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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

THE

BUSINESS

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HOTEL

AND

RESTAURANT

FBD HOTELS UNIQUELY IRISH

€3.65

INDUSTRY

www.hotelandrestauranttimes.ie


This time they’re invited (along with everyone else)

The Gathering Ireland 2013 is all about inviting friends and family home to join us in a yearlong celebration of all that is great about Ireland. The Gathering Ireland 2013 is not just one event but hundreds of events, big and small, organised by individuals, families, clans, communities, clubs and organisations throughout Ireland. And you can play your part. All it takes is a personal invitation to a friend or loved one overseas to come and visit Ireland in 2013. For inspiration and for help in creating your own Gathering, log onto thegatheringireland.com and be part of it.

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CONTENTS

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COVER: FBD Hotels

CONTENTS NEWS IHF REPORT CHARLIE SHIEL IRELAND’S BEST CARVERY THE GATHERING TOURISM IRELAND NEWS FBD HOTELS RAI NEWS FOOD CHAMPIONS FÁILTE CLIENT SERVICES BOOKASSIST DUCK FOR TWO MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT STR SURVEY BEING PREPARED FOOD MARKETING BIM WINE TULLAMORE DEW VISITOR CENTRE NEW CULTURE RESOURCES

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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 Contributors: Pavel Barter, Cynthia Bifolchi, Frank Corr, Dr. Des O’Mahony, Caroline Leddy, Conor McTernan Restaurants Association of Ireland, Tourism Ireland & Fáilte Ireland Design, Layout & Production: Andy Ryan @ DIA - 086 8050464 Printing: GPS All paper used in the production of this magazine comes from certifiably sustainable forestry.

PEFC/01-31-70

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: editorial@hotelandrestauranttimes.ie WEB: www.hotelandrestauranttimes.ie H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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Hold your breath Recent reports of hotels being sold have been greeted with mixed opinions. On one hand, it’s seen as a positive signal for confidence in the sector; on the other it’s considered a fire sale. The rates these properties are being offered for undervalue their true potential. The Castletroy, an iconic property, which went under the hammer for a fabulous bargain of approx €3.5 million to Supermacs Ireland Ltd, is a prime example. Thankfully for the moment, jobs there seem secure. However, it will take another few million to bring this property into line with some of its competitors. Therein is the real challenge.

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Meanwhile, an Irish consortium has bid around €20m for the Fota Island Resort. The consortium, led by former professional golfer John McHenry and hoteliers Carl and Gerard Hanratty, has plans to "grow the asset value of the business with a view to achieving a target exit value of in excess of €40 million", according to a confidential document recently circulated to potential investors. The consortium has forecast revenue increases of 5% a year at Fota – from €12.5m in 2013 to €15.2m in 2017. Fota made an operating profit of €1.3m on turnover of €11.9m in the year to the end of August 2012 and has weathered the recession better than most of its rivals in Ireland. The consortium stated it intends to spend €6.5m upgrading the facilities and to developing a retirement village and medical centre.

An interesting factor here might be the rateable valuation of hotels given some of the figures banded around. When you see what some of these properties were valued at a few years ago, and what they're now being offered for, it adds to the concerns about how fair the valuation model will be when it is finally agreed and implemented. We will wait and see.

The opening of the Tullamore DEW visitor centre is another good news story and a boost for the midlands region. Visitor numbers are expected to increase annually to over 40,000 people making this a premier tourist attraction for Tullamore and the Midlands. Similar style attractions are now on the must-do list of quite a number of visitors to Ireland. With William Grant & Sons continual expansion of its brands worldwide the anticipated visitor numbers are achievable.

The recent IHF report by economist Alan Ahearne sets out, in real terms, the stresses and challenges arising from unsustainable levels of indebtedness in the Irish hotel sector and the severely restricted access to equity finance. The report suggests a range of government policy initiatives to restore financial stability to the sector, so it can realise its potential as key component for job creation across the country.

Total hotel debt is estimated at €6.7bn, and the report reveals the extent of overleveraging in the sector following an unprecedented destruction in equity. The report recommends that decisive action be taken by lenders to restructure the debt of otherwise viable but over-indebted hotels, showing that debt restructuring of 38% (€2.5 billion) will be required to bring the debt overhang to sustainable levels. This would return hotels to a financial position where they can attract equity investment, allowing them to operate on a long-term sustainable basis. Let’s hope somebody has the courage to take this ball and run with it.

Hold your breath - maybe just maybe, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Cyril McAree Editor


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NEWS A study in excellence

NEWS

New Marketing Director at Findlater

Receiving the Business Excellence Award as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Optimus Programme, were Eithne Fitzpatrick, Scott-Lennon, and Nicky Logue, The Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel.

In bloom

Findlater Wine & Spirit Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Foley as Marketing Director. Michael has joined Findlaters from Curves International Inc. where he was International Marketing Director. Prior to his time with Curves, he had a long and successful career as a senior marketing executive with Diageo.

Hoteliers call for action in Shannon

Bloomfield House Hotel has received a four star grading from Fáilte Ireland, following a €6m investment since 2004. To achieve this grading, the hotel implemented a comprehensive renovation plan, which included a refurbishment of the restaurant, bar, spa and bedrooms along with a complete refurbishment of the banqueting suites. Pictured (l-r): Maria O’Reilly, Sales Manager; Oliver Gaffey, Sales and Marketing Manager; Ronan Byrne, General Manager; Elizabeth Connaughton, Director.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has voiced its support of the separation of Shannon Airport and DAA but believes this split must happen sooner rather than later. Michael Vaughan, the Shannon based President of the IHF, believes the independence of Shannon from DAA, announced in May, still holds the potential of marking a new era of opportunity for the region and can act as a significant tourism hub for the West coast of Ireland. “As a region we are very worried about the dramatic fall in passenger numbers to the airport, which has had a detrimental knock on effect to tourism businesses in the area. Such a momentous decision was believed to be the catalyst that would energise the region and in particular tourism marketing policies. Nothing has materialised,” he said.

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NEWS

As the Crowe flies

GB Tour Operators Give Donegal the Thumbs Up

Some of the GB coach tour operators in the Daniel O’Donnell Visitor Centre in Dungloe, Co Donegal, with Debbie Moran, Tourism Ireland (second right), and Pat Nora Gallagher, Daniel O’Donnell Centre (right).

Shane McEntee, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Food, Horticulture & Food Safety, recently announced the winners of the National Organic Awards 2012 at an awards ceremony in Bord Bia. The Best Overall Organic Product was awarded to Crowe’s Farm for its Organic Dry Cure Back Rasher product which was chosen for its high quality, superior taste and smart packaging. Pictured are John Paul and TJ Crowe, Crowes Farm.

Google teams up with Bookassist Google has launched a new agency management program to give stronger support to their agency partners. Bookassist is the only company chosen in Ireland for the program - just six were chosen in the UK, across all sectors of Google’s business. The new agency management program is a significant advantage for Bookassist clients. An Agency Strategist at Google will work directly with Bookassist’s Traffic Builder team on individual hotel Adwords accounts, dealing with optimising accounts, implementation issues, trends relevant to the accounts and mobile advertising. Bookassist can now implement Google offer extensions in Adwords site links in hotel ads. Offers are displayed under the regular ad text on a search ad and can lead users to redeem the offer by linking directly through to the hotel booking engine.

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On a mission to woo Scandinavian tourists

Pictured at Tourism Ireland’s B2B workshop in Copenhagen are: Stefan Holmstrom, Aer Lingus; Suzanne Tallon, Brooklodge & Macreddin Village, Co Wicklow; BettieMarie Burger-Smit, Brandon House Hotel in New Ross and chair of the South East branch of the Irish Hotels Federation; Oluf La Cour, Unique Tours; John Keogh, Aer Lingus; and Caroline Brunel, Tourism Ireland.

Dualway Group on another level Directors, David and Linda McConn, Dualway Group, are pictured being presented by Fáilte Ireland’s Kevin Moriarty and Liam Campbell, with the coveted EFQM Recognised for Excellence Level 4 Award, at their premises in Rathcoole, Co Dublin.


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NEWS

Gatelys of the Boardwalk

Cork’s only authentic steakhouse, The Boardwalk Bar & Grill is to rebrand as Gatelys Boardwalk Bar & Grill as Cork business stalwarts Darina and John Gately take on sole ownership of the trendy city centre gastrobar. Darina and John are reinvigorating the award winning steakhouse with new menus for their Grill Room and Gastropub, wine dinners. New offerings include: cocktail making classes, cookery classes at their Open Chefs Table, private parties in the Corona Party Lounge, barbeques by the river on the boardwalk, river kayaking in conjunction with Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking and an early bird menu from 5-7 in the Grill room.

1.5+ million Germans to read about holidays in Kerry A group of leading journalists from Germany recently enjoyed an action-packed trip to Kerry. Representing various national and regional print and online publications - including newspapers like the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Rhein Zeitung and Rheinische Post - the writers have a combined circulation of more than 1.5 million people.

Making a meal of things Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar, met recently with Darina Allen, Margaret Jeffares of Good Food Ireland, and Ruth Hegarty of Eurotoques (the European Community of Cooks), to discuss how Irish food and food tourism can be promoted during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in 2013. Pictured (l-r): Ruth Hegarty, Margaret Jeffares, Minister Varadkar, and Darina Allen.

New branding for Ireland’s taxi fleet unveiled Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly has welcomed the new taxi branding signage which will be phased in to Ireland’s taxi fleet from January of next year. The branding, developed by the National Transport Authority, will see semi-permanent decal ‘Taxi’ signage affixed to the driver and passenger doors of each car. The move is intended to encourage greater professionalism and accountability within the taxi sector. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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NEWS

Food champions to lead industry forward

Fáilte Ireland have selected 14 emerging food champions who will travel on a food tourism benchmarking trip to Prince Edward County in Canada where they will experience a bespoke itinerary developed by renowned food tourism destination expert Rebecca LeHeup, Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, who will be their guide throughout the trip.

Ireland is “the Business” for German group

CATEX keeps it local

CATEX has announce the introduction of Chef’s Choice @ CATEX 2013, taking place at the RDS, Dublin 19th-21st February 2013. Chefs Choice will be a dedicated area of the show, featuring 25 -30 artisan food and beverage suppliers who will showcase and sample their products for the industry. The exhibitor list for CATEX 2013 is once again beginning to take the form of a “Who’s Who” in the Irish foodservice sector. One such exhibitor is Delice de France (the re-branded Cuisine de France). Louise Kerrigan, Channel Development Manager of Delice de France said: “CATEX 2011 afforded us the first opportunity to position ourselves on the Irish foodservice marketplace as a speciality provider of bakery and hot food solutions. We will be seeking to maximise this exposure again at CATEX 2013. Also on the exhibitor list so far are Monin/Food Solutions, Coppingers, Derry Combico, Unilever, Donnelly Group, BD Foods, Nisbets, Bunzl, Calor Gas, Total Produce, Milano Coffee, United Coffee, Bewleys, Marco Beverage Systems, Matthew Algie, Hugh Jordan, Facelift, Keelings and Pallas Foods.

Chinese Connection for Ireland

German business tourism decision-makers at Ballyknocken House, Co Wicklow, with celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio (centre) and Aoife Kernan, Tourism Ireland (right).

Suite for my Sweet Limerick Strand has put together a Suite for my Sweet package for people looking for a romantic break away. Guests are invited to stay two nights in the 4* hotel’s Junior Suite. In addition to the luxurious accommodation, guests are welcomed with Prosecco and chocolate-dipped strawberries on arrival, breakfast plus a gorgeous candlelit dinner in the award winning River Restaurant on an evening of choice. They’ve also included a 20minute Taster Treatment and choice of a back massage, Indian head massage, or file and polish for hands or feet at Urban Escape Day Spa.

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Chinese journalists in Cork’s English Market with fishmonger Pat O’Connell (second right) and tour guide Donal Scannell (left).

Jesus goes green for Paddy’s Day The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil will ‘go green’ for the first time ever, to mark St Patrick’s Day in 2013. The announcement was made yesterday evening by President Michael D Higgins, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro Orani João Tempesta and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, during the President’s official visit to South America, during which he is promoting ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.


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NEWS

Flavour of Cork comes to Dublin

Nothing fishy about Wicklow restaurant

Cork’s finest food, venue and hotel offerings were recently showcased in Dublin. Over 80 guests were in attendance at O’Connell’s Restaurant in Donnybrook, Dublin. Renowned chef and food advocate, Darina Allen, was among the delegation that travelled to Dublin. Allen addressed the group in relation to Cork’s variety of visitor and tourism opportunities.

Titanic event for IHI fellows The IHI President Fergal O’Connell, alongside Douglas Jordan, Chair of the College of Fellows, resided over the recent IHI Fellows & Patrons Evening Event. The event started with guests treated to afternoon tea in the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Co. Down, followed by a tour of Titanic Belfast and a five-course dinner.

Pleased to Meath you The Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells has teamed up with local producers to concentrate on food tourism and create a Meath Food Trail Package for visitors to the area. Pictured (l-r): Jane Cassidy, Kilbeg Dairy Delights; Jim Ryan, Ryan Farm; Micheal Finnegan, Boyne Valley Blue; Minister Shane Mc Entee, Department of Agriculture; Bernie Burke, Burkes Farm; Olivia Duff, Headfort Arms; and John V.Farrelly Chairperson of Meath Tourism.

Ireland and Austria in flight A new charter service opens between Ireland and Austria in 2013. The service will operate between April and June 2013, with two flights per week from Vienna (one to Dublin Airport and one to Belfast International Airport). This new service has been organised by Austrian tour operator Raiffeisen Reisbüro and will be operated by Vienna-based airline, Lauda Air.

The Strawberry Tree, BrookLodge Hotel, Macreddin, Co Wicklow has been awarded Bord Bia’s Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month for October as a result of its commitment to sourcing ingredients locally. As Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant, its menus are dictated by the availability of mainly local ingredients in their natural season. The underlying philosophy is all about paying homage to the producers of their foods. Proprietor Evan Doyle said: “A menu is only as good as its ingredients and the main ingredient at the Strawberry Tree is our suppliers. We include a full listing of all of our organic producers on the menu, each of whom takes tremendous pride in their trade of supplying world class produce to our restaurant.”

Quality counts at Galway Bay

Directors, Management and staff at the Galway Bay Hotel were today presented by Fáilte Ireland with the coveted EFQM Recognised for Excellence Level 5 Award. The Galway Bay Hotel is the only Hotel in Europe to achieve this Level 5 Award in 2012. The EFQM Recognised for Excellence Award is Europe’s most prestigious award for organisational excellence and is given to Europe’s best performing companies.

