“I think the food offerings in Dublin have gone from strength to strength, with increased competition people really have to work hard to make themselves stand out.” Restauranteur James Cirillo, talks to us.
How was 2019 for Cirillo’s and what’s in store for 2020?
It was a very tough start to the year with a big increase in costs across the board and a big number of new places opening up. However, in these situations you need to be nimble and adapt and we ended up finishing up the year very strong. Last week was the busiest week we have had since we opened the restaurant. We have a great team here and some great suppliers. It’s great being able to work with such great people. We have been working on some new projects over the last year some which didn’t come to anything. However, we have two new projects coming online in the new year which we are very excited about so watch this space.
There have been significant improvements in the quality of pizzas and Italian food available in the city over the last few years. How do you stay ahead of the competition?
There sure has. I think the food offerings in Dublin have gone from strength to strength, with increased competition people really have to work hard to make themselves stand out. We are constantly looking to improve and ensure our product and service is the best it can be.
Over the last few years we have been researching and developing relationships with suppliers both here in Italy. In the last six months we have started to import our own olive oil and tomatoes exclusively for us from Italy. We are always looking for the best for our customers.
How more informed and demanding is the customer of 2020 to the one in 2016 when you set up?
The customer is key! Trying to keep them all happy all of the time is tough. Customers can always be demanding, some more than others. At Cirillo’s, we have built up a great regular customer base which is crucial to any restaurants success. Are they more demanding now is hard to say. Again, the amount of competition out there means the level of service has improved and people’s expectations have changed.
So, you just need to be top of your game all of the time, have happy staff and love what you do.
Any causes for concern in terms of running a restaurant in Dublin at the moment?
There are always causes for concern when running a restaurant, Dublin is now hitting a boiling point. Rent prices, VAT increases, staff shortages, increased competition are all making it very hard to compete, something is going to give. You can never become stagnant when you have a restaurant, you need to be always looking for ways to improve. When you stop this you might as well close up.
What is your ideal Italian meal?
Antipasti – Pappardelle al ragu di lepre – Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Bottle of Tignanello
140 Baggot Street Lower
(01) 676 6848