Restaurants should adapt or face closure, food writer says
Hotel owners need to adapt to these stringent economic times if they want to avoid closure, a top food writer has said.
John McKenna had some down-to-earth words of advice for restaurant owners, saying that those citing the increase in VAT and high staffing levels as hampering their business should stop dwelling on the tough times and look for new strategies to drive growth.
"If you adapt, you'll survive," he said in an interview with the Irish Independent.
Mr McKenna noted that some restaurants have managed to increase their sales in the recession – in some cases by as much as 30 per cent across the year.
The writer said restaurateurs should look to new ways of channelling traditional promotional methods. Social networking websites like Facebook, for example, can be a great way to spread positive word of mouth.
He also advised pubs to ditch staid drinks offerings and jazz things up a bit to entice the customer. "I don't go to the pub because there is nothing there I want to drink," he told the newspaper.
"But if pubs offered a short but good wine list and some craft beers, they would appeal to a broader clientele."
And to those who fail to adapt and find themselves in real trouble?
"It's your own fault."
McKenna's advice comes at a prescient time, as 2011 looks set to be a prosperous year for the hospitality industry. According to VisitBritain, the UK is expected to welcome a further 300,000 visitors this year, with tourist spending forecast to increase to £17.2 billion.