15 Oct 2019 | 10.40 am
Bord Gáis Energy Interview: Sean Collender, Kinara Restaurant Group
‘Anticipation and achievement is one of the best things about running your own business’
15 Oct 2019 | 10.40 am
In this series, Bord Gáis Energy is sharing details on some of its SME customers and their business successes. This month, we feature Sean Collender (pictured), co-founder and co-owner of the Kinara Restaurant Group.
Founded in 2001 by Sean and his business partner Shoaib Yunus, Kinara Restaurant Group employs close to 90 staff. Serving Pakistani and Eastern cuisine, the group opened its first restaurant Kinara in Clontarf in 2001, followed by Kajjal in Malahide in 2007 and Kinara Kitchen in Ranelagh in 2010. The business has also been serving festival- goers at Electric Picnic for the past five years through its catering business.
What prompted you to open your first restaurant?
I have always had a great love of eating out and always enjoyed the buzz of restaurants. I first met Shoaib back in 1999, when he was manager of the Khyber Tandoori restaurant in Dublin, and we started on the path to opening our first restaurant. We haven’t looked back since.
What challenges do you face in the restaurant industry?
We are facing a huge number of challenges at present, more than we have during the last 18 years. One of the biggest issues facing the industry is the cost of running a restaurant, which has dramatically increased in recent years. Rates, insurance, VAT and staff costs have all increased, adding a lot of pressure to the hospitality sector.
What are the main business lessons you learned so far?
Look after your staff as best as you can, and always be clear and transparent with them and your customers. As a small independent business, we continue to upgrade our premises and upskill our staff to serve the very best food and dining experiences to our customers. After 18 years, Shoaib and I are excited for the future of the business, and that feeling of anticipation and achievement is one of the best things about running your own business.
How has being a Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) member helped your business?
We have been members of the RAI since 2001 and found it to be invaluable in the early years, as a place where we could gain insight from other owners about how to run a restaurant. Recently, the RAI has become a much stronger group and a more focused voice for lobbying the government on the concerns of the industry.
We would encourage any restaurant or cafe that is not a member to join up. As well as the many benefits of membership for your business, the power of a large group with a single voice is reason enough for joining the RAI.
What does the future hold for the Kinara Group?
In the near future, I hope the government reacts quickly and decisively to alleviate any external pressures placed on us by a hard Brexit. For now, all we can do is continue to maintain our standards and try to be as consistent as we can in running our restaurants.
Bord Gáis Energy has partnered with the Restaurants Association of Ireland to bring you the extra help you need to run your restaurant. As an RAI member, you can avail of a range of affinity electricity and gas price plans to give you greater control and help save you more on your energy costs.