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NEWS

Bewley’s golden wonder

Strand and deliver

Limerick Strand Hotel has struck gold for second year running at Great Taste Awards 2012. Tom Flavin, Executive Chef, won for his homemade Pear Chutney and Gooseberry and Shallot relish, from the homemade pantry range ‘The Secret Ingredient’. The range has gone from strength to strength following last year’s win at Great Taste Awards 2011 and the Blas na hEireann Food awards.

“G” thanks Bewley’s teas and coffees have won 11 Gold Stars at the 2012 international Great Taste Awards. Among the winners in the foodservice category were: Bewley’s Special Reserve Fairtrade Tea Bags, Red Berry Infusion Tea, Café House Blend filter coffee, Fairtrade Harmony Blend Espresso and Chocolait Hot Chocolate, each awarded in recognition of their exceptional taste and quality. “We are very proud that these award-winning coffee and tea products continue to be the leading choice in cafés hotels, restaurants and convenience stores throughout Ireland,” said Carol Geary, Marketing Manager at Bewley’s, pictured here.

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The five star g Hotel has announce a new Staff Award Programme, which recognises and rewards staff members for their role at the property. Pictured here is Virginia Noqueira, Front of House Supervisor, awarded Employee of the Month from Maura O’Donnell Human Resources Manager. Molly Jordan, Revenue Manager is awarded ‘Manager of the Quarter’.

Let’s get down to business

Varadkar welcomes new Shannon to Chicago service

Pictured at the Venues & Events exhibition in Old Billingsgate in London, are: Franco Tamani, Grand Hotel Malahide; Áine Comerford, Dalata Hotel Group; Fiona Delahunty, Griffin Hotel Group; Ciarán McLoone, Dublin Convention Bureau; Darran Housham, The Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt; Orla McCabe, Killashee House Hotel, Naas; Jennifer O’Higgins, Tourism Ireland; Aoife Thomas, Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau; Joyce McElroy, Tourism Ireland; and Elaine Courtney, The Malton, Killarney.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has welcomed plans for a non-stop United service between Shannon and Chicago. “I’m delighted that United is planning this new route, five times a week from June to August next year. This is a significant v]ote of confidence in Shannon Airport by United, and an important development for tourism in the mid west,” Minister Varadkar said.

Score for tourism

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Before Republic of Ireland took on Germany in the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, Tourism Ireland took the opportunity to capitalise on the high profile sporting event. Tourism Ireland put in place a busy promotional programme, targeting football fans around Germany and encouraging them to visit Ireland in 2013 for The Gathering. Activity includes a social media promotion on Facebook, with a specially-created app targeting about 1.5 million football enthusiasts across Germany, encouraging them to upload a fan picture to be in with a chance to win a weekend in Dublin.


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INDUSTRY REPORT

Report urges decisive action to restore financial stability to Irish hotel sector Scarcity of new equity finance represents a market failure, says economist Alan Ahearne • Total hotel indebtedness estimated at €6.7bn • Debt restructuring of 38 per cent required to return to hotel sector to sustainability • Range of policy initiatives proposed to improve access to equity finance The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) received a major, independent economic report undertaken by economist Alan Ahearne which stresses the serious challenges arising from unsustainable levels of indebtedness in the Irish hotels sector and severely restricted access to equity finance. The report proposes a range of Government policy initiatives to restore financial stability to the sector so that it can realise its potential as an engine for job creation across the country.

Economist Dr Alan Ahearne and Michael Vaughan, President of the Irish Hotels Federation

With total hotel debt estimated at €6.7bn, the report reveals the extent of overleveraging in the sector following an unprecedented destruction in equity. The report recommends that decisive action be taken by lenders to restructure the debt of otherwise viable but over-indebted hotels, showing that debt restructuring of 38 per cent (€2.5 billion) will be required to bring the debt overhang to sustainable levels. This would return hotels to a financial position where they can attract equity investment, allowing them to operate on a long-term sustainable basis. Tim Fenn, CEO of the IHF states the report provides a frank assessment of the impact overhanging debt is having on the hotels sector. He says: “Now is the time for the Government to take decisive action to help improve access to equity finance and restore financial stability to the sector. This issue cannot be allowed to fester and jeopardise future growth and job creation in the wider tourism industry. If we don’t act now, we’ll be picking up the pieces of a failed tourism industry in five years time.” Along with debt restructuring, the report explores three specific Government

initiatives which, if implemented, could improve access to equity finance to hotels and restore financial sustainability to the sector: • The existing Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme should be extended to include restructured hotels, thereby providing incentives to private investors to invest equity in restructured hotels. • A new Hotel Restructuring Fund could use funds from the National Pension Reserve Fund and the sale of state assets to invest in hotels that have a commercially sound prospect for profitability, growth and providing sustainable employment. • A Qualifying Investor Fund for Hotels may be attractive to private investors, especially from abroad, who would like to invest in Irish hotels but do not wish to own hotels directly. “The reality facing the sector is that the banks will only lend to potential domestic investors to buy or refinance viable hotels if sufficient equity capital is available. However, there is a severe lack of funds available to new and current owners, preventing the repair of individual property balance sheets,” says Mr Fenn. “This lack of funds represents a market failure that is choking the recovery process in the sector. In the meantime, unsustainable levels of debt are damaging the sector and the wider tourism industry through underinvestment in the hotel stock.” Mr Fenn states that the hotels sector has a critical role to play in contributing to recovery in Ireland’s tourism sector and in the wider economy. Tourism provides an estimated 196,000 jobs, equivalent to 11 per cent of total employment in the country of which more than 50,000 are directly employed by hotels and guesthouses. Tourism accounted for €5.3 billion in spending and €1.3bn in taxes to the Irish economy in 2011 and represented 4.5% of Ireland’s services exports. The onset of the crisis saw a dramatic deterioration in profitability within the sector, with revenue per room falling 30 per cent since 2007 and profit per room has dropping 44 per cent. Average room rates achieved fell from €97 in 2007 to €72 in 2011. However, this failed to stimulate demand with occupancy rates declining from close to 70 per cent in 2007 to 61.4 per cent in 2011. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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NEW HOTELS

On your Marks

Charlie Sheil is the General Manager of Dublin’s newest luxury hotel, The Marker. The hotel, which is situated at Grand Canal Square in the city’s thriving Docklands area, will open its doors next April to the public amidst high expectation and great excitement. The Hotel and Restaurant Times caught up with Charlie to talk about where he’s at with development of the hotel, his challenging new role and his roots in the hospitality industry. With twenty years experience in the business Charlie is no stranger to the challenges of the hotel industry, particularly in property and brand development. After graduating he spent time in France, Switzerland, The UK and five years in New York in several positions including time at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Towers before moving back to Ireland in 2004 to take up his first General Manager’s role and the opening ofThe Clarion Hotel, Cork. “The Clarion was a very interesting project,” he says of the opportunity. “That area of the docklands in Cork was starting to develop and the hotel was a key part in

“ It was a new exciting opportunity. It is part of the Leading Hotels of the World family and I always wanted to focus back into luxury hotels; that was a draw for me

the regeneration of this area. It was a baptism of fire but if you can survive and thrive in a very demanding environment in New York then you can take on any challenge.” After five years building the reputation of The Clarion Hotel in Cork which culminated with the Hotel winning the prestigious Cork Business of the Year, Charlie was presented with another interesting project the role of General Manager for a new individually branded property, Harry Crosbie’s Gibson Hotel. “Harry was clear he wanted something different and individual,” recalls Charlie.

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“The main thing was creating an individual brand with the Choice Hotel Ireland team, which I think we certainly did, one related to the music industry. We had a very good team within the hotel who knew what we were up againstin the challenging year of 2010 and by the end of 2011 we had achieved a great amount and the hotel has gone from strength to strength this year.” Before Interstate Hotels and Brehon Capital approached Charlie to work with them on The Marker he wasn’t thinking of moving on from The Gibson or looking for a new challenge. However he felt he couldn’t turn down the opportunity. “It was a new exciting opportunity. It is part of the Leading Hotels of the World family and I always wanted to focus back into luxury hotels; that was a draw for me. With The Clarion and particularly The Gibson I was part of a team that created a strong brand and brought it to reality and that is what I want to do with The Marker. I see it as a long term opportunity to work with Interstate and the hotel owners on this property and potentially bigger opportunities in the future.” The construction of The Marker Hotel began in 2005 and ground to a halt in 2008 before resuming this year under new ownership. The hotel’s design is modern, urban and contemporary and will provide luxury accommodation with 187 rooms divided into superior rooms, suites, corner suites and a presidential suite.Leisure

Charlie Shiel


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NEW HOTELS

guests can enjoy the hotel’s Wellbeing area which has several treatment rooms, a 23 metre infinity pool, whirlpool, steam room, sauna and a decking area with relaxation chairs. Charlie feels the Docklands area is ripe for a property with The Marker’s features. There is to be a particular focus on the corporate market and this is reflected in the state of the art technology provided as well as the situation of the hotel. “There is lot going on in the area; multinational businesses and smaller growing companies, labs and new upstart companies with great potential. The hotel will have 9 state of the art dedicated meeting spaces, from small boardroom meetings of 10 people to a ballroom capable of hosting sit-down dinnersfor 220 people or a

theatre style conference for up to 300 people. All meeting rooms will have audiovisual facilities and there will be some dedicated rooms for video conferencing, state of the art broadband and a business centre providing assistance for corporate and leisure guests.” In terms of food and beverage offerings, Charlie and the team are researching the needs of the area carefully. The hotel will provide a brasserie-style food outlet with a focus on high quality fare with affordable prices, a complementing lobby bar and a unique Rooftop Lounge.This, according to Charlie, suitsthe demographics of the area, the hotel guest, the theatre goer and is more accessible to a wider range of people than fine dining. Staffing is a primary consideration for The Marker. With many positions to be filled it is essential the right team is selected. The bulk of this process will begin in December starting with the heads of departmentand senior management team. Charlie says - “In the last 10 weeks we have processed over 270 applications for positions not yet advertised, the interest is unprecedented. There is a huge level of interest ranging from senior management positions to specialist positions to associate level positions, right across the spectrum. People are putting themselves out there and are excited about the potential of this hotel.The recruitment process is at a very high standard and we’re looking for the right type of person who understands the brand and the expectations that come with it.”

“ In the last 10 weeks we have processed over 270 applications for positions not yet advertised, the interest is unprecedented. There is a huge level of interest…

With such a demanding yet exciting time ahead of him we conclude by asking Charlie where he sees himself in five month’s time. “In five months we’ll be close to opening with a great team in place who are excited to get the property up and running. Locally there is great excitement with people who work and live in the area and there’s also a high expectation and great feeling that the final piece of the Square will be completed.” He smiles and looks around - “In five months time we will be putting the final touches to the Marker Hotel and looking forward to opening. We will have a great team and a very clear picture in terms of where we’re going”. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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COMPETITION

Winners of All-Ireland carvery competition announced Harvey’s Point in Donegal scoops Best Hotel Carvery award, while The Elm Tree in Cork holds on to its Best Pub Carvery crown at the Great Carvery of the Year Grand Final

Derek & Lorraine Walshe, Elm Tree, Mark Mc Carthy, Unilever, Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point and Tommy Bowe

Harvey’s Point in Donegal and The Elm Tree in Cork have come out on top in the third annual Great Carvery of the Year competition. Harvey’s Point in Donegal took home the award for Great Carvery Hotel of the Year, while, for the second year running, The Elm Tree in Cork was crowned Great Carvery Public House of the Year. The winners were unveiled in front of a packed house at the Great Carvery of the Year Grand Final, which was held at the Herbert Park Hotel in Dublin. Launched in 2010 by Unilever Food Solutions Ireland, Great Carvery of the Year is a nationwide search for Ireland’s best pub and hotel Carvery. After a hugely successful first year, the competition was expanded to create two separate categories of winner in 2011: the Great Carvery Public House of the Year and Great Carvery Hotel of the Year. This year saw even more exciting changes as the competition was extended to include Northern Ireland and a public vote was introduced to determine a top three shortlist of Best Pub Carvery and Best Hotel Carvery from each province Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster. 14

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Derek and Lorraine Walshe, Elm Tree, Cyril McAree, Managing Editor Hotel & Restaurant Times and Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point

Following an intensive public voting campaign, Unilever Food Solutions’ Business Development Chef Mark McCarthy and his team of mystery shoppers had the tough job of whittling the 24 finalists down to just eight provincial winners and two overall winners. Out of the 11 counties represented at the inaugural award’s ceremony, The Elm Tree in Cork, Harvey’s Point and The Old Orchard Inn in Donegal, the Radisson Blu at Dublin Airport and The Grange in Dublin, the Carlton Hotel Galway, the Killarney Court Hotel in Kerry and The Merry Monk in Mayo came out on top in the provincial competition. The judging panel was unanimous, however, in choosing their overall winners.


