Belfast City Centre Rent Too High Says Restaurateur
A leading Belfast restaurateur has said that increasing rents and a growth in rates has resulted in the city starting to "price itself out".
John Blisard, who opened the first Boojum in 2007, talked about the difficulties in expanding his latest venture 'Bubbacue', stating: "It's become difficult to find the right unit at the right price. Belfast is quite saturated with restaurants and people are competing for space".
Blisard had plans to open a branch of his "American BBQ joint" Bubbacue in Dublin city centre, however Brexit and "extortionate rents" made him reconsider in the end, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
"Even [Dublin] restaurant owners with failing businesses are asking for up to €120,000 as a premium to hand over premises because they have extraction systems and planning permission already in place. It's just a symptom of the market because of high demand, but it adds to the cost of opening a new place," he says.
Although Blisard has had his hands full with Bubbacue recently, he says he is "working on an idea for a new food business based on a different type of American food [but] whatever comes next, it has to be right and it has to make financial sense".