Kay Burke felt like a square peg in a round hole during her time in the corporate sector and once her children were safely through their teenage years, Kay decided to hightail it back to her county of birth, Cork. Settling back in the vibrant town of Clonakilty, Kay was already immersing herself in a food related hobby - Sugarcraft- at which she excels. Kay began to research cafe options and realised that she needed to learn the nuts and bolts of an industry with which she was not familiar. Kay enrolled on the Busines of Opening a Cafe Course with Blathnaid Bergin . Fifteen days over 12 weeks covered all the nuts, bolts, bells and whistles of getting it right first time. While doing the course, a property came up and Kay used the valuable advice received on the ...
Francois Pretorius – Business of Food – April 2018
' 'Very informative and interactive. The course is outstanding and I have learned so much. The course has given me the confidence to go out and start something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I have learned how to structure every aspect of the business to maximise profit and happiness!. The course overall was fantastic.'
Peter Muckian- Business of Food – 2018
' A must if you want to hit the ground running with your new business. The course will pay for itself 100 fold. It showed me where I need to up my game and the 100s of pitfalls to stay clear of in our new business'.
Beth Massa – The Business of Food -April 2018
'Completely essential. Wouldn't hesitate to give my highest, enthusiastic recommendation. I would describe it as the foundation where you can build the blocks of your business. With this course, I can start building the business properly, and speak to investors with confidence. I hope one day we will be so successful you'll be able to take pride in the fact that we attended this course'.
We, at Airfield Estate employed the consultancy services of Blathnaid Bergin to carry out an assessment of our plans to remodel our iconic Overends restaurant. Blathnaid made a number of practical, service enhancing and cost saving proposals which have now been successfully implemented. Blathnaid coached us through the changes and came back to audit our progress regularly to ensure that our new counter service model was as efficient as possible and delivered the highest levels of customer engagement, which has always been our priority at Overends. We would have no hesitation in recommending Blathnaid for any food service business. Her advice is practical, sensible, cost effective and she ensures that the customer is centre stage in all her strategies. Grainne Kelliher. C.E.O. Airfield Estate
Nicola Kilkenny – Flannerys Hotel
It is a behind the scenes in depth course based around running a bar that serves food. We have made changes re: hidden costs and improved efficiency. It has been very enjoyable and worthwhile. thank you. Nicola.
James Kavanagh – Currabinny
Intense, fast paced, thorough, holistic, keep up! It has helped me see the realities. James Kavanagh
Excellent way of putting systems in place to manage your kitchen and restaurant. It has given me the tools to analyse my kitchen and have a greater understanding of the kitchen process. John O'Neill
The Farmhouse Cafe
' we opened Farmhouse Cafe with a Ballymaloe trained cook and loads of notions about 'proper ' food, and absolutely No experience otherwise. Very quickly we discovered that you can't do everything yourself. Which is where operational systems come in. So this is not the time to return to college for management training, Queue Blathnaid Bergin. I just can't believe how lucky I was to have bumped into her. As I was up and running as a cafe her 'Start a Cafe ' course was not really for me so she agreed to come in for a day and observe and advise. That's exactly what she did she sat all day at various tables unobtrusively, watching, taking notes, following us into the store etc. Then shot from the hip. Then the report, she dissected us- nicely. E.g. She showed how it ...
Blathnaid carried out a full review of the businesses carried on in Hargadons at our request. She interviewed everyone and sampled the food produced. Her comprehensive report pin-pointed the issues and failings in the business and her advice formed the basis of our strategy from then on. I have no doubt but that it was a major part of the success we have enjoyed since and I have no hesitation in recommending Blathnaid for an outside and expert objective analysis of any business. Ray Monahan
Kilkenny Design Restaurant – Nassau St, Dublin
We, at the Kilkenny Design Restaurant on Nassau Street, Dublin contacted Blathnaid Bergin in 2011 as we were planning a full refurbishment of our restaurant. As our expertise is in retail design and fashion, we needed expertise in food service as we planned a major investment. Our plan was to refurbish the dining area and upgrade the counter areas to enhance our customer experience. Blathnaid carried out an analysis of our plans and made a number of recommendations which changed the direction of our project for the better. One of the first suggestions Blathnaid made was to improve our external signage and remove redundant messages which were not enhancing the five star image of The Kilkenny Brand. Blathnaid insisted that significant investment was needed in the kitchen as well as the dining area; as she explained that the kitchen is ...
