a long way from the 1980s Duck a l’Orange days. According to Jenny, consumer tastes are expanding and changing to incorporate more recipes and uses for duck. She personally extols the use of minced duck, “it keeps really well, and for longer than other poultry and is ideal for duck meatballs or pasta dishes” As duck becomes widely available in restaurants and supermarkets, this

versatility is in evidence. With most of the main supermarket chains now featuring printed chef recipes alongside their meats and poultry, consumers are encouraged to vary their home cooking and experiment further. Jenny is encouraged by the take-up in terms of sales for home-cooking purposes: “The more it’s out there, the less fear there is amongst consumers and home cooks to give it a try.” Duck has always worked well in Asian recipes, for example in aromatic crispy duck. According to Jennifer, in the UK 98% of the top restaurants use Silver Hill Head on Duck. A huge accolade for the company, this product was recently featured on Heston Blumenthal’s ‘In search of Perfection’ TV show where he was looking for the perfect Peking Duck. Aside from its use in Asian cooking, leading chefs are championing duck as more of an everyday option, highlighting creative ways to cook with it. For example, Jamie Oliver’s duck lasagne and Donal Skehan’s festive orange and mint crispy duck rolls. Keen to build on this, Silver Hill offers consumers the opportunity to contact their development team directly for advice on menu ideas. Building Local Communities Social Media plays an increasingly key role in both promoting the brand and building the Silver Hill community online. Their Facebook page now boasts over 6100 likes with a Twitter following of over 1190. Silver Hill Foods is a renowned supporter of the local community and issues regular supportive tweets and posts promoting local food initiatives. This community spirit is also evident in their support of local producers and artisans, whose wares are available in their Farm Shop. Silver Hill’s involvement in the community allotment continues to flourish. Located directly across from their Farm Shop, there are now school children from 6 different schools involved in learning how to grow their own produce, all under the expert guidance of the Farm Shop staff. A finalist in the export category in the recent Bord Bia Food and Drink Awards 2013, Silver Hill continues to achieve market growth both at home and abroad. Its recent re-branding, product range expansion and continued focus on local sustainability collectively position the company to grow even further in 2014 and beyond.




Hotel couture Quality bespoke uniforms for the hospitality sector

When choosing where to give their business, customers seek much more than a place to sleep or eat; they want an experience. Since those providing the service are such a major part of this experience, it makes sense that presentation and grooming is a primary consideration. It isn’t enough for a property or business to have high-end décor or top quality food if the appearance of the staff doesn’t reflect and communicate the establishment’s values. We spoke to two people who know this better than anyone, and indeed work together to realise it: Grainne Kenny, Director of Irish bespoke uniform company Prestige Couture Uniforms and Maebh Breathnach, Director of HR for Dublin’s five-star The Shelbourne Hotel. Prestige Couture Uniforms, supplying bespoke garments in high-end fabrics, was launched in 2005, born from Grainne Kenny’s lifelong passion of fashion and art, as well as a set of chance circumstances. The idea for the business started when Grainne worked for a footwear company. She noticed a certain model would be ideal



for beauty salon wear and was encouraged by the company to see if there was a market for that type of shoe. “I began to go around various beauty salons,” she tells us. “They liked them, but the main information I was getting was they didn’t like their uniforms and did I know anybody who was doing anything different, and I think different was the key word, so that was really the start of it. I knew there was a market there.” Grainne then got in touch with Denise Assas, a French couturier, and it was from there Prestige Couture Uniforms began. “Denise’s main business for the last twenty-six years has been in high-end couture for celebrities, films, TV, and number of exclusive weddings in Ireland and the UK,” Grainne says. “She also has a facility where she can do patterns and grading and she’s fantastic at drawing. She’s a really creative artistic person and she just gets it.” In the beginning, most of the company’s business came from the beauty and spa industry, but the advent of the recession meant she and Denise began to look at different markets such as suits and front of house, and so it is the recession Grainne credits as a main driving force behind the growth of the business. So what exactly does Prestige Couture offer? Grainne tells us: “We can do hotels, restaurants, from waistcoats to housekeeper’s uniforms. I’m dealing with The Country House Hotel at the moment and they wanted a particular mandarin colour waistcoat with embroidery, as logo and branding is something else we would deal with. We supply shoes too as well as trimmings, details and accessories. We generally work with high-end five-star, but having said that we look at everything as a project and take individual needs on board.” Other clients included Dublin’s The Merrion Hotel and The Four Seasons and Sligo’s The Ice House, and of course the renowned Shelbourne Hotel, a coup a year and a half later Grainne is clearly still thrilled by.


