The Michelin star restaurant sector in Ireland runs the risk of contraction until its corporate and international clientele returns.
That is according to the chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), Adrian Cummins.
Last year, a record 21 restaurants on the island of Ireland secured or retained the prestigious Michelin status.
Mr Cummins stated that Ireland has been punching above its weight in terms of Michelin starred restaurants in recent years.
He stated: “That is testament to the quality of chef, quality of premises and quality of food.”
He added: “Michelin restaurants are at the top of their game but they are expensive to run due to the quality of their product.”
He stated that the sector was on course for a record year in 2020 before the Covid-19 impact, adding that a lot of Michelin restaurant operators are under extreme pressure due to the absence of the international and corporate clientele.
He stated: “I feel that until we have an international and corporate market, you will see contraction in the Michelin sector.”
Underlining the challenges faced by the entire industry, Mr Cummins stated that bookings were down 68 per cent for all restaurants in Dublin 2 in August year on year.
Mr Cummins stated that assistance from landlords is essential for Michelin restaurants to get through the impact of Covid-19.
Chapter One on Dublin’s Parnell Square is one of the country’s most celebrated Michelin star restaurants.
New accounts filed by the company behind the Ross Lewis owned restaurant underline the buoyant year enjoyed by the sector last year pre-Covid-19.
The cash pile at the company increased by €296,000 to €1.28 million in the 12 months to the end of February this year.
Accounts for Lindley Ltd show that the company had an accumulated loss of €69,724 at the end of February 2020.
This followed the firm having an accumulated profit of €67,705 at the end of February 2019- a negative swing of €137,429.
However, this arose principally from a sharp pay hike in directors’ pay rising by 55 per cent from €328,225 to €509,267.
Staff numbers remained static at 41 and salary costs for staff increased from €926,326 to €975,808.
The accounts were only recently returned in recent days to the Companies Office but were signed off by the directors on March 18th- just as the entire restaurant sector was about to shut down due to Covid-19.