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COMPETITION

Unilever Food Solutions Team

Jim Reeves, Unilever Food Solutions

Speaking at the Grand Final, Mark McCarthy said: “Every year the competition gets tougher and tougher so to be shortlisted by the Irish public as one of the country’s Great Carvery venues of the year is something to be very proud of. There are some really outstanding carvery venues in Ireland - every time I go out on the road with the Great Carvery team I am blown away by the high standard and incredible calibre of pubs and hotels that are out there. It is a testament to all of the venues that made it this far. “But for me,” Mark continued, “a great carvery is about much more than just good food; it’s about the whole package. That means creative menus, exceptional chefmanship, clever use of seasonal and local produce and top-drawer customer service. Harvey’s Point and The Elm Tree demonstrated all of these key ingredients and more. I was blown away by the passion, dedication and creativity that these two venues put into each dish on their menu - they are truly inspiring and very worthy winners.” Irish rugby legend and competition ambassador Tommy Bowe was also on hand to present all of this year’s winners with their awards. Speaking at the final, he said: “Looking at all the great pubs and hotels that have made it to the Grand Final it’s clear that Irish chefs - North and South - take their carveries very seriously. When I joined the Great Carvery team this year, I

“ All participants are assigned to the same tutor but the tutor changes for each module, so there’s a pronounced learning variety. There are also online discussion forums where members can ask questions and interact with both their tutors and each other

Mark McCarthy , Unilever Food Solutions

Overall winners Great Carvery Hotel of the Year Harvey’s Point, Lough Eske, Co Donegal

Great Carvery Public House of the Year The Elm Tree, Glounthaune, Cork

Provincial winners Great Carvery Hotel of the Year Leinster: Radisson Blu, Dublin Airport Munster: Killarney Court Hotel, Co Kerry Connacht: Carlton Hotel Galway Ulster: Harvey’s Point, Co Donegal

Great Carvery Public House of the Year Leinster: The Grange, Co Dublin Munster: The Elm Tree, Cork Connacht: The Merry Monk, Co Mayo Ulster: The Old Orchard Inn, Co Donegal

knew that carvery was popular - I’m a big fan myself! - but I didn’t realise just how much of an institution it is in Ireland. “Now that I’m back in Ulster, I am delighted to see the competition being extended to Northern Ireland for the first time, and was thrilled to see one of the overall winners coming out of the province. Hopefully it’s a good omen for the new rugby season!” As the overall winners, Harvey’s Point and The Elm Tree will receive marketing support to the value of €2,500 each and a double-page spread in one of Ireland’s top trade magazines. Both venues will also receive a specially commissioned wall plaque and commemorate chalkboard to remind customers that they are about the sit down and enjoy the best carvery in Ireland. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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THE GATHERING IRELAND 2013

Irish tourism industry called upon to be part of The Gathering Ireland 2013 Following a number of successful launches in both the domestic and key international markets,plans for the Gathering Ireland 2013 are well underway. Almost 600 Gatherings have been pledged on thegatheringireland.com with a conservative estimate of 39,000 visitors and revenues of over €18m. A ‘Gathering Ireland’ roadshow with Minister Varadkar has just finished in New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto, reaching key ‘enablers’ such as business networks, clans, cultural and sporting associations, Irish clubs and societies to encourage them to participate in ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. The occasion of the Emerald Isle Classic on Saturday 1st September saw Dublin transformed as thousands of US visitors thronged the capital to witness Navy Clash with Notre Dame in the Aviva Stadium. The Gathering Ireland 2013 was the title sponsor of the Classic and the weekend saw the first major global footprint of The

Gathering Ireland as the Gathering message was broadcast via CBS in the US and via ESPN in Europe. The Gathering Ireland Project Director, Jim Miley stated: “The Emerald Isle Classic was an extraordinary success. It marked an important milestone in the roll

Helen Kelly, the Shelbourne Hotel’s very own genealogy butler. Pic by DJ Claffey

How Tourism Trade in Ireland can be part of it: • Organise a Gathering in 2013. Plan an event that taps into your own networks overseas and invite them to Ireland to be part of it. • Link in with your community and know about & support the Gatherings that are taking place in your area. See www.thegatheringireland.com for details on gatherings confirmed throughout Ireland. • Go the extra mile for your customers in 2013. Work with the other tourism providers in your area to create great Gathering Ireland 2013 offers & experiences. • Spread the word and make sure your clients, family, & friends at home and abroad know that 2013 is the best time to visit Ireland. • Embrace and use The Gathering Ireland 2013 Brand and marketing materials available for you to download at www.brand.thegatheringireland.com • Have a Gathering Directory for your area containing information on tourist attractions, genealogical resources & contacts in the area, local libraries and museums, heritage sites, local festivals & gathering taking place & evening entertainment

Adam Murray and Peter Kavanagh with Minister for State at the Department of Transport Sport and Tourism Michael Ring TD.

Glasnevin National Heritage Project & Glasnevin Trust Museum Dublin

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THE GATHERING IRELAND 2013 out of the The Gathering Ireland. Thousands of visitors to our capital shared in The Gathering Ireland message. They experienced first-hand the warmth of an Irish welcome. Above all they received an important invitation - to return to Ireland next year, with their friends and family, to participate in a year of excitement and celebration.” Undoubtedly, the Emerald Isle Classic also gave tourism providers across Ireland a taste of just how powerful events tourism can be. Indeed, the Gathering Ireland 2013 is one of the biggest opportunities Ireland’s tourism industry has ever seen. But how can tourism providers get involved?

Some Real Examples The Gathering Ireland has been taken to heart by the Irish tourism industry. Many providers are organising their own gatherings in 2013 and inviting friends, family and clients to Ireland next year. Some examples include: • Ciarán Nagle of the Irish Tenors is working in conjunction with Cara Travel on a Songs and Stories Gathering Tour of Ireland next April. • O’Connells, O’Briens, Murphys, McCarthys...Glasnevin Cemetery is the final resting place for over 1.1 million people. The Glasnevin Trust acts as guardian to the stories of these ordinary and extraordinary people who have shaped the Ireland we live in today. During 2013 Glasnevin Museum will partner with The Gathering Ireland 2013 to offer every visitor a €10 genealogy voucher to help find them find their roots. Those who think they have a connection can start searching the Glasnevin Cemetery records online now. • Dublin’s historic Shelbourne Hotel has its very own Genealogy Butler. Helen Kelly has a passion and enthusiasm for Irish family history. Kelly can help guests of the hotel draw up a practical research plan with a one-hour advisory session. These sessions have lead countless guests to their Irish ancestral homelands. Earlier this year, within three days of a session, one family met more than 30 unknown cousins. • In keeping with the spirit of The Gathering Ireland 2013, family-owned Roganstown House Hotel in Dublin will welcome O’Callaghans and McLoughlins ‘home’ to Roganstown by offering a complimentary room during 2013 for overseas visitors with these surnames. These are the family names linked with the hotel and grace the bar and restaurant. (This is a room only offer and subject to availability). • The Fitzgerald Woodlands Hotel in Adare, Limerick, is organising a Fitzgerald Clan Reunion. It will take in a seven-day tour to key locations around Ireland associated with the Fitzgeralds. • Abbey Tours in Ireland, in association with Global Sports Group and Anthony Travel in the USA, is organising a Global Ireland Sports Gathering 2013 for high school, college and club teams from the USA, Canada and beyond. The events will take place over the extended 2013 US Labor Day weekend (27 August to 2 September 2013). Men’s and women’s teams, support groups, school administrators, faculty, families, friends and media are all invited! • South Dublin County Tourism Ltd in partnership with South Dublin County Council, Fingal Leader Partnership and The Gathering Ireland will host 25 international tournaments and competitions throughout 2013 through sport and culture for the Gathering Ireland 2013.. Tournaments will be marketed to the US and UK markets in particular and will include American Football, Baseball, Cricket, Football, Bridge, Poker and Irish Dancing. Events start in February with FeisCluainDolcáin-The Gathering Dublin and will conclude with an international art competition running across 15 countries in October 2013. • St. Patrick’s Festival and the Gathering Ireland are inviting 8,000 people from across the world to march in the People’s Parade on St. Patrick’s Day next March 17th. Participants in The People’s Parade will be cheered on by hundreds of thousands of spectators who line the streets of Dublin every year in celebration of our national holiday and watched by millions more around the world. • The Waterford Festival of Food, Dungarvan has launched an exciting Family Reunion Package for its festival next April as part of The Gathering Ireland 2013. Some of the elements of the offering include a treasure box for family memorabilia and a beautiful memory book in which family members can record their memories of people, places and events from the past. In addition to the treasure box and memory book, the offering gives families a holiday home for the Festival of Food weekend April 11th to 14th 2012, a family tree chart and a selection of tickets to Festival of Food events worth in excess of €400.

The Gathering Ireland Project Director, Jim Miley

According to Miley, many providers have already pledged their support with hotels, restaurants and pubs all over the country planning Gatherings of their own or indeed, supporting Gatherings that are being organised by others in their community. He says: “Communities across Ireland have taken the concept of the Gathering Ireland to their hearts and are making some impressive plans to reach out to their international networks, giving them compelling reasons to visit in 2013. While

the tourism industry will surely benefit from these plans, we are asking providers to become actively engaged with the project. Think about your own overseas networks: whether it’s previous clients and customers, or your own counterparts in hotels or restaurants overseas. Can you organise an event, a gathering, to which you can invite them? Do you send regular communications to your previous guests or clients? Find out what gatherings are planned for your area next year, get involved and invite your contacts to be part of it.” Log on to www.thegatheringireland.com to find out how you can be part of it and to share details of your gathering. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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TOURISM

€19m campaign to A €19 million autumn promotional drive is in full swing overseas, aimed at boosting late-season travel from around the globe. The Tourism Ireland campaign is highlighting the many festivals and events taking place right around the island this autumn. Attractive offers for city breaks and rural holidays are the key messages in Great Britain, the United States, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets.

Minister Michael Ring; Mike Lambden and John Gilbert, both National Express (coach network); Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland; and Martin Mullaney, former councillor with Birmingham City Council, at a ‘Gathering’ networking event in Birmingham.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar; and Aoife Carton, usher at the Olympia Theatre, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign.

The campaign is also building excitement around ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. The organisation is extending an invitation to the tens of millions of people of Irish descent across the world to ‘come home’ next year - as well as to the many others who feel linked by friendship, business or education and to those who simply hold an affection for what Ireland has given to the world. Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “With ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ just a few months away this campaign will be significant in attracting tourists for next year. There’s also loads for visitors to see and do in the months ahead, and the autumn marketing campaign will do a great job in promoting late-season travel to Ireland. There’s still plenty of business to fight for at this time of year.”

In Great Britain alone, our largest and most important tourism market, Tourism Ireland’s promotions will reach in excess of 19 million potential holidaymakers this autumn, placing the spotlight on our festivals, music, literature and living culture and conveying the fun, friendliness and great things to do and see on a holiday or short break here.

Tourism Ministers Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring are joining Tourism Ireland this autumn, to promote ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ through roadshows in GB, the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. Pictured at a ‘Gathering’ event in the Irish Consulate in New York are Minister Varadkar (centre) with Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland (left) and leading journalist and travel expert Peter Greenberg. Co-operative campaigns with airlines and ferry operators are highlighting ease of access and great fares.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons; Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar; Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore; and Noel Kilkenny, Irish Consul General.

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And in the US - building on the tremendous success of the recent Notre Dame v Navy game in Dublin - Tourism Ireland is running a high impact TV and online campaign with NBC in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia around this autumn’s Notre Dame games. The campaign will reach 7.5 million viewers, highlighting ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ with a new 30-second ‘Gathering’ ad.


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TOURISM

woo overseas visitors A Taste of Ireland at ‘Flavours’ Event in London

As part of its push to grow conference and business tourism from GB and elsewhere around the world, Tourism Ireland and industry partners attended the Venues & Events exhibition in London, targeting decision-makers and representatives of companies involved in organising large-scale international conferences and events. Partners are pictured with Joyce McElroy, Tourism Ireland (second right).

Tourism organisations from around Ireland travelled to London for Flavours of Ireland 2012. The B2B tourism workshop, organised by Tourism Ireland, saw 100 representatives of the top UK inbound tour operators come together to do business with 40 representatives of the Irish tourism industry. Pictured is Susan O’Brien, Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Donegal (right), with Javier Otero, Destinations of the World (left), and Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland.

Co-operative promotions with Aer Lingus in Scandinavia are highlighting the new, daily Copenhagen to Dublin flight, as well as the existing Stockholm to Dublin service.

Right: Radio, print and online ads are targeting 13.5 million Americans of Irish descent in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Left: A four-page supplement about walking in the South West will be circulated to 500,000 readers of the November edition of Panorama magazine, the official publication of the largest German walking association.

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Kings Laundry, South City Business Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24 • Efficient Linen Rental Service • Competitive Pricing for Hotel, Restaurants and the Hospitality Sector We are proud to support FBD Hotels

“Give your customers the Real comfort of Kings”

Pleased to be associated with the FBD Hotel group Tel 01 4057762 Fax 01 4057772 www.kingslaundry.com


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FBD HOTELS

Uniquely

Irish

The service sector has been facing major challenges and has been required to make huge changes in recent years as a result of the current economic climate. In order to remain competitive, hotels are now required to become more specified and attempt to corner certain areas of the market, and all the while do it for a fraction of the cost they operated under a few years ago. When you look at some of the gloomy high-profile failures in recent years such as the €7.6m in pre-tax losses by the company that manages Dublin’s prestigious Shelbourne hotel in 2010, it’s unnerving to imagine working in the hotel business in Ireland. Yet there are groups that are still booming today, operating successfully, and quietly working within their means and doings an excellent job. FBD Hotels are a prime example of such a group that is trading independently and supporting service industries in Ireland today.

FBD Hotels, rebranded from the Tower Hotel Group in January 2010, is a division of the larger FBD Property & Leisure group. The group is a joint ownership between FBD Holdings plc and a group called Farmer Business Developments plc. It’s a fifty-fifty ownership and there’s a board of directors made up between both parties. Patrick Lernihan is their Group Operations Executive and has been working with the company for the past two and a half years. Patrick considers the hotel group to be very unique, “Each of our properties are all so unique that we see ourselves as a collection rather than a group of hotels.” In Ireland the group has two city centre properties and two four star resorts. The Tower Hotel in Waterford celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and was the very first hotel to be owned by the group.

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A little Taste of Italy in Temple Bar Recently renovated, boasting a 300 year old historic wine cellar and dining area complete with 18th century barrel vault. Catering for all your requirements from intimate dinners to group parties.

