Every week we will be featuring a new or existing Bizimply customer and asking them questions about their business. This week we had a coffee with Paul Breen from the Lovely Food Co. in Terenure, Dublin 6.
Hi Paul, tell us a little bit about The Lovely Food Co. ?
We are a 50 seat restaurant, located in Dublin 6w. Owner/operator. June 2014 sees us celebrate our 3rd Birthday. We started out with 24 seats and expanded to 50 seats. We also have a cookery school and home catering business.
How many staff do you have?
We started out with 4 and now have 15. We have a low staff turnover, and most of our waiting staff are with us from the very first week. Chefs- that’s a whole other story!
How would you describe your customers ?
Family, that probably sounds a bit corny, but we’re a neighbourhood restaurant so our customers come in and out most days. We know more about their own lives than they do about ours. We know what their kids like to eat, we advise husbands on what their wives really want for Christmas and birthdays – because they tell us to tell their husbands! – and we know when to let the food do the talking.
Food is very emotive, and in 3 years we have hosted countless surprise birthday parties, taken part in elaborate engagement proposals, hosted 2 intimate weddings, welcomed lots of new baby’s with christenings and been honoured to have shared these times with the neighbourhood. We’ve also been equally heartbroken to cater for 2 of our dearest customer’s funerals.
Any examples of funny customer anecdotes?
Where to start……
On Facebook we have a post called Muffin O’Clock. We jokingly posted that our fat and calorie free muffins would be out of the oven in 10 minutes, and nearly melted our phone lines with people asking if we had any of those calorie free mars bar muffins left – the clue is in the name. We’re good at what we do but removing the calories from mars bar is beyond even us.
The most important thing that makes your business unique?
Our Staff! Their personalities are unique to us, and despite some foibles, we wouldn’t have them any other way! Although we would love it if they could learn how to do two things at once, but hey!
Most challenging factor on a daily basis in your business?
Running a business is like running a household. We can only spend what we earn, and like everyone else, we are feeling the pinch due to increases in everything from food costs, rent, rates, services and government charges. I’m afraid that the government, despite all its promises, does not know what is involved in running a SME. If my rates were lower and my VAT contribution reduced I, along with lots of other employers would be in a position to employ more people.