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Features / May 26, 2022

Respected chef on why restaurants are suddenly extortionately priced

Features / May 26, 2022

Respected chef on why restaurants are suddenly extortionately priced

Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: George Voronov

Gareth ‘Gaz’ Smith, chef-proprietor of Michael’s and Little Mikes in Mount Merrion, tweeted about how rent and rising costs are causing eating out to become much more expensive.

In a series of tweets, he said Irish customers have seen prices rise dramatically. In reaction, they’re getting cautious. Unless they can see where the money has been spent they can feel ripped off. With the staffing crises in hospitality being well coved by media, people want staff paid well. On top of that, even the passing consumer has become accustomed to great food bought from small producers. Together these currently demand ‘a very high yet very justified price tag’.

Rent

He said rents are crippling businesses as well as staff. A restaurant business can’t afford to pay staff enough to keep pace with the rising rents across the city. He said, ‘To retain a great team, we need to pay them a salary that means they can enjoy life, not simply exist to pay exorbitant rent and live like mice’

Gaz went on to say one of his staff members even has to share a room currently. Despite Michales paying ‘well’ before lamenting that Airbnb is left unlegislated to increase rents artificially. Last week it was revealed that there were fifteen times more properties on Airbnb than available to rent in Ireland.

Rising Costs

The published author explained how every other cos associated with running a restaurant is also rising. The cost of food sometimes doubles every week. The same is true for paper, as we are living through a little known paper sourcing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. Along with however many other crises at the moment.

In reference to an article published in The Independent this week, he said characterising the crises as ‘being forced to hire people with “behavioural issues” is galling for all parties and deeply irresponsible’. The article in question received a lot of backlash online. Industry professionals have described it as the ‘biggest load of shite’.

Rallying Cry

Gaz, who is set to open a new restaurant in Blackrock this summer, rounded up the series of twenty tweets by acknowledging that there is no one answer to the crises and calling for people to stop looking at hospitality as less than.

Elsewhere on Char: Signature Dish: Michaels Surf and Turf