Key to our success are our suppliers Little Italy Ltd Fine Italian wine & food importers & distributors Tel 01 8725208-8733935 Fax 01 8733299 www.littleitalyltd.com Future Business Intercommunication Internet Marketing, Web Design, Relational Databases. www.fbi.ie Tel 01 4441387 Email info@fbi.ie Wines of Italy Distributors of fine Italian Wines 01 2811007

12 Fownes Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 tel: 01 6703110 www.lacaverna.info

Gerry Walsh Fruit & Veg Suppliers of quality Fruit & Veg to Faithlegg and Tower Hotels Waterford For all your fruit & veg requirements call us on

Now’s the time… My Career, My Industry, My Education… There’s never been a better time to take the next step in your hospitality and tourism career… with a variety of flexible learning options, DIT Cathal Brugha Street offers you the chance to upgrade your qualifications. • MSc Hospitality Management/MSc Tourism Management – Part-time (1 day per week in college ) Full-time (2 days per week in college) • BSc (Hons) Hospitality Management (One-Year Add On) – flexible learning opportunities • BA (Ordinary) in Hospitality Management (Part-Time) • Higher Certificate in Hospitality Services Management (Part-Time)

051 873642 or 086 8697731 Mullinabro, Ferrybank, Waterford

• Higher Certificate in Hospitality Management (in association with IHI) (Part-Time)

Contact us TODAY to find out more… Call Mary Dineen, DIT School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, Cathal Brugha St., Dublin 1 on 01 402 4352 or e.mail mary.dineen@dit.ie


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FBD HOTELS

The story is that FBD loaned money to the original hotel owners and from there the business was born. The Temple Bar hotel is located right in the vibrant heart of Dublin’s cultural quarter. It boasts a nightclub and a very busy bar. It’s very well established and has been called the most centrally located hotel in Dublin because of its fine location close to all city amenities. The four-star Faithlegg House Hotel in Waterford has been part the group for 12 years now. It’s a beautifully restored 18th century mansion that’s now a fully equipped leisure resort with all amenities. The Castleknock Hotel and Country Club, is FBD’s most recent development, it would have been the biggest investment for the group during the Celtic Tiger era. It is a purpose built resort and the group was able to use their expertise to design its blueprints to make this property into one that would function and work to fit specific requirements. Now seven years old, it was a huge project for the group. It was originally set up as a corporate hotel, but now because business and the market have changed it is very much a leisure resort with a growing conference business. The Leisure market is the prevalent category of FBD’s business market at the moment. They deal mainly with Irish visitors and visitors from the UK. “We’re the same as anyone else in the market at the moment, in the sense that we’ve seen a

downturn in North American business and to some extent European business,” says Patrick. “We’re very much an Irish group; we cater a lot for the Irish market.” Weddings generate big business in their hotels. Faithlegg House Hotel, Tower Hotel Waterford and the Castleknock Hotel are all well-known and popular wedding destinations today. FBD Property & Leisure also owns and runs two hotel resorts in southern Spain The Sunset Beach Club is a 4star family hotel in Benalmadena, on the Costa del Sol. There’s a very strong link with the Irish market there. A large amount of FBD’s business in Spain would be with Irish customers on holiday so their not relying entirely on the Spanish economy. The group’s other Spanish development is the prestigious four-star La Cala Resort, which is an upscale Andalusian leisure retreat, surrounded by mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It boasts outdoor swimming pools, restaurants, bars,

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FBD HOTELS

residential properties, meeting and sporting facilities all embraced by three championship golf courses, which makes La Cala the biggest golfing resort in all of Spain. The resort is situated only 20 minutes away from Marbella and 30 minutes from Malaga International Airport. FBD Property & Leisure employs close to 600 people at their Irish hotels during peak season and has a further 400 employees in Spain. The group is also very energy conscious, and for instance have installed combined heat and power units that reduce electricity consumption within some of the properties. Along with this they have green teams in each property to ensure that green policies are adhered to and savings are maximized. For example in the Faithlegg House Hotel

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they have utilised the options offered by Flo-Gas and have bulk gas here whilst in other properties are supplied with natural gas, the best of both worlds in energy terms. Business Plan Lernihan agrees that the Internet is the place people go to when choosing a holiday destination today. Especially with popular tourist websites like Trip advisor, which provides unbiased holiday advice and hotel reviews. “In the last year we’ve put a lot of effort into our website, e-commerce and social media. We feel that there’s a large area for growth and we see the Internet as the place where the growth will be.” Patrick thinks the fact that the FBD name has been so well established gives the group a lot of credibility, because people know and recognize it. “People understand that we’re not a hotel group that have massively expanded and overstretched ourselves. We’re very capable of running the properties that we have. During the downturn we’ve certainly had to cut back on a lot of costs and we’ve had to make tough decisions with regards to overheads and costs, but we think that the model we’ve come out with now is a better model. In the last two years we’ve seen a lot of growth in business and average room rates have risen, the goal at the moment is to further increase average room rates.” He reveals that the secret to success for a resilient business is good decisionmaking, working to improve what you already have and not overstepping your capabilities. “It’s a tough industry out there at the moment and has been for the last number of years, we’re in a very lucky position that we weren’t over extended with our borrowings, we’ve managed to sustain our business and change with the times,” he said. “We had to make very difficult decisions with regards to personnel, we had to change our business model, we certainly had to strip out costs and become more streamlined. We’re a small group and we have such a top management structure that we’re able to react very quickly to trends or any situations that may arise.” David Kelly is FBD property & Leisure’s Chief Executive, and has been with the group for 20 years. “Our Chief Executive is very hands on within the group, and knows what’s going on in every hotel and he’s very accessible to us. If a major decision has to be made such as making a change or a purchase, we’re lucky that we can get it made very quickly.” Patrick is proud of his group and regards it in a very good position today, “We’re probably one of the better, 100% Irish owned hotel groups in the country today. We mightn’t be the biggest group, but we are certainly in one of the strongest positions to capitalize on any opportunities that may come up for us.” There are currently no new plans on the table for further FBD projects (or so they say) but the group is always keeping a watchful eye on the market says Patrick, “At the moment there are no immediate plans to expand, we’re looking at growing the businesses we already have.”


m-

FOOD

NEW RESTAURANT MEMBERS Rasam

18-19 Glasthule Road

Dun Laoghaire

Co. Dublin

www.rasam.ie

The Pigs Tale

Main Street

Gorey

Co. Wexford

www.thepigstale.ie

The Gallery Restaurant

25/26 Wilton Shopping Centre Wilton

Co. Cork

Woodhill House

Ardara

Co. Donegal

Alisan Oriental Restaurant

3 Mount Street

Claremorris

Co. Clare

La Bigoudenne

28 Mac Curtain St

Fermoy

Co. Cork

Island View Restaurnat

Dublin Road

Virginia

Co. Cavan

www.stkyrans.com

Co. Waterford

www.ballyrafterhouse.com

@ St. Kyrans Ballyrafter Country House Hotel Lismore The Barony Restaurant

forTHOUGHT

www.woodhillhouse.com

Restaurants Association of Ireland Roadshows Our annual autumn roadshows are well under way where we have hosted meetings in Dublin, Drogheda, Cork and Kerry.

Presentations are given by the Restaurant Association where they update attendees on

Barrack St

Belmullet

Co. Mayo

www.thetalbothotel.ie

Black Bull Inn

Dublin Road

Drogheda

Co. Louth

www.blackbullinn.ie

O'Briens Good Food & Drink

Johnstown Village

Navan

Co. Meath

Harkins Bistro

Dromod Harbour

Dromod

Co. Leitrim

Kashmir Indian Restaurant

Kilderry House

Lower Fair

Co. Galway

www.kashmir.ie

Co. Clare

www.gregans.ie

Co. Dublin

www.siamthai.ie

Presentations are also given by Failte Ireland on Consumer Trends, Menu Planning, Food Costing, Waste Management, & Greener Kitchen’s. We have also had some excellent presentation on Restaurant PR and Social Media with more to follow at the rest of our road-shows. Restaurant Diary, the online booking system used by many members are also giving presentations at the roadshows.

- The Talbot Hotel

● ●

Hill Road Gregans Castle Hotel

Ballyvaughan

Siam Thai Malahide

1 The Green

Siam Thai Dundrum

Dundrum Town Centre

Dublin 14

www.siamthai.ie

Siam Thai Dublin

14-15 St. Andrew Street

Dublin 2

www.siamthai.ie

Siam Thai To Go

12 Ranelagh Village

Dublin 6

www.siamthaitogo.ie

La Banca Restaurant

Main Street, Lucan Village

Lucan

Co Dublin

www.labanca.ie

Breffni Arms Hotel

Main Street

Arvagh

Co. Cavan

www.breffniarms.com

Moloughneys

9 Vernon Avenue

Clontarf

Dublin 3

www.moloughneys.ie

Dunraven Arms Hotel

Main Street

Adare

Co. Limerick

www.dunravenhotel.com

The Kingfishers Kitchen

Fountain View

Enniskerry

Co. Wicklow

Malahide

Upcoming Events 1) Searsons Wine Merchants Expert Seminar Autumn 2012 with Lulie Halstead of Wine Intelligence Ltd – The Shelbourne Hotel, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 from 3-pm. www.searsons.com 2) Dine In Dublin – A bi-annual promotion of all the fantastic food on offer in Dublin’s City Centre. It runs from 22nd28th October, see www.dineindublin.ie 3) HOTREC General Assembly, The Westin Hotel Dublin 24th – 26th October 2012. See http://www.hotrec.eu/ for further details. 4) Savour Kilkenny Food Festival , 25th – 29th October 2012 www.savourkilkenny.com

The Roadshows are held once a year where we host a morning session in a member restaurant in our 9 branches throughout the country. They are open to all restaurateurs, gastro pub owners, cafe owners, Restaurant Manager, Chefs, Sommeliers and Trade Suppliers. They present an excellent opportunity for restaurateurs to network, meet Associate partners of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, fellow industry colleagues and discuss current industry issues.

9am – 12.30pm

Midlands

Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

Tuesday 16th October

9am – 12.30pm

North West

Eala Ban, Rockwood Parade, Sligo

Tuesday 30th October

9am – 12.30pm

South East

Bodega, 54 John St, Waterford City

Tuesday 6th November

9am – 12.30pm

Limerick

Cornstore, 19 Thomas St, Limerick

Official Sponsor of

Official Sponsor of

Patrons:

The Roadshows are excellent forums, where we hear firsthand the real problems facing restaurateurs. We would urge many of you to take a few hours away from your businesses and attend the remaining events. Those who have come so far have been very pleased with the content and the format in which it is presented.

Monday 15th October

Restaurants Association of Ireland

FOODforTHOUGHT

The success of these meetings relies heavily on strong attendance. Our round table workshops proved extremely fruitful and gave rise to great debates which are vital in shaping the direction of the association.

Upcoming Roadshows:

Restaurants Association of Ireland

11 Bridge Court – Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224 P: 353 (01) 677 9901    F:  353 (01) 671 8414    E: info@rai.ie

Calories on menus JLC & Sunday Premium Payments Government Proposals on Sick Pay Scheme European legislation on food labelling and Cooking Oil Recovery Budget 2013

11 Bridge Court – Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224 P: 353 (01) 677 9901    F:  353 (01) 671 8414    E: info@rai.ie

FOODforTHOUGHT

Patrons:


FOODforTHOUGHT

FOODforTHOUGHT

1Life & RISE Coffee Day

Fáilte Ireland Roadshow Presentation

addictive behaviour through awareness, education and therapy, and to combat the associated shame and stigma.   Their services comprise 10-week non-residential and 5-day residential therapeutic Family Programmes with a team of Restaurants all over the country took part in the Coffee experienced counsellors. Their programmes help families Day which was sponsored by Java Republic and Avonunderstand the nature of addiction, teach self-help mechamore. €2 was charged for a cup of coffee, with all of the proceeds nisms and they provide group counselling services. These services are available to people from all communities throughgoing directly to the partnering charities. out the island of Ireland. 

Fáilte Ireland’s presentation on ‘Trends, Supports, Food Costs & Efficiencies’ at our Roadshows proved so informative and interesting for our attendees that we thought we’d share some of the best bits here!

The Restaurants Association of Ireland Benevolent Fund held its first ever Coffee Day on Friday, October 5th in aid of 1Life and The RISE Foundation.

A huge thank you to all who supported the 1Life & RISE Coffee Day, especially the sponsors, participating restaurants and anyone who donated money to these two worthy causes.

When planning your menu, always allow for 4% waste and 9% VAT

Pricing formula: Dish price ÷ Food Cost % x 100 = Selling Price (+VAT)

Surround Costs eg Bread Rolls, butter portion, sauce/ jam sachets, milk could be costing you up to €5000 a year if not taken into consideration

Old, halogen light bulbs are both a heater and a light- 80% of energy used is going to waste!

Operating 2 Bain Marie's (9KWhr) for 16hrs each day costs €4000 a year

Diarmuid Cawley of Fallon & Byrne, Dublin and in 3rd place was Andrejz Dasiak of the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone. The competition has a high profile in the hospitality industry and competitions like this one raise the profile of the Guild amongst wine professionals and drinks suppliers. The Irish Guild of Sommeliers and the Restaurants Association is now in it’s 3rd year of partnership are delighted to announce the dates for their next Sommelier Certificate Course.

Best Sommelier in Ireland Competition 2012 1Life is Irelands only 24 hour Suicide Prevention and Intervention Helpline (1800 247 100, www.1life.ie). The service is manned by fully qualified professional counsellors and therapists who work with callers in their most challenging times of crisis. Over 500 people die by suicide every year in Ireland, and unfortunately, these figures show no signs of dropping soon. No state funding is provided for this service, which relies solely on public support for continued operations. Money raised through their partnership with the Restaurants Association of Ireland goes directly to provision of services from their 24 hour Helpline Centre. Approximately 3,000 calls and text messages are handled monthly, a figure which is steadily increasing in the current economic climate.

The Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, Dublin was the venue for the selection tests for a great sommelier professional competition, namely that of Ireland’s Best Sommelier. Twelve candidates competed in the various selection tests designed by the Irish Guild of Sommeliers competitions committee headed by Guild President Mary O’ Callaghan. The competition required candidates to test their product knowledge, as well as demonstrate their ability to serve correctly. Those along with other practical tests were carried out in a mock-up restaurant scenario. From the extensive questionnaire and wine analysis in the morning session the three candidates for the finals were selected. The winner of the Best Sommelier in Ireland 2012 was Julie Dupouy, Laurent Caubet Wine Importers who will represent Ireland at the World Sommelier Competitions in Japan in 2013. IN 2nd place was

The RISE Foundation (www.therisefoundation.ie) is a registered charity founded in 2008 by the well-known singer Frances Black. The focus is on the families of those with addictive behaviour (alcohol, drugs, gambling, food or sex addiction etc.) and not the person in addiction themselves.  RISE stands for Recovery In a Safe Environment and their mission is to support families impacted by a loved ones Restaurants Association of Ireland

Restaurants Association of Ireland

Official Sponsor of

Official Sponsor of

11 Bridge Court – Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224 P: 353 (01) 677 9901    F:  353 (01) 671 8414    E: info@rai.ie

FOODforTHOUGHT

Patrons:

11 Bridge Court – Citygate - St. Augustine Street - Dublin 8 - Registered Company No. 56224 P: 353 (01) 677 9901    F:  353 (01) 671 8414    E: info@rai.ie

FOODforTHOUGHT

Patrons:

See www.rai.ie for further details


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FOOD TOURISM

Champs return with food for thought 14 emerging food champions, who were recently selected by Fáilte Ireland to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation and encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer, have just returned from a benchmarking programme to Prince Edward County in Canada where they were learning about how the region developed their local experience to create a renowned food tourism destination. These 14 champions were chosen from 160 nominations for their resounding passion and belief in Irish food and for their commitment and drive to actively influence and shape the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region. Canada’s Prince Edward County was chosen for the benchmarking programme because it faces similar challenges to Ireland and has successfully integrated its range of food tourism products and activities with the people behind them. During the programme, the group met with the pioneers of the local food movement and learned how they used quality local produce and food customs to differentiate and successfully position Prince Edward County as a reputable food tourism destination. They were guided around the region by food expert Rebecca LeHeup, Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) who provided them with insights into various initiatives undertaken by the region to promote food tourism. Among

Fáilte Ireland Food Champions Depart for Canada - Pictured are {back row} Brid Torrades, Café Ista/Só, Sligo; Padraig Og Gallagher, Boxty House, Dublin; Therese McDermott, Waterford Festival of Food Ltd, Dungarvan; Colin Jephson, Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Waterford; Anthony Creswell, Ummera Smokehouse, Cork; Fergus O’Halloran, The Twelve Hotel, Barna; Ruth Healy, URRU, Bandon; Yvonne Carty, Hey Pesto!, Offaly and Caoimhe NiDhuibhinn, Fáilte Ireland. {Front row} JP McMahon, EAT Galway; Helen McDaid, John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland and Olivia Duff, Headfort Arms Hotels, Kells, Co Meath. Missing from the picture were: Donal Doherty, Harry’s Restaurant Bridgend, Donegal; Mark K Murphy, Dingle Food Market, Kerry; Siobhan NiGhairbhith, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese, Clare; and Sylvia Meulmeester, Greens Restaurant, Cork.