“I actually approached them myself, because they were on my wish list”, she laughs. “I’m a big believer in karma and positive thinking so they asked me to send on what we do and a meeting was set up with Maebh. People are quite amazed that we have landed something as prestigious as the Shelbourne. There’s been a lot of work but it’s been wonderful and really exciting. They’ve been brilliant to work with.” Maebh Breathnach, as The Shelbourne’s Director of HR looks after all recruitment, training, development and grooming of staff, or associates as they are referred to in The Shelbourne, a number which is currently at 450. She began to work with Grainne and Denise when The Shelbourne wanted a new concept for its new spa’s uniforms; in Maebh’s words “something a bit different to make us unique.” From there Prestige Couture came on board to design and supply uniforms for the housekeepers, the night turndown staff, concierge and service, the

florist’s and The Saddle Room restaurant and The Horseshoe bar. “It’s important we look after our associates,” says Maebh. “Key to that is working with them in relation to grooming and presentation. If they’re not comfortable they aren’t going to portray what we want to portray. However, it’s also, about what is suitable for our hotel. The Shelbourne is a beautiful property, a five Red Star luxury hotel, and a certain style goes with that. There are expectations from our customers. When you come in you want to see that classical elegance. Our front-ofhouse converse with our guests on a daily basis; they are the face of The Shelbourne so for me grooming and presentation is number one.” Maebh says about her working relationship with Denise and Grainne: “Denise is French and has a certain style and flair and then myself and Grainne work well together because we have a certain image and belief in what would work for the hotel. I’ve worked with them on the design concept and the colour schemes so we work well together because we understood the property and what it needed”. “Maebh herself is very focused on style,” Grainne reciprocates. “She knows what suits different figures and she very aware of what would be the best for each department.” As well an ongoing relationship with The Shelbourne, Prestige Couture is at present broadening its ranges. Denise and Grainne are working on a bespoke ‘couture for business’ range where everything is manufactured to order, as well as a bespoke range exclusive to each individual. With such a high-end service one would expect the cost to be extremely high but Grainne is quick to point out that it isn’t as expensive as one might think. “Yes you’re paying for quality and the fact we will guarantee that we have sourced the very best fabrics,” she says, “but it’s not too expensive because we try and keep it as realistic as possible.” “You pay for what you get,” says Maebh. “But the right product and the right look is worth it and I think that’s why we work quite well together. We’ve got great feedback from our reviews lately and they come down to the experience our customers have with our associates on the floor.” 01 8928037




Register on-line to beat the queues at Food & bev Live!

Book now for the Champions Gala dinner To top off a great day of competition and interaction at Food & Bev Live on 11th February, IFSA is delighted to once more host The Champions Gala Dinner where the newly crowned National Champions will be honoured and where exhibitors and visitors can continue to meet, mix and join in the celebrations. The event will take place this year in the newly renovated Ballroom of the Red Cow Hotel. Contact Ciara Moffatt at or 01 8460020 to make your reservation for the dinner. Tickets are priced at €35.00 per head.

ARAMARK We are looking forward to a great show at Food & Bev Live, sponsored by Bunzl McLaughlin as preparations for the event enter the final stages. Register on-line now at to attend this one day must attend event featuring the 2014 National Barista Championships and National Cocktail Championships, the Euro-toques Live Stage, the Chef Choice Food Village along with the all new Foodpak Zone, Recruitment Hub, Sodexo Challenge and Hospitality Advice Clinic and Consultation Point. Not to mention the chance to meet with and avail of special offers from a wide range of top quality Foodservice exhibitors. We look forward to welcoming you to CityWest on 11th February.

Noel Recruitment Noel Recruitment is one of Ireland’s longest established r e c r u i t m e n t companies with over 20 years’ experience. With Noel Recruitment, our clients and candidates work with our team of highly experienced industry professionals where native sector knowledge is more important that recruitment experience when joining. We supply temporary, permanent and contract personnel, our clients range from the largest of Multi-Nationals to Healthcare Providers or National Music Venues to some of our best known SME’s. Our success is built on selecting professionals from within client industries and then providing ISO 9001:2000 standard training in recruitment best practice” Supporting our branch network Team, are our dedicated evening, night and weekend staff, ensuring our clients receive a 24/7 recruitment service. Group-wide we employ 70 Permanent Employees and upwards of 2,000 Temporary Personnel. Our Skills Team training company provides FETAC Level 6 programmes in Manual Handling, Safety Training, HACCP & Food Hygiene; even knife skills if appropriate to your area of employment. Our Committed team are immensely proud to have been awarded “Best In Practice for Hospitality and Events” by the National Recruitment Federation for 6 Years running from 2008 to as recent as November 2013. Why not join us at our Stand E11 at Food & Bev Live 2014, 11th February 2014, we can assist you with staffing requirements or maybe help you find that New Role. Please contact Noel Recruitment for your Staffing or Training Needs on 01 6779332 or email



ARAMARK is the country’s leading integrated services supplier of Food Services, Facilities management, property and environmental services. ARAMARK is one of the country’s largest US multinational employers with over 4,000 people throughout the island of Ireland, ARAMARK is headquartered in Dublin, with regional offices in Cork, Limerick and Belfast. ARAMARK Food Services division, which employs 3,000 people, has an annual turnover in the region of €130 million, serving over 250,000 meals every day. We deliver high quality dining experiences in Business and Industry employee restaurants, government locations, educational institutions such as schools and universities and healthcare organisations, including patient-focused food services as well as retail food solutions. We create dining solutions that are on trend, nutritious, healthy, high quality and cost efficient. Focusing on seasonality and local supply which benefits our clients (healthy foods; taste better), our economy (€60million spent on local goods and services annually).

