Hospitality sector in store for ‘phenomenal reawakening’ – Richard Corrigan
Business in London restaurant ‘fantastic’, chef says following easing of restrictions
Chef Richard Corrigan at Virginia Park Lodge in Virginia, Co Cavan. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan said the hospitality industry in Ireland is in store for “a phenomenal reawakening” when the sector reopens this summer.
Mr Corrigan was speaking after revealing that business at his London restaurant, Bentley’s in Piccadilly, has been “fantastic” since it started serving customers on its terrace since Monday, April 12th, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in England.
“I have to say that before we opened, I was shaking with nerves – genuinely, I didn’t know how it was going to go, ” the Meath-born chef said.
“We were such a long time closed, you start to lose confidence – it does hammer you but I have to say the numbers we have had since we have reopened have been phenomenal.”
Mr Corrigan said his London pub, Daffodil Mulligan, is reopening on a phased basis while Corrigan’s Mayfair will reopen in June.
He said for his businesses in London and his wedding and corporate events venue Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan, 2020 “is best forgotten. It was a once in a lifetime experience, we couldn’t do this twice in a row”.
Revenues at his group declined by 95 per cent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
“We opened for three weeks for the whole year. A week and a half in October and a week and a half in December,” he said. Mr Corrigan confirmed that he received his AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine two weeks ago.
With wedding numbers capped at 25 last summer in Ireland, Mr Corrigan said the business at Virginia Park Lodge “was just performing a service”.
Mr Corrigan was speaking after reporting that pre-tax profits at the group increased more than four fold to £118,802 (€138,113) in 2019.
Accounts for Richard Corrigan Restaurants (Holdings) Ltd showed revenues at the business increased 4.6 per to £11.03 million.
The accounts also confirmed that revenue at Virginia Park Lodge increased from £2.67 million to £2.89 million in 2019.
Revenues at Mr Corrigan’s restaurants and pub businesses in London increased from £7.87 million to £8.14 million in 2019.
Mr Corrigan said 2019 “was a good year. Revenues were up and, of course, staff costs went up. It will be a while – 18 months to two years – before we get back to that level”.
The accounts showed that revenues from catering totalled £6.28 million with beverage income at £3.9 million while “other” income stood at £840,764.
Mr Corrigan stated that the 2019 growth in business was “cruelly cut short” last year by Covid-19.
Staff costs went from £3.69 million to £3.9 million as staff numbers increased from 183 to 193.
The profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £644,356 while lease charges increased from £808,198 to £863,351.
The group’s shareholder funds stood at £1.16 million as the group’s cash funds increased from £1.1 million to £1.77 million.