Emerging Food Champions Name Anthony Creswell Brid Torrades Colin Jephson

Donal Doherty Fergus O’Halloran JP McMahon

Mark K Murphy Olivia Duff Padraig Og Gallagher Ruth Healy Siobhan NiGhairbhith Sylvia Meulmeester Therese McDermott Yvonne Carty

Company Ummera Smokehouse Café Osta/Só Sligo Ardkeen Quality Food Store Harry’s Restaurant The Twelve Aniar Restaurant, Cava Restaurant and Eat Gastropub (EAT Galway) Dingle Food Market Headfort Arms Hotel Boxty House URRU Inagh Farmhouse Cheese Greenes Rest/Cork Food Week Waterford Festival of Food Ltd Hey Pesto!

Town Timoleague Sligo Waterford

County Cork Sligo Waterford

Bridgend Galway Galway

Donegal Galway Galway

Dingle Kells Dublin Bandon Clare Cork

Kerry Meath Dublin Cork Clare Cork

Dungarvan

Waterford

Offaly

Offaly

the successful food tourism initiatives the group sampled and gained learnings from was the Prince Edward County Taste Trail which markets the products and services of Prince Edward County, both inside the County and to a targeted and diverse external market. Speaking about the trip, Helen McDaid, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Tourism Manager said: “With Food Tourism growing significantly over the last decade, many international destinations are now looking to this sector to gain a competitive edge. It’s a serious business as currently 35% of visitor spend here is on food and drink. We can get ahead of the curve by ensuring that we offer visitors the best local and regional food. By showcasing local produce we can really evoke a unique sense of place, and promote Ireland as an unspoilt environment. “Obviously from a tourism perspective how our overseas visitors view and experience Irish food while on holiday here in Ireland is important, not only for tourism, but for the economy. For Ireland to truly triumph in this area we need a communityled approach which is why we appointed these food champions, who have demonstrated true energy and commitment to developing Ireland as a tourism destination. “This learning journey has gone a long way to providing our new champions with much food for thought on how we can develop Ireland’s food offering and they are now primed and ready to take their learnings back to their local communities and networks to start working on how we can transfer this information into practical initiatives for Ireland.” Now as the group returns home they will work together and with their local community to help enhance regional knowledge of local foods and develop engaging food experiences to truly utilise food tourism as a workable economic development strategy.

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BUSINESS SUPPORT

Capital Work Paul Murphy, who worked in various roles in the Hospitality industry at home and abroad before becoming a Client Services Officer with Fáilte Ireland, talks about his role with the Dublin Operations team, which delivers a wide range of business supports to the Capital’s Tourism and Hospitality businesses Dublin is a vibrant and challenging city! The large number of diverse businesses and the variety of services and products available to the domestic and international visitor has never been so great. Dublin has an eclectic mix of operators ranging from small or niche operators to the goliaths of the five star hotel world and large attractions. Working with such a wide range of businesses to provide business supports requires a high degree of flexibility in approach. Very often a different form of support is required. No two businesses are the same and that makes for an interesting dynamic. Businesses are currently under intense pressure to drive costs down and streamline their operations while simultaneously keeping a firm eye on their major objective, to be profitable. This balancing act comes up in conversations I have with clients on a weekly basis. Energy costs continue to rise, the JLC rates (Joint Labour Committees) are back on the agenda and of course the cost of credit is rising all the time. Seeking out new ways to differentiate one’s business, attract new customers or new target markets to grow sales and master the phenomenon of Social Media are now very much at the forefront of the mind of the modern day operator. Negative reviews on websites such as Trip Advisor - seems to have been eclipsed by the growth of the OTA’s (Online Travel Agents). In the first of a series of Breakfast Seminars organised by Fáilte Ireland, guest speaker David Roche (President of Hotels.com, Venere.com and Expedia) spoke openly about the relationship between hotel’s and the OTA giant and global OTA trends. Victoria Delaney of Trip Advisor, made a personal appearance at a Web Check Conference in April of this year, one could sense the excitement at being able to ask the website a question and get a response. Getting face time with these organisations won’t stop the negative reviews from happening and it won’t reduce the OTA’s commission rates but it does help us understand how they operate and allows us to get on with the daily grind, they are here to stay! Having personally worked for many years in the Hospitality industry, I now work 30

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with Fáilte Ireland’s Client Services where my role is about working with businesses to provide appropriate supports. Business support needs are identified through open discussion, carrying out a business diagnostic or via a service assessment. If there is one thing my own industry experience has thought me, it is the importance of standards. Standards provide the backbone for any successful operation. Once developed, implemented and assessed, they provide staff and management with a concrete set of guidelines to ultimately best serve the customer. Standards must be trained and retrained, refreshed and Our Visit Dublin Unit has a executed relentlessly. number of new initiatives We really like to get under the hood rolling out this year including when we work with a business. One of an extensive international the most effective ways we can marketing campaign which examine a business’s level of service is to carry out a Service Assessment - or will be initiated along with a what we commonly call a “Mystery dynamic new brand Shop” where we secretly visit the which will take an establishment (on their request of alternative approach to course) and gauge it from a customers’s promoting Dublin. perspective. These service assessments are instrumental in gathering a snap shot of a business at any point in time, they provide for interesting reading and are an instrumental tool for any manager to assess how they can actually improve the customer experience. Support can then be made available in the form of practical skills training carried out onsite or through our various training programmes such as Service Excellence and Upselling, soft skills training, professional development workshops and so on. Fáilte Ireland provides training at operational; supervisory; management and leadership/executive level. One particularly popular programme is Sales Connect, the bespoke programme is available for Tourism & Hospitality businesses and focusses on the four key markets into Ireland, namely UK; US, Germany and France. The programme provides businesses with the tools and contacts necessary to target these key markets. There is also a newly developed Departmental and


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BUSINESS SUPPORT

Best Spa, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland at the recent 2012 Gold Medal Awards. Pictured L-R Liam Griffin, Managing Director, Griffin Group; Lorna Murphy, Duty Manager; Paul Murphy (Fáilte Ireland) and Mark Browne, General Manager, Monart Destination Spa

Supervisory Management Programme in Culinary, Restaurant and Accommodation which will pilot at the end of October and focusses on standards and soft skills training. The other assistance we can provide to businesses is to create a strong environment for them to thrive in. For example, an array of festivals, events and new initiatives are constantly taking place and we encourage operators to use what is happening in the Capital to sell their own product. Fáilte Ireland is committed to working to making Dublin a very attractive destination and lure greater numbers of visitors. Recently, we launched The Dubline concept (Dublin’s equivalent of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile) and implementation of this project is under development. A fully-interactive and innovative way of telling the Dublin story, the Dubline will be a unique cultural and heritage walking trail running across the city from College Green to Kilmainham by incorporating technology, dynamic signage including wi-fi links, and dedicated branding. Our Visit Dublin Unit has a number of new initiatives rolling out this year including an extensive international marketing campaign which will be initiated along with a dynamic new brand which will take an alternative approach to promoting Dublin. A full schedule of multi-media activity focussing on the key markets of Great Britain, France, Germany and US is planned as part of this campaign and we will be working with our colleagues in Tourism Ireland to press every advantage for Dublin in these markets. Three quarters of all overseas visitors pass through the capital so it is imperative we do all we can to make that experience a world class one. Business tourism is another key area for growth for the Dublin tourism industry. This year, business appears to be booming, as Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau (DCB) announce that business is up by 30% on the same period last year with over €22 million in confirmed business for Dublin. Promoting Dublin as an attractive destination for conferences and events, the DCB team has, this year already completed 141 leads, conducted 20 site inspections and submitted 10 congress bids and is on track to convert €52.5 million euro worth of business tourism to Dublin. Fáilte Ireland supports tourism and tourism businesses. We provide a range of practical business supports to help tourism businesses better manage and market their products and services. To anybody reading this article, I would say that our trainers, mentors and speakers are leading experts in the hospitality industry and can offer practical advice, specific to your business that is immediately applicable. So if you are interested, give us a call. We’re at your service.

For further information on Fáilte Ireland business supports contact your local Client Services Officer, visit our website www.failteireland.ie or email ClientServicesDublin@failteireland.ie

Fáilte Ireland Supports • Onsite and offsite training - All levels/all disciplines from staff to executive management including a new Strategic Leadership programme aimed at General Manager /CEO level • Dedicated Web Supports team offering a range of services including consultancy, Social Media workshops, webinars and dedicated Web Conferences • Professional development programmes such as the newly developed Departmental and Supervisory Management Programme • Sales & Marketing Support including Market your Business Online; Sales Connect; Promotions Ireland and more • Professional Mentoring - Food and Beverage; Finance, Sales and Marketing; Strategy Formulation; Human Resources and Environmental Management • Industry Briefings and key note speakers on global trends, emerging markets and more.

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ONLINE MARKETING

Safer and better online business Introduction Stories of serious data breaches are creeping into the newspapers on a regular basis. Large organizations such as Wyndham Worldwide Group, Radisson Hotels Group, Tripadvisor, Facebook, e-mobile, Meteor and Ulster Bank have been hit in recent times and have received the type of publicity no business needs. If you operate your hotel without the necessary measures to protect your business and your customers from a data breach, you are exposing your business and customers to risk. Without the proper controls your confidential information and your customers’ personal information and credit card details could be hacked into causing immeasurable damage. Bookassist operates in numerous jurisdictions and constantly monitors legislative developments across Europe for the benefit of our hotel clients. Here, I provide information on the standards and legislation in place to help protect your business and customer. I also highlight what actions have been taken by Bookassist to protect our hotel clients and their customers. 1. PCI DSS What is PCI DSS? Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) are technical and operational standards that were created by the major credit cards companies (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) in 2004. The current version of PCI DSS was released in October 2010. The standards apply to all organisations who store, transmit or process cardholder data. PCI DSS is an industry standard and is not a legal requirement in Ireland. The aim of PCI DSS is to assist in the prevention of fraud. Being PCI DSS compliant does not mean that you wont have a data breach but it does mean that in the event of a data breach arising, the credit card companies will support you. What you should/shouldn’t do? • For starters, hotels or any business should not under any circumstances store CVC (card verification code) numbers. CVC numbers are personal numbers on credit cards and are similar to a personal signature. In the event of fraud arising, card details without CVC numbers are less useful to fraudsters.

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• Access to machines which hold reservation information should be restricted and passwords should not be shared between staff. • Cardholder information should not be kept or transmitted in an unsecure manner. Where you are sending or receiving cardholder information by fax or email, you need to ensure that the network used is secure and encrypted to protect the information. Standard email is not secure and shouldn’t be used for credit cards by anyone. The strongest risk in hotels is actually with credit card details on fax paper or printed emails being left lying around. • Staff should be trained on the importance of protecting cardholder data. Consequences of non-compliance? Non-compliant businesses can face fines from the credit card companies, brand damage, potential lawsuits, insurance claims, difficult business conditions and a negative impact on customers. In the case of the data breach suffered by the Radisson Group, they had to contact guests to ask them to check their account statements for unauthorized purchases - hardly good for your image. Wyndham Worldwide Group were recently charged by the Federal Trade Commission in the US for three alleged separate data breaches which, it is claimed by the FTC, resulted in $10.6m lost to fraud. How Bookassist complies with PCI DSS. Bookassist takes compliance with PCI DSS seriously and we go to considerable effort and cost to achieve the standards of compliance. All clients of the Bookassist system must sign up to the PCI DSS standards, all access to our system is logged and access to the system is password protected (which needs to be re-set every 90 days). CVC numbers are not logged on the Bookassist system and are not available to hotels in accordance with PCI DSS. Customer cardholder data can only be viewed for up to one month following the customer’s departure date. After that date, the information is automatically deleted from the Bookassist system and cannot be retrieved. In addition to this, Bookassist have a dedicated Security Officer with responsibility for all PCI DSS compliance and security issues, a full incident response team and response plan in the event of any issues arising and staff on call 24/7/365. We have invested heavily in hardware and software to ensure security and monitoring and we have an annual external audit, part of which consists of hack attempts at our systems and monitoring how these attempts are dealt with automatically by our system. At Bookassist we feel that the investment we have made in PCI DSS compliance is important for us and for our hotel clients. 2. Data Protection What is Data Protection? Data Protection is the protection of personal data. Personal data means “data relating to a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the data controller.” The protection of personal data is a legislative requirement that stems from the Data Protection Acts 1988 - 2003. Data Protection legislation is EU driven. The main Data Protection principles are as follows; (i) data must be obtained and processed fairly, (ii) it must only be kept for lawful purposes, (iii) data must only be processed for the purpose intended, (iv) data must be kept secure, accurate and up to date, and (v) data must only be retained for as long as it is necessary. In Ireland the Data Protection Commissioner has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the legislation and for taking proceedings if needs be against persons or businesses who are in breach of the legislation. In recent times, the Data Protection Commissioner has taken proceedings against e-mobile and Meteor for data breaches relating to the theft of two unencrypted laptops containing details of over 10,000 customers. Both companies pleaded guilty to the charges and received the Probation Act provided that they make donations to charity of €15,000 each.


