Ivan King, general manager of Luttrellstown Castle, tells Hospitality Ireland about the latest opening, and why now is the perfect time to introduce it.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in July of 2022.
Tell us about Rugged Lane.
A very exciting new addition to Luttrellstown is our new restaurant, Rugged Lane, a 55-seater modern take on fine dining – a comfortable place to dine out, an experience of great and affordable food served in a professional, friendly manner in a comfortable yet warm environment.
Why is now a good time to introduce a restaurant?
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We have identified that the Dublin 15 area has so much opportunity for this restaurant and concept. We originally wanted to introduce this in 2020, but Covid impacted our plans – just like everyone else in hospitality and beyond. With Dublin 15’s growing population and a lack of restaurants at this level, we see this as a very opportune time to open Rugged Lane.
What do you hope that it will bring that is not already in place?
Rugged Lane will enhance our reputation, but, importantly, it lets the local community know that we are very much open to the public and the venue [Luttrellstown Golf Club] is more than just a golf club, it’s a place where all guests are welcome. Special nights out will be had, and this will become a local destination for a great dining experience with family and friends.
How has reopening been?
It has been positive overall. Our members, guests, clients and team are all delighted we are back open. We have, of course, come across and continue to deal with many challenges, such as staffing and increased costs in overheads because of the current inflation rate.
What are the major challenges at the moment?
A huge amount of work goes into to the creation of a new restaurant, regardless of where it is. Research and development, marketing, and actualising the concept and design take considerable time. As mentioned earlier, inflation is a real concern, and food costs are increasing rapidly and almost weekly – we need to manage this accordingly. We are hopeful that people will continue to dine out as their own household bills increase.
What are the main opportunities?
To stand out from the rest – those who are consistent will prevail. The art of service is not evident in so many establishments. We need to really focus on this, as we have done with the art of food. Build it, and they will come!
Do you think that the pandemic has changed what we look for in hospitality?
Absolutely. I think many recognise there are challenges for operators, but to dine out is not cheap. People want value more than ever.
Tell us a bit about yourself – your background and career so far.
I completed a bar skill course with Fáilte Ireland back in 2004 and started my first hotel job at the Radisson St Helen’s in Stillorgan. I had six wonderful years there, working my way up to management. From there, I made a significant step in my career by joining the Shelbourne Hotel. I spent nearly five years at the Shelbourne, and what great education it was! Managing one of the busiest F&B departments in the country, we had some great success along the way, with various awards. I worked as bars and lounge manager, director of C&B, and assistant director of F&B.
I moved to Druids Glen as director of operations, which was very different to the Shelbourne, and then I got the position I hold now – general manager at Luttrellstown Castle – which has been such an amazing and rewarding experience. I genuinely I hope to stay at Luttrellstown for many years to come.
What is the core of the Luttrellstown experience?
Luttrellstown is a remarkable resort. We are characterised by our wonderful team, who strive to anticipate our guests’ needs and exceed their expectations at every opportunity. Our people are our greatest asset.
Any other plans on the horizon, for the next year or so?
Rugged Lane is our focus. We are always working on some new initiatives for the castle and golf club, and there are exciting times ahead for the resort.
Read More: Hospitality Ireland Summer 2022: Read The Latest Issue Online!