In 2012, ‘Right Track’ a dedicated Health & Wellness programme was launched, aimed at promoting an awareness of healthy eating and work life balance. Working closely with ARAMARK’s Health & Wellness ambassador, Olympic Gold medallist Katie Taylor, highlighting to customers via a nutritionally backed traffic light style menu colour coding system, clear guidance on how to make healthier food choices. ARAMARK’s facilities management group, ARAMARK Workplace Solutions is the largest IFM (Integrated Facilities Management) and TFM (Total Facilities Management) service provider in Ireland. Using world-class QMS systems, we provide an integrated service including Facilities & Property Management, Environmental & Energy Services, Food Services and award winning Health & Safety Consultancy. In partnership with our clients, ARAMARK Workplace Solutions develops strategic facilities management planning and implementation programmes enabling businesses to function at their most efficient and effective levels.


Hugh Jordan Glassware The type of Glassware you choose for your bar or restaurant can have a huge impact on how you are perceived in the eyes of the customer. Many places now opt for trendy and quirky pieces that go far beyond the regular tumbler or cocktail glass in terms of style. Next time you’re out in the city, take a look around. How many bars are serving cocktails in jam jar glasses? How many restaurants have replaced the standard serving jug for something with a little more character? These types of items are what’s ‘in’ now, whether you like them or not. They are current. They are contemporary. They are more than likely going to be around for a while. If you wish to be perceived as any of these words then you might want to consider adopting the idea like so many have already. Hugh Jordan is the leading supplier of Non-Food Catering Supplies in the island of Ireland. We stock a huge range of products from Glassware, Crockery and Cutlery, all the way down to Cleaning Chemicals, Disposables and Kitchenware. We pride ourselves in being the first for new ideas and innovative products within the hospitality industry. We now stock a range of glass jars, traditional milk carafes’ and swing top bottles which are all available to buy either by phone at 01 862 7200 or online at Our Sales Reps around the country have a huge amount of experience in hospitality management and catering supplies and are there to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. If you need something in a hurry, we offer a next day delivery service on all orders made before 2pm that day. If your order amounts to over €100 we will deliver it to your door absolutely free.

Lowe Refrigeration secure official supplier status at the Food and Drink Expo, Birmingham, 2014 As the time approaches again of the events season Lowe Refrigeration has secured the official supplier title of refrigeration from William Reed Event Organisers for another year running. In addition to the decades we have been working with William Reed, we have more than 30 years’ experience of supplying refrigeration to major food exhibitions around the globe. We know the industry inside out, so we can pass the benefit of our knowledge to you and help you avoid many of the pitfalls. Our long association with William Reed shows that the organisers trust us to deliver a quality and a reliable fridge rental service to their exhibitors. One of the ways we maintain our high standards of reliability is by having our team of technicians on site throughout the exhibition. You probably won’t need them, but at least you’ll know they’re available should you need any technical support during the Food and Drink Expo. We will be providing a range of storage and display equipment for those products that need to be kept refrigerated or frozen. In addition to our freezer and fridge rentals, we will also be providing other catering appliances to help exhibitors show the very best use of their products. This includes juice and drink dispensers, convection ovens, hotplates and microwaves. If you have a special requirement for a piece of equipment to help showcase your product, let us know and we will do our best to help. And that’s the core of the reasons why it makes sense to place an order with Lowe Refrigeration.

The Mount Charles Group aims for a bigger slice of Irish market

Milano Coffee Systems Milano Coffee Systems specialise in the sale and service of commercial coffee machines throughout Ireland. They have a nationwide network of factory trained professional service engineers. They have over 50 years combined experience of supply and service of coffee machines in Ireland. They supply the coffee machine leaving you the freedom and independence to choose your own coffee supplier/partner. Quite simply, this means the café owner gets to keep all the money without being tied-in to his coffee supplier (the way it should be) Milano Coffee Systems are the Irish Suppliers of Faema espresso and cappuccino machines. Faema are Italys bestselling commercial coffee machines with the group producing 38,000 coffee machines in 2012. They are the world leader for coffee machine innovation with such patents as autosteam, smart boiler, milk precision system and thermal balancing. They have 600 employess with 40 people in research and development. PRODUCT SHOWCASE: The Faema ‘BARCODE’ fully automatic coffee machine that can work behind the counter or in self service retail and office. This machine is only 350 millimetres wide and the milk fridge can be placed under the machine saving space on the counter. The ‘Barcode’ will make all speciality coffee drinks to a café standard with one touch. The ‘Barcode’ will clean itself at pre-programmed times of the day and the evening cleaning only takes 5 minutes with no requirement to take parts off the machine during the cleaning process. This machine is perfect for an operation where there is no dedicated staff but great coffee is still required. The machine is installed and maintained by Milano Coffee Systems for the rest of its life including a 7 day service helpline.