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ONLINE MARKETING 3. Each time you send a marketing message, you give the customer the right to object to receipt of further messages; and 4. The sale of the product or service occurred not more than twelve months prior to the sending of the electronic marketing communication or, where applicable, the contact details were used for the sending of an electronic marketing communication in that twelve month period. NOTE: In relation to 4 above, if the subscriber fails to unsubscribe, they are deemed to have remained opted-in for a further twelve month period from the date of the most recent marketing email. The Bookassist system records for the hotel whether or not the customer has consented to receiving emails from the hotel and also the date of the booking to help the hotel to comply with the Guidelines.

Consequences of non-compliance? Under the current legislation, non-compliance with data protection can attract fines of up to €100,000, criminal proceedings, civil proceedings by individuals and reputational damage. On 25th January 2012 the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding announced significant future reforms of Europe’s data protection legislation. As part of the reforms heavier fines for non-compliance were announced - up to €1 million or 2% of global annual revenue for data breaches. How Bookassist assists hotels with compliance When guests are inputting their booking details on client hotel sites, the Bookassist system only requests information necessary for the completion of the booking process. In addition guests are requested to tick a box (opt in) to confirm if they want to receive any emails / marketing information directly from the client hotel. The Bookassist system then logs all access to the system. For email marketing campaigns, it is important that the Guidelines set out by the Data Protection Commissioners are followed. These Guidelines state that: Where you have obtained contact details in the context of the sale of a product or service, you may only use these details for direct marketing by electronic mail if the following conditions are met: 1. The product or service you are marketing is of a kind similar to that which you sold to the customer at the time you obtained their contact details; 2. At the time you collected the details, you gave the customer the opportunity to object, in an easy manner and without charge, to their use for marketing purposes;

3. Consumer Protection What are the main principles? In all transactions between businesses and consumers it is important that the information used is clear and transparent at all times. In Ireland the legislation stems from the Consumer Protection Act 1978 but in more recent decades it is mainly EU driven. The legislation is constantly being updated to increase the requirements on businesses to protect consumers especially for online consumer transactions. How does Bookassist assist hotels? The Bookassist booking process is a clear three step process. At each stage of the booking process, the customer is asked to give their confirmation to move to the next stage. It is also made clear to the customer at all times what the total price of the room/package they are booking is and whether or not they are to pay a deposit at the time of booking. Conclusion Bookassist takes PCI DSS, Data Protection and Consumer Protection compliance seriously and invests effort, time and money on compliance on behalf of our clients. It is critical that your business is not exposed by dealing with non-compliant partners. The consequences of not checking your suppliers’ credentials could be enormous.

Elaine McCormack is Legal Counsel at Bookassist (bookassist.org), the technology and online strategy partner for hotels. Bookassist provides Site Builder web design, Traffic Builder PPC management and Booking engine services to drive direct business to hotels.

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LOCAL PRODUCE

Duck for two

With 2012 marking the milestone of 50 years in business for Silver Hill Foods in Emyvale, County Monaghan, renowned Irish chef Paul Flynn is cooking up a storm on the menu in his Dungarvan restaurant The Tannery, using the company’s duck product.

Experience with Food The successful restaurateur’s career took off when, at just 23 years old, he became Head Chef at a two Michelin star restaurant in London called Chez Nico. Being in charge of the kitchen in one of just four Michelin star restaurants in Britain at the time, Paul Flynn was the youngest Head Chef in London. After spending a number of years gaining experience and further developing his flair for cooking, the Dungarvan raised chef brought his extensive knowledge and passion for food to the table when he opened his acclaimed restaurant, The Tannery, with his wife Máire in 1997 in his County Waterford hometown. Contrary to the popular misconception that dishes served in leading restaurants involve the more unusual ingredients, Paul Flynn says, “I don’t believe that you have to spend a fortune on having a really expensive dinner. I really like to take simple ingredients and give them a bit of style.” Association with Silver Hill Foods A recent addition to the menu in The Tannery is the old fashioned Roast Duck for 34

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LOCAL PRODUCE With the Silver Hill duck proving so popular on his menu, the talented restaurateur speaks highly of the product he sources from the North Monaghan supplier. “Sometimes figures tell you what could never be told in words. Silver Hill provides 99 per cent of duck for oriental menus in the UK. The company’s attention to detail is 100 per cent and the product speaks for itself - it is superb.” Local is Best Responsible for managing the development of the Silver Hill Foods business, Ms Eustace speaks of the inspiration she gets from the “vision, innovation and energy” of the company. Silver Hill Foods and leading Irish restaurants like The Tannery share a very important value in commitment to quality.

“ We are on the cusp of growth in the Irish duck industry. Great chefs in Ireland are using quality Irish produce and supermarkets are also playing a central role in educating the public

Two which has proven so popular with diners that Paul says, “no dish has ever received a reaction as positive as this, which in 15 years of business, is the best by a country mile.” Although duck has been used occasionally in The Tannery for the past five years, Paul is certain that, “it is Silver Hill that has made the difference and this is evident in the diners’ reaction”. As we continue to battle the economic woes of Ireland in 2012, there is a silver lining to the cloud of economic depression, and this silver lining is in relation to the renewed awareness of Irish produce in supermarkets and restaurants. There is an increased consumer desire to seek out the local Irish product, whether through choosing the dish that has the most locally sourced ingredients on a menu, or by choosing an Irish branded product over an imported equivalent in the supermarket. Considering the pioneering role Silver Hill Foods has played in exporting food products to the European and Chinese markets and beyond in the last number of decades, the renewed demand for Irish food produce is good news to the highly respected duck company. As Jenny Eustace, Silver Hill’s Business Development Manager for Ireland says, “we are on the cusp of growth in the Irish duck industry. Great chefs in Ireland are using quality Irish produce and supermarkets are also playing a central role in educating the public.” With Silver Hill duck appearing on menus in renowned restaurants like The Tannery in Dungarvan, Ms Eustace says, “people taste it and are blown away, and come back for more. This is especially notable with people who say they don’t like it and when they taste it, they love it.” Paul Flynn, who promotes Irish food as a Brand Ambassador for Lidl, knows from listening to visitors to The Tannery that locally sourced food on the menu, “makes a difference because customers relate to it.”

Established Irish businesses, like Silver Hill Foods in North Monaghan or The Tannery Restaurant, Townhouse and Cookery School in the Waterford seaside town of Dungarvan, will always have a valued place in the local community, and this is more evident now than ever before. With businesses up and down the country struggling to stay afloat in the prevailing economic downturn, the proverb about an ill wind blowing no good comes to mind. Undoubtedly the country’s finances seem to be worsening all the time, and obviously this is hindering promise of any real economic recovery in the near future. However, through our desperation and determination to support our businesses, we are going back to our roots and our tendency to buy Irish is evident in the supermarket, or in our choice of dishes made with local ingredients in restaurants. As Jenny Eustace of Silver Hill Foods says, “there was a time in Irish cooking when if it wasn’t French, it wasn’t cool.” But the recession has certainly brought about a massive change in that we prefer the home-grown ingredient, whether we are cooking for ourselves or dining out. The remarkable popularity of the Silver Hill Roast Duck for Two on the menu in The Tannery is just one example of how Irish sourced ingredients of the highest quality are perhaps now more appealing to the consumer than ever before. Caroline Leddy H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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MANAGEMENT

Fáilte Ireland Executive Management Development Programme 2012-2013 By Conor McTernan Fáilte Ireland designed, developed and implemented their Executive Management Development Programme in November 2004 and since then over 200 of Ireland’s hotel owners, directors, general managers and entrepreneurs within the hospitality industry have participated. The programme offers a curriculum that is flexible to ensure it meets the prevailing industry conditions and each year is tweaked, extended or includes a change of focus. This programme includes a series of day and residential workshops which are held regionally and a module focusing on Innovation and Dynamic Management, which is held in Ithaca, New York, at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. In addition participants undertake a series of six web-based learning courses from Cornell each allocated with three weeks to complete. The completion of all six courses will lead to a certificate in Strategic Hospitality Management accredited by Cornell. The programme cost, inclusive of flights, accommodation, meals, Faculty and other learning resources, is €4000.

“ The group have just finished their first residential module on Strategy and Marketing which took place at Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork in September and have since started their second web-based eCornell module

Now in its eighth year, the 2012-2013 programme began with induction on June 20th and will culminate in June 2013 with a graduation ceremony in Trinity College Dublin. There are twenty-six participants in total enrolled on this year’s programme. The group have just finished their first residential module on Strategy and Marketing which took place at Inchydoney Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork in September and have since started their second webbased eCornell module. This programme is a serious opportunity for any person working in the hospitality sector that wants to invest in and develop

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Tim Whyte, Prof. Fran Roche, Aidan Dempsey & Michael Griffin

a better future for their business. Karl Reinhardt, Manager of Loughrea Hotel & Spa, Galway thinks so – “I wanted to get some good clear time to think about my business, and it’s difficult to do so when you’re in the middle of it. This course is the perfect opportunity to do so.” Karl believes that the most important aspect of the course is strategic management – “It’s about putting focus on your business strategically and the importance of putting plans in place, not just letting the business drift on. The outcome is putting a structure in place to manage your business internally and to face the external environment.” Although the course is still very macro at this stage, ultimately the end goal will be for people to have an understanding of how they will go about putting together a new strategic plan for their business. For Karl the target is, “Over a number of months, producing a strong, stable and structured plan for the entire business. But you have to put in the work, you only get out of these things what you put into them.” Equally important as all the general learning that takes place on this course is the brainstorming and networking between the class - “Getting 26 people sitting together who are all doing the same thing, we’re all facing the same issues. You can’t beat the learning you get from interacting with others.” Says Mr. Reinhardt. Lynn Cawley, manager of The Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport agrees, “The sharing of ideas between others all in the same situation as yourself has been really invaluable so far,” she said. Most participants agree that like any exam, there may be the last minute cramming sessions and rush to get assignments in before deadline, but if one can allocate themselves enough time, roughly between ten to twelve hours per week throughout each module they will have no problem getting everything done in time. Des McCann, the new manager of The Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin is pleased with the programme in relation to study-time, “When you’re running a business, it’s always tough on time. What I usually do is go and lock myself in a meeting room in the hotel after work and spend a few hours doing my coursework. What’s great about this programme is that it works in short spurts of time so it’s not constantly hanging over your head,” says Des. Mr. McCann’s hotel has just undergone a name change from The Berkeley Court Hotel to The Clyde Court Hotel, “I only took over the hotel in February so it’s very


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MANAGEMENT important that I have a good strategy going forward and that the plans are long term and not just going day by day.” He continues: “The course stresses a lot about making sure you have a target market and that you weren’t trying to please everybody as that’s just not possible. For me it’s very much the corporate side of the business that I need to focus on, it’s really made me think Maura Harris, Mary Hall & Barry Kilroy more about how I’m marketing the hotel All participants are assigned and to make sure that I’m marketing it to the same tutor but the through the right avenues, to the right tutor changes for each people. I do think the course is run very module, so there’s a well, what’s really good is that the pronounced learning people you are listening to are very variety. There are also online knowledgeable but they also have a discussion forums where lot of experience, and there are different members can ask questions experts speaking every time the and interact with both their group meets.” Participants submit their assignments tutors and each other online and can receive feedback from their Cornell based tutors in less than a day. All participants are assigned to the same tutor but the tutor changes for each module, so there’s a pronounced learning variety. There are also online discussion forums where members can ask questions and interact with both their tutors and each other. The programme is generating a lot of hype within the industry and participants in

EMDP 2012-2013 highly recommend it. “All of my bosses, who are former Jury’s hoteliers and also some of the top people in the hotel industry, have done this course. They were the ones that recommended it to me and I would definitely recommend it to others,” says McCann. Maura Harris, Financial Controller at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Kerry also agrees – “I’m an accountant by profession, what I want is a management qualification and this particular course is in-depth without being too cumbersome, it doesn’t require a couple of years like a degree but it covers enough to be meaningful.” Tim Whyte, Manager at Dublin’s Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, has lectured on the programme in the past and considers it an essential must for any general manager, “I would not have attended this course unless I believed that there was real merit in being part of the learning. I think that once you reach GM level in a hotel/catering business then you should be doing this course.” He has nothing but praise for the organisers – “I’ve known Mary Hall for a few years and I admire her devotion and professionalism. For many she is the face of the programme and merits much of the plaudits. The organisers and lecturers have been very helpful and also challenging, this is pushing you to think differently.” Des O’ Dowd, proprietor of the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa who completed last year’s programme in June 2011 said: “I have recently completed the Fáilte Ireland Executive Management

“ The content was appropriate, the lecturers were engaging and the Cornell link was outstanding. This is something we should be really proud of and if we could, make more of

Development Program. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and have post graduate qualifications in marketing from the Institute of Marketing and in management from UCC and I have to say that this was the most interesting, stimulating and relevant course I have experienced. The content was appropriate, the lecturers were engaging and the Cornell link was outstanding. This is something we should be really proud of and if we could, make more of.” Any queries in relation to the programme should be directed to the Course CoOrdinator Mary Hall at Fáilte Ireland. (mary.hall@failteireland.ie/01-8847756). H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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Back in Business Based on data provided by STR Global, the Dublin hotel market experienced a 10.7% increase in RevPAR for the first eight months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. This growth was largely driven by enhanced rate achievability on the back of stronger demand. The city’s RevPAR is however still far off the peak levels witnessed in 2007. Ireland’s capital and arguably its most prosperous city, Dublin’s population stands at just under 1.3 million in the city and suburbs. Although Dublin’s share of the urban population has dropped over the past 50 years from 51% in 1961 to 39% in 2011 due to the rising importance of other urban centres such as Cork, Galway and Waterford, the city is still rapidly expanding with 7.2% growth between 2006 and 2011. Dublin has attracted a large number of pharmaceutical, telecommunications and IT companies, many of which have chosen to locate European headquarters or operational bases there, increasing its importance as a regional economic centre. Home to hubs of pharmaceutical, medical and technological manufacturing bases, and bustling commercial districts, Dublin is established as an attractive location in which to do business. Currently named City of Science 2012, selected as the fourth UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, and host to the European City of Culture in 1997, Dublin is a thriving European capital city and a major tourist hub with a buoyant tourism economy attracting visitors from around the world. In 2011, the city welcomed 3.7 million overseas visitors bringing in €1.2 billion in revenue. Steeped in history and culture, attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, Dublin Zoo, Temple Bar and numerous museums, galleries and parks attract visitors from around the world. Recent developments continue to boost tourism including the opening of the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD), the Aviva Stadium (and conference centre), the Bord Gais Grand Canal Theatre, the extended O2 at the Point Village and Terminal II at Dublin Airport. The airport served 18.7 million passengers in

