Chef Richard Corrigan has credited a sharp increase in fortunes at his group of businesses to the efforts of a new management team led by his son Richard Corrigan jnr and the lifting of Covid restrictions in Britain and Ireland last year.
Consolidated group accounts filed in the UK by Richard Corrigan Restaurants Holdings — the main holding company in the group that includes Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill near Piccadilly Circus in London and the Virginia Park Lodge estate in Co Cavan — show the Corrigan Collection of hospitality businesses returned to profit in 2021 as public health restrictions were eased throughout the year.
The group reported profits after tax of more than £281,500 (€323.472) after plunging to a £1.4 million loss in 2020, despite having only traded for part of the year due to the pandemic.
Turnover more than trebled to over £9 million from £2.7 million in 2020 but was still below pre-Covid 2019 when group sales topped £11 million.
Against the backdrop of soaring inflation in the UK, the group’s administrative expenses rose substantially, from £2.7 million to £4.6 million last year. In a strategic report attached to the accounts, Mr Corrigan said with the impact of the Covid crisis fading, issues around “the ability to source products, power and people” were fast replacing the pandemic as the principal risk facing the group, which employed 145 people last year.
The group’s wage and salary bill increased more than £1 million last year to £3.2 million. It received £266,533 in Covid-related supports from the Irish and British governments in 2021, down from more than £1 million in 2020.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Corrigan said: “Multifaceted price inflation has impacted our business, as well as the wider sector, enormously. Our management team is doing the best it can to navigate this while also focusing on the exciting new projects soon to open.”
He credited the new management team with delivering “some outstanding results across the group”, including Virginia Park Lodge, where sales increased from €827,000 in 2020, topping €2.5 million last year, according to accounts filed with Companies House in the UK. After tax losses at the Co Cavan wedding and event venue narrowed from €448,000 to just under €104,000 in 2021.
“This support and these results have enabled me to focus my time on excellence across the group’s existing and soon to open kitchens,” Mr Corrigan said.
“The 2020 results were severely impacted by Covid, while across the course of 2021 we were able to slowly open the businesses when the lifting of restrictions allowed it.”
Mr Corrigan is set to open a new restaurant on Shelbourne Road in Dublin 4 before Christmas. Asked when the Park cafe — formerly chef Dylan McGrath’s Shelbourne Social before it closed during the pandemic — will be opening, Mr Corrigan said he will be releasing more details soon.