One of Ireland’s largest indigenous catering and support services provider, The Mount Charles Group has set its sights firmly on the Republic of Ireland marketplace. June 2013 saw The Group, which is now in its 25th year, win its first major catering and cleaning contract in the South, servicing a global client with 400 staff in one location and 300 in another. Managing Director of The Mount Charles Group Cathal Geoghegan said: “This deal marked the first phase of a major expansion strategy in the Republic of Ireland. It’s a market that represents huge potential for us, thanks to rapidly growing demand for outsourced business solutions. “Our focus on 2014 will be to build on our reputation for excellence throughout Ireland. We are proud to be known for providing clients with a dedicated, cost effective and local service in a marketplace that is dominated by multinational service providers. “While we may traditionally be known as a catering company, our cleaning division has grown over the past two years to a point where it’s now almost on a par with the catering. “Our vending and retail divisions are also thriving. We have recognised that customers are increasingly looking for bundled services and so we’re now a multi-service organisation. “In today’s competitive trading environment, cost will always be the factor that underpins business decisions and so we offer service solutions that take that into consideration, without ever compromising on quality.” Looking ahead to the new year, Mr Geoghegan added: “I believe that 2014 will be a pivotal year in terms of the Irish economy and am looking forward to the opportunities that it will bring.” Employing 1,300 staff, The Mount Charles Group was this year recognised by Deloitte for the third consecutive year as one of Ireland’s Top 20 Best Managed Companies.




Irish Hotel Transactional Market 2013

The Hilton Charlemount

Continuing the trend witnessed last year, 2013 was another positive year for the Irish hotel transaction market. It is estimated that in excess of 30 hotels transacted with a value in excess of €250m. In 2013, Savills accounted for akmost 80% of hotel transactions in the €5million+ category in Ireland. In the first half of the year Savills were involved in the sale of the stunning Ashford Castle Co. Mayo, the River Lee Hotel Cork and Sheen Falls in Kerry. Other notable summer sales include The Trinity Capital Hotel (CBRE) and Fota Island Resort Cork (Colliers/Coughlan Downing). Recent Savills Dublin City Centre transactions include; Clarion Hotel IFSC (165 rooms), Citywest Hotel (774 rooms) and the Hilton Hotel (193 rooms). Outside of the City Centre, Clarion Hotel Dublin Airport is being purchased by the DAA and it will be operated by Dalata as a Maldron Hotel under a ten year agreement. The Savills Hotel and Leisure Team were also prominent in Cork with transactions including Radisson Blu Hotel, Cork and The Kingsley Hotel.



2013 Key Hotel Transactions* Hotels Clarion Hotel IFSC (Savills) Citywest Hotel (Savills) Hilton Dublin (Savills) Trinity Capital Hotel (CBRE)

Price Region Per Hotel €25 - €35m

Ashford Castle (Savills) Fota Island Cork (Colliers/CD) Jurys Inn Parnell St, Dublin 1 (Savills) River Lee Hotel (Savills)

€15 - €25m

Clarion Dublin Airport (Savills) Kingsley Hotel Cork ( Savills) Radisson Hotel Cork (Savills) Rivercourt Hotel Kilkenny (CBRE) Sheen Falls Kerry (Savills)

€5 - €15m

*Sold and Sale Agreed in Republic of Ireland

Receivership sales were once again a feature as institutions continue the de-leveraging process. This trend is expected to continue in 2014. NAMA recently announced its intention to bring several prime Dublin hotels to market in the New Year. Repeat Buyers The emergence of repeat buyers was evident in 2013 and bodes well for the year ahead. Examples include; The Kang Family (Fota Island and the Kingsley), Red Carnation Hotels (Ashford Castle and Lisloughrey Lodge), Dovas Group

HOTEL SALES Tourism Ireland’s marketing plan 20142016 targets continued growth to 8m visitors in 2016, a level last seen in 2007.

Radisson Blu, Cork

(Glenlo Abbey and Trinity Capital Hotel) and Brehon Capital (Marker Hotel and Ritz Carlton Powerscourt). Capital Expenditure Many hotels sold since last year are completing extensive refurbishment programs demonstrating confidence in the future of the sector. Following a change of ownership, the Morrison Hotel underwent a €7m capital expenditure programme and The Burlington Hotel is being transformed in to The Double Tree Dublin at an estimated cost of c. €16m. Ashford Castle has begun a very extensive refurbishment and upgrading programme and the owners of Kilkea Castle are also carrying out refurbishment. Other Hotels where Capital Expenditure spend is expected include; the Trinity Capital, Fota Island, The Kingsley, Sheen Falls and the Clarion Dublin Airport. Loan Sales An interesting feature of the market in 2013 is the restructuring and / or sale of Irish hotel debt. NAMA sold the former Ritz Cartlon Powerscourt loans to Brehon Capital, while Bank of Ireland is selling its 50% stake in the Shelbourne Hotel loans to Kennedy Wilson, who are also reported to be buying the IBRC debt. Ulster Bank and Loyds sold 40% of the Moran Groups senior debt to Californian hedge fund Canyon Capital before agreeing a debt for equity swap on its remaining loans with AIB and BOI in exchange for a debt write down. Loans connected with Jurys Hotel Group, which underwent a significant restructuring program in the first half of the year, were brought to market by the former IBRC but reportedly failed to find a buyer and the debt is expected to transfer to NAMA. The ability of hoteliers to restructure the burden of debt is important for the sector as the scale of repayments greatly restrict the cashflow of otherwise profitable businesses. Visitors to Ireland 2013 2013 was an excellent year for Irish tourism. Arrivals for the first 10 months are up 7.3% (above 6m). This is key for continued economic recovery in Ireland as tourism drives exports, a critical component of GDP. There was an 8% increase in the number of visitors coming for holiday / leisure resulting in greater spending. Visitor numbers increased across all major source markets for 10 months of 2013 as follows: Overseas Arrivals to the Republic of Ireland (source: CSO) January-October 2013 v 2012

