Bewley's Revenue Up By 45%, While Grafton Street Cafe To Seat 500
After being closed for refurbishment for 21 months, the reopening of Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street in 2017 will allow it to seat 500 customers and is expected to be profitable upon reopening, according to its chief executive.
The renovations at Bewley's, which is a protected building, was originally planned to take just over six months and would see the upper floors closed and the seating scaled down from 360 to 180
However, it ultimately underwent a complete refurbishment with a new plan to open each floor, the theatre, its side entrance on Johnson's Court, the restoration of the buildings famous Harry Clarke windows and facade as well as reintroducing a number of open fires, reports The Irish Times.
Other changes have seen the restoration of 29 original banquettes and the refurbishment of numerous old marble-topped tables.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Bewley’s chief executive John Cahill, said: "We’re doing a top-to-toe job in terms of the property. It has been more complex but the planning and conservation authorities have been extremely supportive and co-operative and more things have come on the table for us to look at."
Cahill added: "The investment will be higher but we would see a very strong payback on this investment. We would expect that we can move the operation into profit. That’s the ambition. We’ve created something magnificent for the building. There’s an awful lot to do but we have the time to get it right."
Although things are progressing with its flagship cafe, newly-filed accounts for Bewley's Ltd show that while there was a 45 per cent increase in revenues last year to €155 million, it was dragged into the red by exceptional costs of €4.4 million due to an "onerous lease" on its Grafton Street cafe. The accounts show that Bewley's recorded a loss close to €2 million in 2015, down from €3.9 million the year before.
"We saw strong revenue and profit growth during the year although the benefits of that were reduced by an onerous lease provision in relation to our Grafton Street Cafe, where the rent payable exceeds a market reflective rent. Current trading is generally positive and we’re on course for further growth in revenues," commented Cahill.