Pandemic takes 75% bite out of Richard Corrigan’s restaurant revenues

London-based Meath restaurateur was predicting a return to ‘pre-lockdown levels’ of trading before Omicron arrived

Chef Richard Corrigan at the Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Chef Richard Corrigan at the Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

A company linked to Meath celebrity chef Richard Corrigan took out a £1.3 million UK government-backed loan to tide his restaurants through the pandemic, accounts show. Revenues tumbled 75 per cent at the group last year to about £2.7 million (€3.17 million).

Richard Corrigan Restaurant Holdings, which comprises his London eateries – including Bentley’s and Corrigan’s Mayfair – and also his Irish venue, Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan, made a loss for 2020 of more than £1.4 million, according to accounts signed off by the chef last month.

However, a directors’ note to the accounts, which were finalised before the reimposition in Ireland of stringent anti-virus restrictions, says they are confident the group could “return to pre-lockdown levels in coming months”.

A return to full trading health is likely to be delayed further, however. There are currently no formal trading restrictions affecting Mr Corrigan’s London venues. But the UK government has recently warned people to be careful about the new Omicron variant, which is likely to have a dampening effect on the hospitality sector over the vital Christmas trading period. Tourism will also be hit by border test rules.

Waivers

Mr Corrigan’s group says it received rent waivers and deferments last year to help it through the pandemic. At one stage in 2020, he publicly threatened to stand outside landlords’ offices with “a placard and a microphone” to get better terms on leases.

The business says its banks have been “supportive”, and a company linked to Mr Corrigan, but not a part of the restaurant group, drew down a £1.3 million loan under the UK’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme to be used for cashflow for the restaurant group “as and when it requires it”.

The group accounts suggest that turnover at the group’s Cavan wedding venue fell from almost £2.9 million to about £734,000.

The pandemic hasn’t dimmed Mr Corrigan’s plans for further expansion, however. He recently announced plans next year to open a new restaurant in London’s Camden Basin, Hawley’s Wharf district.