Great Britain

Mainland Europe North America

Other Areas

All Areas






According to CSO, visitors from Britain (Ireland’s largest source market) increased by 12.2% between August and October, due to the recovery of the British economy and strengthening of Sterling. North American visitors, who tend to stay the longest and spend the most, grew by 14.6%. Tourism Ireland has been marketing in China and Australia in particular with a view to increasing awareness of Ireland as a tourist destination. Arrivals from Australia, New Zealand, Central & South America, Asia and Middle East increased by 14.4%. New / additional flight routes have been added by both Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Emirates launched its direct Dublin Dubai route, Etihad increased its number of weekly flights into Abu Dhabi and announced a new Dublin - Perth route. Aer Lingus’ transatlantic capacity is expected to increase by 24% in 2014.

Dublin Hotel Performance The Dublin hotel market continued as the strongest performer in the Irish hotel sector and one of the best performing capital cities in Europe. According to STR Global, RevPAR in Dublin is expected to grow by a total of 6.3% by year end. Improved amenities have helped the city to position itself as an attractive centre for business and tourism. The retention of Ireland’s low corporate tax base has ensured that Dublin in particular remains attractive to FDI. Forbes Magazine recently ranked Ireland as the ‘Best Country for Business’ in 2013 which is sure to attract increased investment. High levels of FDI and the large number of EMEA headquarters located here will continue to have a positive effect on hotels in the capital. Cork, Galway and Limerick Hotel Performance Hotels in Cork, Galway and Limerick are showing signs of positive RevPAR growth. reported RevPAR November YTD for Cork up 9% to €54, Galway up 8% to €55 and Limerick up 6% to €31. Until recently Limerick was experiencing decline, largely due to the oversupply of hotels in the city. Outside of the cities recovery has begun, albeit at a slower pace. The increase in visitor numbers to Ireland, recent announcement by Ryanair of 8 new routes to the UK & continental Europe from Shannon, as well as the abolishment of the travel tax from April 2014 should all aid the recovery process in more regional locations. In addition, Irish people are holidaying more at home (Irish trips abroad down 1% for first three quarters of the year) leading to increased domestic spending, benefiting the hospitality industry as a whole. This will be supported by continued recovery in employment and GNP/ GDP. Outlook 2014 The outlook for 2014 is a positive one. Increased buyer appetite for Irish hotels is expected to continue with further demand expected as hotel performance improves. Drivers for future growth include increased visitor numbers, improved employment, domestic consumer confidence, corporate demand, and global economic growth as well as attractiveness of the Irish hospitality brand. Continued recovery is anticipated for 2014, led mainly by Dublin and other key economic centres. For Leading Advice contact Tom Barrett, Head of Hotels & Leisure T: +353 1 618 1415 E:




Manage energy for profit Conor Molloy MSc (energy), CMVP Conor is an independent energy management consultant, on the panel of SEAI Energy Advisors and Trainers since 2007, who specialises in Energy Management. Since founding Authentic in January 2005, Conor has worked with SME’s, in Ireland and the UK, to reduce their fuel and energy usage: sustained annual savings have ranged from 5% to 20%. Authentic | Energy Management Services

Electricity generated from renewable energy (normalised) reached 18% of gross electricity consumption (RES-E) in 2011. Ireland’s target for 2020 is 40%. (SEAI)

Why you need to look closely at energy efficiency to increase profits If energy is 10% of your business’ annual operating costs, an energy saving of 10% is an additional 1% profit: Energy Management delivers annualised savings of up to 10% in kWh/night or per cover, while reducing your cost base and carbon footprint. Electricity prices to Irish industry have increased by 47% in real terms between 2005 and early 20121. In times of narrowing margins and increasing costs, using less energy offers a quick win which pays back quickly and permanently - when effectively managed. How can energy management help? The objective of Energy Management is to improve the energy efficiency of a business i.e. reduce the amount of energy used per



unit of service, output, turnover or profit. Thus you can use less energy as you grow the business and reduce costs. In small and medium sized organisations, Energy Management can be a commitment of just a few hours or minutes per week, as part of an existing operational role. How much potential profit is in your business energy usage? Total your spend for 12 months i.e. electricity, gas/oil for cooking and heating, plus transport fuels if you use vehicles. If - for example - you spend €1000/mth on electricity, €500/mth on heat and €200 on road fuel, you are spending over €20,000 per annum and a 10% saving is worth €2,000. How many extra covers or nights would you need to sell to make this amount of profit? Allocate time to energy saving relative to the potential return to your business’ bottom line. Price vs. efficiency At €0.16 per kWh and spending circa €800 per month, a 10% reduction in electricity used is an annual saving of €1,000 in profit or budget, whereas a 1% reduction in price is only €100. You only buy electricity once per year, you can save electricity throughout the year. With a structured approach, you can build on that initial 10% reduction year on

ENERGY • Switch kitchen appliances off when not required and have ‘warm-up’ time information on larger catering equipment • Turn on cookers and ovens only when needed, or just before, chefs can make a big difference to your energy usage with simple changes to their routine. • Always replace plant and equipment with high efficiency options, use SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowances list as a starting point - for motors, BEMS, etc. the HARP database is a good guide for boilers. See more at: Wins/Quick_wins_for_Hospitality_and_Tour ism/#sthash.nUbcIOw6.dpuf