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2011, with prospects for growing this number now more visible following the opening of a second terminal in late 2010 which increased capacity to 35 million passengers. The UK remains the single biggest market with virtually all British airports offering connections to Dublin. In 2011, 39% of international visitors to the city were from Mainland Europe, with 36% being from Great Britain and 18% from the USA. Historically, numbers from Great Britain were far greater than currently recorded, with the decline being due to a number of factors including exchange rates, competition from other European cities and reduced disposable income in the UK as a result of the economic downturn. Dublin’s Hotel Market Dublin, along with much of the Irish hotel market, has recently experienced consecutive years of poor performance due to the global economic downturn, a weak Irish economy and severe over-supply of hotel stock in many sub segments of the city following a pattern of extensive development. Although Dublin city centre is not considered over supplied, outskirts areas such as the airport and the Naas Road are. Many development projects have come to a halt with some part-built projects having little prospect for completion. According to data released by Fáilte Ireland, Dublin’s registered room stock is understood to be just over 18,500, a 37% increase on levels recorded in 2005. The increase was evident both in quantum and quality, with most of the new additions being in the 4 and 5-star segments. The city’s new supply provided a welcome enhancement to the overall quality of the capital’s tourist offering, further shaping it as a destination for leisure and corporate visitors alike. Since the peak in 2010, supply has decreased slightly, due to the closure of some properties (e.g. the Montrose, the Royal Dublin, Ormond Quay Hotel and Chief O’Neill’s which was converted to a hostel). The pipeline for new development is limited, with the exception of a recently sold part-completed Docklands hotel which is due to open in Spring 2013. When opened, “The Marker” will offer 187 rooms, food and beverage and banquet facilities as well as meeting rooms and a spa. Based on research into the market, although planning has been granted for further hotels in Dublin, there are currently no other confirmed new openings. Planning permission for a hotel to the rear of the CCD in Spencer Dock was refused in mid 2008, mainly due to the height of the building (152m over 35 stories). With a proposed room stock of c.450, this hotel would have been a welcome addition to the Spencer Dock area and to support the CCD. Despite weak economic conditions in Ireland, the city remains an attractive location for businesses due to its accessible location, low administrative barriers to entry, low local corporation tax rate and highly skilled workforce. With a multinational corporate presence, ongoing inward investment and a vibrant tourist economy, demand for hotel accommodation in Dublin remains strong. Hotel Market Performance Dublin generally experiences strong weekend leisure demand, particularly during the hosting of festivals, concerts and sporting events, whilst mid-week demand is generally related to corporate and group traveller markets and event related business. Seasonally, Dublin’s demand peaks from May to September, when occupancy above 80% can be achieved. The following chart displays the performance of the market over the last two years, by month, based on occupancy and ARR (Average Room Rate). By year-end 2011, an 11.6% increase in RevPAR (Revenue per available room) was witnessed against results for 2010, however it is


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important to remember that severe declines were witnessed in 2008 and 2009 therefore all subsequent years are being compared to a low base. According to data from STR Global, 2011 saw RevPAR growth against 2010 for virtually every month, with February, May and July showing the most pronounced levels, at around 20%. This strong trading resulted in an overall double-digit increase in RevPAR for the full year with a €6 gain per available room achieved as a result of increases in both occupancy (up 4 ppts to 71.2%) and ARR (up 5.4% to €81.61). The CCD has created an unprecedented demand base for many of the city’s hotels since opening in 2010. It brings thousands of delegates to the city from discerning groups in the fields of science, pharmaceuticals, medicine, technology and many other sectors. In July, the CCD hosted EuroScience Open Forum, which is the largest general science meeting in Europe. With a multitude of events confirmed up to 2018, it is hoped this venue will continue to produce many thousands of hotel roomnights for the city. While new demand generators will continue to impact favourably on trading potential, it is however likely to take some time before the excess hotel supply in certain areas of the city will be absorbed, with dated/underinvested and unbranded hotels likely to see much slower recovery. The following table illustrates year-to-date figures to August 2012, set against the same period in 2011, provided by STR Global. As roomnight demand (occupancy) has strengthened over the last eight months, hoteliers’ yield management strategies have enabled higher rate achievability from both leisure and corporate segments. According to YTD figures, the market has witnessed a 10.7% lift in RevPAR so far this year, lead mainly by ARR which saw a 8.1% growth to reach €87.50. This growth can be attributed to a general boost in demand and visitation to Dublin, enhanced consumer confidence, and the slight weakness of the Euro against the GBP and US Dollar. Performance has also been heightened by the hosting of large one-off events that were not hosted the previous year. Outlook The Government’s decision to continue the decreased VAT level of 9% (first introduced in July 2011) on certain goods and services reaffirms its ongoing commitment to the tourism and hospitality industry and has enabled individual businesses to regain some level of growth. Tourism numbers are reported to be on the increase, with 8.8% growth in visitor numbers to Dublin in 2011. Ease of access via low cost and other airlines, coupled with favourable exchange rates against GBP£ and USD$ should continue to attract visitors to the city. Initiatives such as ‘the Gathering’ are also likely to have a positive impact on the hotel market next year.

Prospects for Dublin remain positive, with indications that the city’s hotel market will continue to strengthen as a result of ongoing growth, investment and enhanced visitor numbers. Double digit growth is still being witnessed as performance is compared against low historical years, however growth levels are likely to reach more normalised levels linked to inflation as the market stabilises. The increase in rooms and overall quality of supply has enhanced Dublin’s positioning as a destination city on the international arena, while helping it gain importance as a major European hub for visitation and investment. A recently published study by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) titled ‘Capitalising on Dublin’s potential’ suggested that “by 2015 additional bedroom stock may need to be planned for subsequent years - possibly of the order of an additional 5,000 rooms by 2020”. Recent hotel market performance, uplifts in tourism numbers and findings from studies such as from ITIC all lead to the conclusion that Dublin and its hotel market will continue to prosper. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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BUSINESS ADVICE

Keep your lenders happy by being prepared By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail - Benjamin Franklin Adapt or die One of the certainties in life is that change happens in every business no matter how well prepared management is. Recent statistics from Kavanagh Fennell’s insolvencyjournal.ie show that the number of receiverships increased 34% from the Q3 2011 period to Q3 2012. As the winter season beckons and cash flow starts to dry up, there is a real fear in the hospitality and tourism sector that receivership or examinership await for even more businesses. What if yours is one of them? We all know that change is inevitable and we also know that embracing change is crucial to survival buthow do you apply that principle when you’re experiencing the worst case scenario? I propose to outline just how critical your attitude to change can be in the transition to a bank or institution having a more active role in the running of your business. I’ll also set out some practical things you can do to encourage lenders to take a more benign view of your predicament. Letting go I recently switched from PC to Mac after much deliberation and many happy years using Microsoft products. One of my main reasons for changing was to make full use of the App Store and the superfast and constantly improved iOS operating system. Since Apple is the world’s second strongest brand (Coca Cola is the first) trading at nearly $700 per share, I figured

they had to be doing something right. To say it was a big change is an understatement;no amount of research and planning can prepare you for leaving your computing comfort zone. As the techie in the shop said, “It’s like learning a new language” and he was right about that. I also had to learn to let goof PC mode. Learning to let go of the old reality is one of the key factors in embracing change and is just as important as grappling with the new circumstances. Let’s say things hit rock bottom this winter in your tourism business. The sooner you realize that you need help the better. You’ve probably already let go of the Celtic Tiger way of thinking but are you clutching onto the head-down-and-keep-going mentality? Let go and look around you. Be honest with yourself and your team. If you decide to go to your lender, be honest with them. It sounds easy but it is probably a terrifying time. The motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy describes fear as “false experiences appearing real” and when you think about it, he has a point. The things we worry about most are probably those that never happen. Instead of putting the energy into worrying, why not put it into preparing, being ready?It’s far better to know how bad things are rather that not to be sure. Successful business people are always thinking of contingencies. When the shock happens, even if it isn’t the shock they were expecting, because they are used to being prepared, they have the right attitude to deal with those unforeseen circumstances. Survival of the best adapter The recession has gone on so long that no business can possibly say there was no warning about the current difficult trading circumstances. Tourism businesses thathave failed to adapt to the new reality are gone or struggling. Rather than survival of the fittest, it is a case of survival of the most adaptable. Hospitality and tourism businesses that have accepted the changed consumer landscape and that have changed their business models have a far greater chance of survival. If your business is suffering and you need support (whether you want it or not), there are things you can do to make the transition smoother and the arrangement workable. Many of the below points are related to the concept of accepting the new circumstances and being in a state of mental preparedness.

Weldon Mather

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Do have the figures The most important part of your business jigsaw right now is proper management accounts and forecasts for presentation to your lender or shareholders. The Uniform System of Accounts is widely used by bigger properties but is sadly


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lacking in smaller operations. There are too many businesses operating with patchy financial information and consequently no idea of how their business is actually performing. Don’t hesitate to ask your accountant to provide analysis of your profit and loss accounts by type: rooms, food and beverage, leisure and other. In this way you can get an accurate picture of how each department is performing and take remedial action if there are issues. Waiting to get your half-yearly reports is pointless. Problems will have gone undetected for too long. Demand clear and precise accounts because if you don’t understand your costs, then you don’t understand your business. Don’t forget the business plan which should also complement any forecasts and projections. Do have a cash flow projection Many business owners are still unsure about profit and loss and, most importantly,cash flow. The banks are no longer focused on forecasted profitabilitythey want to see what cash the business can generate in the short term to cover capital and interest (C&I) and if this can at least be replicated in the following year. That’s all that really matters when a credit committee is deciding whether to support a business.By demonstrating a clear understanding of the cash flow forecast, lenders will be far more comfortable with extending credit terms or restructuring a loan. Don’t hide it If there is one thing that banks hate it’s surprises: keep in constant touch with your lender and be up front about any potentially cash consuming issues that may occur in the future. Give the true picture; don’t try to hide anything. Don’t fudge it Another fatal mistake is overpromising on cashflow and consequently not delivering as agreed. Remember that in most cases your lender holds all the cards and will decide whether you remain in business or if the dreaded receiver is appointed. Be open to changing the way you do business and accepting that your lender wants to hear words like “partnership” and “cash contribution”. Team talk The quality and calibre of management is also critical to continued bank support. If the executive team can come across as being united, commercially focused and mostly importantly open to change, the lender will factor it into their deliberations. It’s really important that management is actively adapting to the new circumstances by demonstrating not only what savings and changes have been achieved already in the hotel or restaurant, but also what is planned for the following twelve months.

To summarise, even where your business has had to resort to unpalatable arrangements with lenders, you can still use your mental preparedness for change to smooth over the transition and get the best outcome for your ailing business. Lenders like robust financial accounting, accurate cashflow forecasts, a proactive and united management team, and constant, open communication. Back to my new laptop for a second. By trying a different way of computing I wanted to see if Apple is really all it’s cracked up to be. More importantly, I wanted to become familiar with a different operating system even if that meant experiencing change, uncertainty and a steep learning curve. I could have stayed in my comfort zone but then I wouldn’t have challenged myself to try new things and find different ways of doing things. Business is no different. As an independent hospitality and tourism consultant, I regularly come into contact with business people who are finding new ways of doing things and constantly preparing for change. These people are not about to become another statistic. Don’t forget that there are a number of agencies providing supports including Fáilte Ireland, the County Enterprise Boards and trade associations. Weldon Mather is an independent hospitality and tourism consultant in the hotel, restaurant and pub sector. He works with business owners and managers, banks, receivers, liquidators and investors. Tel: +353 86 8684441 www.wmconsultancy.ie H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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Parma shows the way to food marketing Frank Corr visits the Italian city which protects its food brands ‘Il Correggio’ painted the copula of the Duomo, Toscanini was born there and Verdi lived just down the road, but Parma remains a city of ham and cheese. This ancient settlement on the Roman Via Emilia has been host to the Etruscans and the Bourbons and is to-day a thriving community of 200,000 people including thousands of students who attend its famous university. It is also very much a ‘food town’ in which the fierce pride in its two worldfamous products Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, is evident in shops, restaurants, factories and farms. It finds its most potent expression however in the award of the EU’s ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ standard to both products. PDO was created by the European Union to help consumers by informing them about the specific features of food products, and to protect their geographical appellations against imitations. It officially guarantees the origin and quality of products with a history and tradition behind them and while it is not easily achieved, it confers on the products an enviable

Parma Ham and Parmigiano cheese - two world-class food products

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exclusivity and very often a premium price. Parma is fortunate in having two food products which achieved international recognition over many centuries, but other PDO foods are known only in their locality or region. Ireland has fared poorly in gaining recognition with only four products so far certified by the EU and only one of these (Imokilly Regato) protected by a PDO. Three others (Connemara Hill Lamb), Clare Island Salmon and Timoleague Brown Pudding are certified to the ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ (PGI) designation. The UK has registered 50 products such as beers, ciders, cheeses, sausages, clotted cream, fish (including Lough Neagh eels) and fruit (including Armagh bramleys), but it too is way behind the numbers registered in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Achieving PDO means that food producers are protected against anybody else claiming that particular product. Only ham from Parma for instance can be called ‘Parma Ham’ and officially-designated ‘Parma Ham’ must be made according to strict rules agreed with the EU By law, only hams produced and cured in the hills around Parma may become Parma Hams. The pigs used in production (Landrace or Duroc) must have been bred in ten northern and central Italian regions. They are fed on cereals and whey and are tattooed with their birth-date and farm code. At Eli Proscciutti in Traversetolo, one of 160 producers in the area, we watched fresh hams being processed in a modern plant built in 2004. They are delivered from a local abattoir and are trimmed to maintain the traditional “chicken leg” shape, losing some 24% of their weight in muscle and fat. Each leg is then stamped with the date of its arrival. Wet salt is applied to the skin of the ham and dry salt to the exposed flesh. The hams are then hung for about a week in a refrigerated chamber. The salt which has not been absorbed is then brushed off, and the hams are given a sensorial analysis


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Hams are salted prior to curing at a plant near Parma

by experts trained in detecting nasty aromas or textures. If the hams pass the examination, they are ready to be re-salted and put into a second cold storage room where they stay for 15 to 18 days. They then move to a ‘resting room where they are kept at between 1C and 5C with a relative humidity of 75%. During their 7 to 8 week stay, the salt penetrates more deeply into the meat. The hams are now washed and when they have dried, they are moved to the curing rooms where they will stay for three months. The exposed meat is very delicate at this stage and must be covered with suino, a mixture of lard, a little salt and pepper (and sometimes ground rice ). The hams are moved to darkened rooms to complete their ageing. After 12 months, they will be tested again, and only then will they be branded with the Ducal Crown, symbol of guaranteed quality. After 14 months they will have lost around 30% of their total weight. It is a long slow process, but the benefits of delicate ageing were demonstrated to us by Diego Sorba in his Tabarro wine bar. Diego worked for Sheridans Cheese in Galway and is a keen rugby fan, so some of the chat was about the visit to Parma that weekend by Connaught. Most however was about ham- how to choose, how to store, how to hand carve and how to get delicately coloured meat (from the middle of the ham). He produced a local malvasia wine as an accompaniment and it worked marvellously.

