London groups Conran and Langan's to open restaurants in Dublin

28 October 2004
London groups Conran and Langan's to open restaurants in Dublin

Two of London's best-known restaurant groups, Langan's and Conran Restaurants, are to open in Dublin early next year in a move that is expected to shake up the local

Langan's owner Richard Shepherd
trade. Langan's is to lease a 5,700sq ft premises near the city-centre law courts, in an area that offers attractive tax breaks under an urban-renewal incentive scheme. Conran is to operate a 22,000sq ft premises in the city's docklands, which will make it one of the city's biggest restaurants. It is also likely to have won concessions from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which is spending about €25m (£17.3m) redeveloping the area. The move into the Dublin market by the two groups comes at a time when Irish restaurants are under fire over claims of overcharging. A flood of complaints from visitors and locals has brought a warning from Tourism Minister John O'Donoghue that the sector could be in danger of pricing itself out of the tourist market. The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has rejected the criticism, claiming members' prices simply reflect the high cost of operating a restaurant in the country. However, with the support of the Irish Hotels Federation, it has persuaded members to introduce special-value menu deals. Henry O'Neill, RAI chief executive, said he wished the newcomers well, but added: "They should be forewarned that they are coming into a very competitive market." Derry Clarke, owner of Michelin-starred Dublin restaurant L'Ecrivain, was more specific. "They'll have to get used to high insurance premiums, high labour costs, high rents, VAT on meals at 12.5% and on wine at 21%," he said. "It's tough going in the Irish market and very competitive." *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 28 October 2004*
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