In 2011, renewable energy grew by 24% to 782 ktoe, representing 6.4% of Ireland’s gross final energy use. Ireland’s target under the EU Renewable Energy Directive is to achieve a 16% renewable energy penetration by 2020. (SEAI)

year, to sustain energy efficiency improvements every year. Small - often low or nocost - changes in operational practice can reduce energy usage by 10-20%: This statement is based on our own experience and that of SEAI’s Energy Advice and Mentoring programme since 2007. SEAI - Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland - is the national energy authority and their web-site offers useful tools as well as tips and advice. Funding As energy efficiency programmes and projects are self-financing, the enactment of S.I.542 in 2009 as government policy means energy efficiency projects are supported with loans repaid from the energy savings. (Grants finished with the 2012 Better Energy Workplace scheme). Additional obligations were also placed on the energy suppliers to help you save energy Talk to your energy supplier about their energy efficiency offerings. Enprova, the oil industry’s energy efficiency scheme, does not sell energy but does support energy efficiency projects (it does not matter if you do not use oil, all energy savings count towards support), see If you have a series of small projects, get together with others either in your location or in your sector to create a group scheme or buying club (if organising this is a challenge, talk to your representative body). For independent advice, talk to an EMPI member - Energy Management Professionals Ireland - a group of experienced professionals working full-time in this area to help businesses save energy and reduce costs. See Quick wins - from • Go through your energy bills with your supplier so you understand any penalty charges and how they can be reduced or avoided and consider any guidance or suggestions for reducing your bills • Light switches should be clearly marked indicating to staff which areas they control and which lights should be switched off in vacant rooms (or left on for guest comfort and safety) vLamps, reflectors and covers should be cleaned regularly to maximise light output • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and use ‘warm-white’ models (CFLs can provide energy savings of up to 75%) • Boilers should be serviced at least annually to ensure efficient and safe operation as a poorly maintained boiler can often use 10% more energy than necessary and may also be less reliable • Use a digital thermometer to make sure that temperature set points are correct, because heating costs increase by about eight percent for each 1degC overheating • Make sure set points are appropriate e.g. heating should be set to go off at 19 degC and the ideal set point for cooling buildings is 24 degC

Recognition If you feel you have already done enough to merit an SEAI Energy Award, you need six months data to complete the application form: As the awards normally open in April each year, start collating your figures now. Summary • Start now, don’t wait for contract renewal • Read your meters and call them in to suppliers, avoid estimated bills • Total your energy spend and calculate savings • Allocate time each week to managing energy (minutes or hours depending on savings) • Start with the low and no-cost actions, turning off equipment and lighting when not needed • Review electricity and gas usage as soon as the bill comes in, use the savings to purchase lighting, controls or servicing of boilers • Engage staff, update procedures to take energy use into account and Useful facts & figures- from Energy In Ireland Report (2011) • Ireland’s import dependency was 88% in 2011, down from a peak of 90% in 2006. • In 2011 the cost of all energy imports to Ireland was approximately €6 billion • Energy use per household fell by 16% since 2007 when corrected for weather. • Since 2007, energy prices for industry in Ireland increased by 24% real terms. In OECD Europe the increase was lower at 16%. This reflects Ireland’s dependence on oil and gas as these were the main drivers of global energy prices over this period. or 01 230 5018 (c) Authentic solutions Ltd 03/12/2013

1 Electricity prices to Irish industry have increased by 47% in real terms between 2005 and early 2012.- Source SEAI Energy in Ireland report (2011): France experienced the highest increase since 2005 with a 93% increase in real terms between 2005 and 2012. The fuel mix for electricity generation is one factor that has a key bearing on the variation in the price of electricity. Ireland has the highest overall dependency of electricity generation on fossil fuels in the OECD EU-15 countries.




GMIT College of Tourism & Arts Careers Fair 2014 Wednesday 12th March 1.30pm - 4.30pm GMIT College of Tourism & Arts is holding its annual Careers Fair on Wednesday 12th of March in the New Reception Foyer of GMIT, and we would like to invite your company to participate. The Careers Fair will allow you an opportunity to recruit newly qualified graduates with experience for full or part-time employment. The Careers Fair will also offer you an opportunity to meet with current students in the College of Tourism & Arts who may be looking for work placement / trainee positions this summer. This is an invaluable opportunity should your business need or rely on these workers for the summer season. Experience has proven that those who attend the event are more likely to secure workers for the summer season than those who do not attend. The event will also be open to the public and former graduates.