Unpasteurised milk becomes Parmigiano cheese at a dairy near Parma

Early next morning we were in the Caseifico San Lucio dairy in the Parma hills watching unpasteurised milk arriving from local farms. Within an hour this will become world-famous Parmigiano cheese thanks to a special EU dispensation which allows the product to be made from raw milk. Parmigiano-Reggiano must be made from cows milk originating within a restricted area that includes Parma, Reggiano Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantova. The hard, fat granular cheese is cooked rather than pressed using traditional methods handed down for more than eight centuries. The addition of natural rennet coagulates the milk into cheese and the blocks are placed in moulds and immersed in salt water for 20-25 days prior to entering the

“cascina”, for maturing. The cheese then undergoes a long process of ageing of up to 24 months. Grades of of Parmigiano are given red, silver or gold seals indicating their age with three year old gold cheese achieving top price. The ham and cheese producers of Parma have worked hard for their PDO status, but they are also enjoying a pay-off. Legal protection for their product has prevented food processors from passing off powdered cheese for pastas and pizzas as ‘Parmigiano’ or ‘Parmesan’ while the marks, labels and symbols on every cheese wheel guarantees a premium price in almost all markets. They are also reaping the benefit of the EU ‘Discover the Origin’ Campaign which is designed to raise consumers’ awareness of Parma Ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Burgundy Wines, Douro wines and Port. All of these have been produced over the centuries, often by artisan craftsmen and winemakers who have handed down their techniques over the generations, often within the same family. The campaign aims to highlight not only the provenance and quality of these foods and wines, but also the importance of sharing meals with friends and family. EU funds enable the producer groups to organise visits from media, chefs and major food buyers while marketing specialists have been hired to produce recipe books and promotional materials. The retail and restaurant trade is also being targeted via a three year national programme. Trainee chefs and sommeliers will be challenged to create innovative dishes while wine merchants will be encouraged to enter a competition to see who can put together the most eye-catching display of these wines. Other activities will include trade exhibitions and masterclasses. Protection from imitation however remains the principal benefit of PDO. Based on a Council of Ministers Regulation, the law is already strictly enforced within the EU and is being gradually expanded internationally via bilateral agreements. The purpose of the law is to protect the reputation of the regional foods, promote rural and agricultural activity, help producers obtain a premium price for their authentic products, and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which may be of inferior quality or of different flavour. As a major food producer within the EU, Ireland lags behind in achieving designation and protection for local traditional food products. Achieving more PDOs s would not only improve the income of producers and offer a guarantee of authenticity to consumers- it would also help greatly in the creation of a ‘Food Island’ concept and the development of food tourism in Ireland. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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Castle Murray House Hotel

From a cliff-top above the long toe of St John’s Point, diners in Castle Murray House Hotel have a perfect view of Donegal Bay and the Atlantic coast where some of the world’s best seafood is landed. Air miles simply don’t figure here as lobsters for the restaurant may be lifted from pots just 100 metres away while langoustines come from day boats seen bobbling about off St John’s Point. Proprietor Marguerite Howley celebrated 10 years at Castle Murray this spring and has grown up in the fishing industry. With both a father and a brother involved in the Donegal fleet, she is committed to supporting local fishermen, “We’re lucky to be able to get supplies daily in summer we’d have lobsters every day and keep them alive in a tank, crabs are local too, or from Burtonport just up the coast. Prawns have been more scarce because of the red tide in Rossnowlagh this summer. We didn’t get it around the corner in our bay but it has affected stocks,” Marguerite says. Trained as a chef in the famed Killybegs Catering College, Marguerite ran a bar and 44

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restaurant with accommodation in the town for five years before taking over Castle Murray with her father Martin in 2002. Inheriting French head chef Remy Dupuy from the previous owners has meant that she now spends time front of house and developing areas like the herb garden, so they are now self-sufficient in fresh herbs as well as edible flowers for decoration. Head chef Remy has been in situ for 17 years, but the house signature dish of monkfish and langoustines in garlic butter goes back 20 years. “They’re served escargot style in the dimpled French dishes and gratinated over the sizzling garlic butter. It’s the one dish we could never take off the menu,” Marguerite observes, “and it’s very popular on the children’s menu as well.” Dungloe oysters are served au naturel or flashed under a grill with chive buerre blanc as a warm starter that is well suited to the gigas oysters that are We’re lucky to be able to available year round. Crab is always get supplies daily in popular and features in a specialty of McSwynes Bay blue lobster and St summer - we’d have John’s crab salad which comes with lobsters every day and lobster oil mayonnaise and lemon grass keep them alive in a dressing. “Irish people prefer white crabmeat,” Marguerite comments, “but tank, crabs are local too, the French love the brown. Recently or from Burtonport just we’ve discovered that our suppliers in up the coast. Burtonport have a surplus of brown crabmeat, so we’re experimenting with new dishes to use that - perhaps in a velouté or bisque.” Although Castle Murray diners enjoy a range of choices from Angus or Hereford steaks to Silver Hill duck and interesting vegetarian dishes like sesame seed


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millefeuille of asparagus and wild mushrooms, seafood remains the greatest draw, “With boats arriving back most days, we have to use whatever comes in and keep the menu flexible,” Marguerite explains. “Supplies vary from season to season as well. This year we’ve had good sea bass, hake and the farmed turbot, but we only got Dover sole once this summer and Supplies vary from John Dory is very scarce. I can’t figure out if stocks are down, or is the price season to season as well. putting off buyers and they’re going This year we’ve had directly for export.” In addition to sourcing, Marguerite good sea bass, hake and finds that paperwork takes up an the farmed turbot, but we increasing amount of time. only got Dover sole once “Especially dealing with seafood, you’ll have inspectors looking for this summer and John documentation on individual Dory is very scarce. fishermen - are they registered and has shellfish been tested? It’s not enough to know that correct procedures have been implemented, they want to see everything written down. And I’ve even had inspectors arriving in the middle of a wedding. You get the impression that they only care about paperwork, not how the kitchen looks.” With her father involved in the fishing industry, Marguerite is also aware that the fishermen she deals with are being killed with red tape. They’re expected to keep records of things like the rations carried on each boat and the number of hours of actual work for each man as opposed to time spent waiting between hauling catches. There doesn’t seem to be an understanding that fishing isn’t a nine-to-five job and dealing with all the documentation is tough when we’re all struggling to survive.” In an area that has been traditionally seasonal, Castle Murray stayed open all winter last year for the first time. “It worked out well,” Marguerite confirms. “We started just opening at weekends during January and February, then went to fiveday opening, Wednesday to Sunday. In the past we would have closed completely

for eight weeks, but we found a market there and we already have bookings for early 2013.” Developments continue apace at Castle Murray, with negotiations underway for grown-to-order organic vegetables from a local allotment. Marguerite has plans for at least seven different varieties of potatoes next season - “we do love our potatoes in Donegal!” And the wine list has been ramped up to include a good selection of half-bottles. “It’s a definite trend now, with concerns about driving and it gives people more choice to try different wines with different courses. Predictably, Chablis, Sancerre and Muscadet are top sellers, but red wine comes on when game dishes appear on the autumn and winter menus.” As the high season winds down, this outpost of good food on the edge of the Atlantic can claim another successful year, weathering the storm of tough times, “It’s all about community,” Marguerite says. “Local people and suppliers support each other and that’s what will get us through.”

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Glowing in a fortified winter Frank Corr extols the joys of Port and its cousins Winter invites hotel and restaurant customers to seek out warmth and comfort and so at this time of year, the market for fortified wines, port and sherry reaches its peak. Port and sherry drinkers tend to be knowledgeable when it comes to choosing brands and vintages and in order to optimise sales therefore a training session for serving staff is well worthwhile. For a variety of historical reasons, the service and consumption of port, for instance, is tied up with etiquette, styles and rituals. Who, but our beloved near neighbours in Britain, would ask a dining companion if he ‘knew the Bishop of Norwich’, when what he really wanted was a refill of his port glass. Yet that still happens at tables in many parts of the world. The rigmarole is based on the tradition of ‘Passing the Port’, which began in the British Navy where officers meticulously passed the decanter ‘from port to port’ or clockwise. Traditionally, the decanter of port is placed in front of the host who then serves the guest to his right and then passes the decanter to the guest on his left. The port is then passed to the left all the way back to the host.

“ Traditionally, the decanter of port is placed in front of the host who then serves the guest to his right and then passes the decanter to the guest on his left. The port is then passed to the left all the way back to the host.

In the event that the decanter does not come full circle, it is considered to be bad ‘port-iquette’ to ask for it directly. The host instead is to ask the individual closest to the decanter, if he ‘knows the Bishop of Norwich’. The question is not meant to get an answer but action - namely the immediate passing of the port. If however, the unfortunate offender should answer the question by saying ‘No’, he is told that ‘The Bishop is an awfully good fellow, but he never passes the port’.

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Knowing Port is easier said than done. It comes in a range of styles, vintages and brands which might be specially contrived to confuse the customer. However two broad categories define Port - bottle aged or cask aged. The two processes produce distinctly different wines. Bottle aged Ports keep their colour and generally their fruitiness into their maturity They are aged for a short time in wood and are bottled without filtration where they are meant to mature. Cask aged Ports lose much of their colour and become tawny. These are aged in wood and then filtered and bottled. They are ready to drink right away. Ruby is the most basic and least expensive style of Port. It is a blend from the produce of several harvests, that spends two to three years in stainless steel or wood before it is bottled. Tawny is aged at least six years in the cask before it is bottled. The flavour becomes drier and nuttier from the oxidation. Aged Tawny are the best tawny Ports. They give the average age of the wines that have


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WINE gone into making the blends. They are available in 10, 20, 30 and 40 year versions with a corresponding increase in price. Colheita is a tawny but from a single vintage. It must receive a minimum of seven years in wood, but most are aged much longer. White Ports range from very dry to very sweet. The sweetest is designated as Lagrima. These are served straight up or on the rocks, most often as an apéritif. Crusted Port is named for the crust of sediment it forms in the bottle. It is a blend of port from several vintages that is bottled after three years in cask. Vintage Character Ports might also be referred to as Super or Premium Ruby. These are usually marketed under brand names like Sandeman’s ‘Founders Reserve’ or Taylor’s ‘First Estate’. Single-Quinta Ports are made in both tawny and vintage styles but with the distinction that they come from only one vineyard. Late Bottled Vintage or LBV are the produce of a single vintage. A vintage not deemed good enough to make a Vintage Port, will go into the making of an LBV. Vintage Port is the finest and most expensive of the Port styles. At most, it accounts for about 2% of all production and is one of the most sought after wines in the world. Vintage Port comes from a single harvest of exceptional quality, as stated on the bottle, and is bottled after two to three years of cask ageing. The wine then spends many years maturing in the bottle. It may take 15 to 50 years for a good Vintage Port to be ready for drinking. Each shipper must decided within two years of a harvest year if that particular year will be of enough quality to be released as a Vintage Port. This is known as ‘declaring the vintage’. The first vintages were declared around 1734. The best vintages from the 20th century include 1994, 1992, 1991, 1985, 1977, 1970, 1963, 1955, 1948, 1945, 1935, 1931, 1927, and 1912. Rare and Popular Sherry While the ‘Sherry Reception’ is now something of a rarity in Irish hospitality, this fortified wine from Jerez in the South of Spain retains its admirers and can be served as an attractive apertitif. It is produced in bodegas from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes grown in chalky soil using the ‘solera’ process. A succession of casks are filled with the wine over a number of year. At the end of each year, the oldest cask in the solera is tapped for part of its content, which is bottled. Then that cask is refilled from the next oldest and the process continues down to the youngest cask, which is refilled with new wine. Sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as Fino to darker

and heavier versions known as Oloroso. Sweet dessert wine Sherry is made from Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel grapes or blended with Palomino. Sherry is a branded product and the name of the producer is often the determining factor when choosing a brand. Harveys, Sandeman, Tio Pepe and Croft are well established on the Irish market and account for the lions share of sales. When it came to choosing a favourite sherry however Irish sommeliers, restaurateurs and wine retailers came up with some interesting choices at a pre-Christmas tasting last year. Among the dry wines, most votes went to Antique Palo Cortado imported by Searsons. Second spot went to ‘La Guita’ from Classic Drinks and it was followed by Manzanilla La Goya imported by Vinostito. Tio Pepe (Barry Fitzwilliam) took fourth place and Marqués de Rodil Especial Palo Cortado from the Celtic Whiskey Shop was fifth. Among the sweet sherries Valdivia Pedro Ximénez from Febvre took top spot, ‘Rare Cream Superior’ from Mitchells was second, Dry Sack Solera especial from Findlater Wines was third, Pedro Ximenez Delgado Zuleta from Vinostito was fourth and fifth place went to the curiously-named Pedro Ximénez Sticky Pudding imported by Greenlea Wines

“ Sherry is a branded product and the name of the producer is often the determining factor when choosing a brand. Harveys, Sandeman, Tio Pepe and Croft are well established on the Irish market and account for the lions share of sales

Most of these sherries are virtually unknown to mainstream consumers, but they do represent an opportunity to offer diners something interesting and novel over the Festive Season. Other wines are also fortified including Madeira which has its own special characteristics. Again it is brand-based and Febvre imports the excellent Blandy’s. Vermouths including Martini and Cinzano dominate the market for lighter fortified wines. Once the ‘chic’ drinks of the glitterati they now feature most prominently as ingredients in cocktails. They are nevertheless a light aperitif with a capacity to whet the taste buds. It is therefore possible - and pleasant - to both begin and end a meal with fortified wines and by promoting Vermouth, Port and Sherry this Christmas restaurants and bars can enhance not only the experience of diners, but also their own sales and profits. H&RT OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ‘12

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Hotel & Restaurant Times 201211 Oct/Nov