GMIT College of Tourism & Arts Jobs Noticeboard


There is no cost to participate, but places are allocated on a firstcome first-served basis so we would encourage you to reply as soon as possible. It is worth noting the last two years was fully booked in advance of the closing date and we had to wait list many businesses. Closing date to register for the event- Friday 14th of February. If you have any questions or would like an application form, please contact the Links Office on 091 742565 or 091 742427 (or on, where the Links Office team will be delighted to assist you. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to seeing you on March 12th. Yours sincerely, Cáit Noone, Head of College - Tourism and Arts

GMIT College of Tourism & Arts Alumni

Award winning free language training available to the hospitality industry from GMIT Eurocatering is an exciting, innovative, colourful, free on-line resource for all professionals in the Irish Hospitality industry. This website,, may be used by anyone working in restaurant, kitchen, reception or accommodation departments. GMIT is delighted to be associated with this award-winning, EC funded, multilingual free language training programme. The Irish partners in this European project are Colin Gilligan and Anne Brindley, lecturers in the College of Tourism & Arts in GMIT. Colin lectures in Hospitality Studies across a wide range of programmes at levels 6, 7 and 8, and supported by very relevant industry experience. Colin’s expertise informed the professional input throughout both phases of Eurocatering. Anne lectures in French, specialising in French for Culinary Arts, GMIT Lecturers Anne Brindley & Colin Gilligan, Hospitality and Tourism Presented with the “European Language Label programmes. Anne, one of of the Labels”- Cyprus September 2012 the original EU partners and awarded by the European Commission. The website has 7 languages. creators of Eurocatering, has worked on this project since 2004. Eurocatering is dynamic because it provides interactive real-life scenes which participants would experience in the restaurant, kitchen, reception and accommodation departments. All scenarios are featured in 11 languages: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, and Spanish.

Eurocatering has been endorsed by Fáilte Ireland, the Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation as an ideal tool for customer service and technical training. Eurocatering has been designed by experts in languages, linguistic technology, hospitality and customer care management. The target users are hotel and restaurant employees, students, trainees and workers in the tourism industry, teachers and trainers in vocational education, however, anyone seeking to up-skill can engage with the free online tools. It also offers the possibility of training incoming workers in English for immediate immersion in the workplace. Visit the Eurocatering website home pages which clearly illustrate the professional flow of work in scenes from delivery to hygiene and safety, from table settings to customer feedback, from pre-arrival to check-out and departure. Eurocatering has been awarded 7 European Language Labels (Ireland, Belgium (FL, WA), Norway, Slovenia, Spain, and Italy), by the prestigious European Language Label of the Labels EC in September 2012, and the CALICO U. Texas Award. To access, please visit: to register for free and enjoy!

For further information, please contact or

Tourism Policy Review As part of the government initiative on a public consultation process for a new tourism policy for Ireland, Minister Varadkar and Minister of State Ring launched a public consultation process in September and invited submissions and comments on stakeholders on this paper. Following the review, it is planned to issue an overarching tourism policy statement to provide the direction to support a sustainable tourism industry and provide direction to the tourism agencies for carrying out their operational programmes. The College of Tourism & Arts was delighted to have been a participant with the IOTI Submission.




GMIT Fellowships awarded to seven outstanding people Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) honoured seven outstanding individuals with Honorary Fellowships at a special GMIT conferring ceremony in Galway on Friday 24th of May, attended by 200 invited guests. The inaugural GMIT Fellowships were conferred on the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, in recognition of his service to public life, award-winning businessman Dr. Bernard Collins for his contribution to industry, Theologian Reverend Professor Enda Mc Donagh for his contribution to education, GAA sportsman and All Ireland medal winner Pádraic Joyce for his contribution to sport, actor and cofounder of The Druid Theatre Marie Mullen for her work in the arts, Prof. Seamus Caulfield for his contribution to Irish history and community, and milliner/designer Philip Treacy for his contribution to business. Speaking at the Fellowships ceremony, the President of GMIT Michael Carmody said, “This is the first time, in the 40 year history of the Institute, the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships. The fellowships publicly recognised the contribution each of the recipients has made in their chosen

Fellowship Award recipients, from L to R (back row), Enda Mc Donagh, Dr. Bernard Collins, Philip Treacy, Padraic Joyce and Prof. Seamus Caulfield. Seated L to R, GMIT President, Michael Carmody, President Michael D Higgins and Marie Mullen.

field and celebrates their achievements.” GMIT celebrated its 40th anniversary in the academic year (2012/13). RTC Galway opened its doors on Monday 18th of September, 1972, with 1,213 students on campus. Today, GMIT has almost 8,000 full and parttime students in five campuses across Galway and Mayo with graduates working all over the world in a range of disciplines.

College of Tourism & Arts Conferring 2013

BA in Art & Design: Margaret Mulhare, Mona Sweeney and Peig Ryan.

BA in Hotel Management: John Carty, Lecturer, Arvin Singh Grewal, and Bruno Oliveria.

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) conferred awards on 2,315 students during four conferring days in November. The final two conferring days took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway City, on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th of November. Over 1,832

BA in Film & TV: Celine Curtin, Lecturer, and Mike Andrews.

students from the two Galway city campuses received a range of awards in Business, Engineering, Tourism & Creative Arts, Science and Computing.

Alumni Profile – Julia Babikova Julia (Yulia) Babikova came to Ireland from her native Russia in 2000. A graduate of Chemical Engineering, she enrolled in 2009, onto the Higher Cert. in Culinary Arts in GMIT, and subsequently, the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts in 2011. She was a keen baker since childhood and cake decoration became her passion. Her first competition was as a student in GMIT in 2006, where she won a gold medal on the Panel of Chefs (Western Region) for one of her novelty cakes. In March 2009, she won Highly Commended for the Sugar Craft Competition & Exhibition in Cork. In February 2011, she won a gold medal at the Panel of Chefs of Ireland, CATEX, Dublin for her Butter Sculpture. In 2012, she also won a gold medal at the International Food, Drink, Hospitality and Retail Exhibition

(IFEX) and, more recently, she was the winner at the Galway Open House, Edible Architecture Competition, in October. (pictured left) Along with her studies, Julia also participated in master classes with a famous sugar flower creator Alan Dunn in London, and Royal Icing cake designer Kelvin Chua in Dublin. Julia works as pastry chef in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway, and in her spare time, also has her own business baking and decorating cakes for weddings/Christenings and special events.




Golden Classics This month Marilyn Bright talks to Gary Crean, proprietor of one of Dublin’s oldest and most famous restaurants, The Lobster Pot, in Ballsbridge. Proust may have longed for lost tea and madeleines, but at Dublin’s Lobster Pot Restaurant, seafood lovers can still indulge in tastes that were golden classics long before foams, leek ash and snail porridge were the merest glimmer. Fresh Dublin Bay prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce, coquilles St. Jacques and goujons of sole were on the menu thirty-three years ago when Tommy Crean opened the first floor restaurant in a red brick property beside the Dodder in Ballsbridge and they’ve been firm favourites ever since.

Lobster Thermidor

One of Dublin’s oldest family owned restaurants, The Lobster Pot is run today by son Gary, who has retained the wellloved dishes of the menu as well as the elegance of old-style silver service. There’s no doubting the house specialty as a tray laden with the seafood selection of the day is presented at the table for diners to choose, allowing for indulgences like sole with a few prawns or scallops on the side. A flexible and skilled kitchen means that the fresh seafood can be prepared to the customer’s fancy, perhaps with hollandaise or Mornay sauce, or simply turned in butter. Gary was just nine years old when his father took over the premises, formerly The Runaway Horse, and recalls that the previous owners only completed the sale after that year’s Horse Show in the RDS had finished. And Horse Show week is still one of the restaurant’s busiest times, with the normal evening openings extending to lunchtimes, as they do on Rugby International weekends and at Christmas time ‘which can be booked out a year in advance. Head chef Don McGuinness has been at the helm since opening day, but over the past two years he’s been gradually handing



over to chef David Beattie who is carrying on the tradition of classically based cooking using freshest ingredients. “Over the years we’ve seen things go in and out of fashion,” Gary says, “but we’ve always stuck to our guns, doing what we do well and ignoring nouvelle. Fresh ingredients should speak for themselves and cooking should enhance without over complication.” Provenance is high on the agenda Prawn Cocktail at The Lobster Pot, and seafood comes from three main suppliers and several small specialists. Prawns and scallops are mostly from Kilmore Quay, oysters from Carlingford and crab from Dunany in County Louth. Gary goes to Kinsealy vegetable market daily for freshest supplies - “picking it yourself is the only way.” Potatoes come from Willie Snow in North County Dublin, and the newer Casablanca variety has largely replaced Roosters on the menu, although reliable pipers and queens appear in their season. Gary has a maxim when it comes to the nation’s favourite vegetable: “Never be afraid to order chips in a restaurant; then you’ll know what kind of chef is in the kitchen.” Although The Lobster Pot has built a solid following of regulars and corporate business over the years, they’ve not been immune to the economic downturn. “We’d been contemplating a refurbishment of the restaurant in 2000, just when things were starting to slow down but we decided to go ahead. It was difficult at the time, but I’m glad we did it and we’re set up now for a good few years.” The average spend is down and customers look for value, Gary has observed, but an early bird menu has proved popular. Traditional silver service has been a distinguishing mainstay, instituted originally by the now retired restaurant manager and sommelier John Rigby, schooled from an early age in the impeccable ways of the old Royal Hibernian Hotel. In-house training has ensured that all staff are well briefed about the fish on offer and happy to suggest varying menu options. Nearly lost performance arts are well honed too, with skilful de-boning of whole sole at the table and trolleys roll out bearing ingredients for steak tartare or a flaming finale of crepes Suzette. Lobster Pot customers tend to favour prime seafood like black sole, halibut, cod and the hard to get turbot while occasional offerings of variety fish like gurnard have less appeal. Fat prawns from Kilmore Quay are always best sellers, with the restaurant getting through four to five kilos daily. Recent additions of salmon and smoked cod fish cakes with dill mayonnaise have proved popular as have feathery battered tempura prawns. Gentle tweaks to the menu are carefully gauged, as Gary acknowledges, “we’d get a backlash from customers if we tried to remove the favourites.” So seafood lovers can be assured that there’ll always be a place for panseared ray wings with brown butter and capers, lobster Thermidor and classic prawn cocktail with cognac scented Marie Rose sauce.

W I R E L E S S WA I T E R You will see an uplift in sales & impulse purchases Use it for convenience in meeting rooms & conference facilities No contract tie in Your customers will love it!

utton b ic g a m e h T “ rant every restau tall needs to ins right now” Lovin’ Dublin

Oct 2013

Hotel and Restaurant Times Dec 2013/ Jan 2014  

Hotel and Restaurant Times Dec 2013/ Jan 2014

Hotel and Restaurant Times Dec 2013/ Jan 2014  

Hotel and Restaurant Times Dec 2013/ Jan 2014