Philip Masterson. The Business of Food – April 2016
Excellent, very practical for the food business. A must do. This course should be budgeted into start up costs for food service businesses. Very interactive which is the best way to retain knowledge. The Lean Bean Cafe
Shirley O’Kelly – November 2017
'A necessity for anyone running a cafe, it will definitely save your business money as it covers all aspects. I would highly recommend this course. Excellent content and worth the time and money.
Ellen Christie – Business of Food 2017
It was a fantastic experience. I learnt so much in two weeks that I wish I'd known long before we opened. It was definitely worth the investment, I'm sure it will save as a result and it's a great environment to talk to others in similar areas. https://shankillcastle.com/cafe/
Marian O’ Gorman – CEO of the Kilkenny Group. Customer Care Course
I would recommend this highly practical and creative course to any retail business that wants to make real improvements to their Customer Care". Thank you Blathnaid
Sverre and Nadine – Germany. The Business of Opening a Café
Dear Blathnaid After 1 year and 4 months hard work we in Rosenduft und Kochlust www.rosenduftundkochlust.de just got the wonderful news from the German Michelin Guide that we will be in its 2013 edition. I would thank you for all the good lessons you gave us in your Kitchen and Restaurant Management course where you taught us almost everything that is needed to succeed in this nice but strange business which restoration and hotelier is. All aspects of your course have been an enormous help to us in the administrative work as well as in the kitchen. The one week we spent in Ballymaloe gave me a good knowledge about the work in the kitchen which helped me to understand the great work that Nadine Kramm is doing as our executive chef (trained in Ballymaloe). You always insisted that we ...
Tiernan Clarke – Café Civeen, Caherciveen. The Business of Opening a Café
You would be mad to open a café if you had not attended this course.
Ashley Gribben – Belfast. The Business of Opening a Café
I would just like to thank Blathnaid for a fantastic 9 weeks. I knew within the first few of hours of starting the course that I'd made the right decision and overall it surpassed my expectations and more. I met some lovely people, really enjoyed myself and learnt so so much that's going to help me open and run my cafe. I would recommend anyone thinking of opening cafe to do this course before you do. You will benefit from it enormously! I just wish I could do it again :)
Anne Staunton – Castlebar. The Business of Opening a Café
Although we have been involved in retail for over 30 yrs, on entering the Business of Food we soon realised that an in depth knowledge of this service industry would be required in order to pursue excellence. It was by pure chance that I embarked on a trip to Ballymaloe cookery school where I first met Blathnaid . I immediately realised that if we were to embark on any expansion of our current offering we would need to learn from her expertise. The 'Open your own Cafe' course has proved to be a most enjoyable, informative and worthwhile experience. I would recommend it to any retail business wishing to improve systems, employ and maintain knowledgable well trained staff and excel in customer care. Above all, it became clear, that, a successful business , of any type , must be capable ...
Kay Bourke – Dublin. The Business of Opening a Café
If you are hesitant about booking one of Blathnaid’s courses – put your uncertainties to the back of your mind and contact her immediately. Do not delay! It is worth every penny and much more. Blathnaid’s wealth of experience, knowledge and down to earth approach will set you on the right road. The experts that Blathnaid brings in to advise on areas outside her expertise are second to none in their field. It was a joy to take part in this course and it was the first time in quite a while that I jumped out of bed with a ‘pep in my step’ to head to Abbeyleix with the mouthwatering delights that Blathnaid had baked; awaiting. Thank you Blathnaid
Mary Coyne. The Business of Food
From attending this course, Blathnaid made the information more relevant and made it an exciting prospect for running my business rather than a daunting one. Her presentation skills were excellent and she had all the attendees like friends at the first coffee break. We shared, we laughed, and we are now prepared. Thank you Blathnaid.
Marie Keenan. The Business of Food
The course was fab, worth doing if you are planning a business just when you think you know it all to start a business, you will find out you don’t!
Candice Chalmers, Toronto, Canada. The Business of Food
It has inspired me in more ways than one. I had no idea that there were so many elements that needed to be considered to starting your own business and now I fell that I am more aware and excited to dive in.
Deirdre Mc Carthy, Cork. The Business of Food
An intensive kickstarter course which gives you the building blocks for a good business.
Lindsay Mc Menamin, Chicago. The Business of Food
All the things you need to know about starting a food business to do it right so you don't turn your passion into a nightmare.
Sverre Steen, Germany. The Business of Food
All aspects of your course have been an enormous help to us.
Ashley Byrne – The Half Door at Junction 20
Hi Blathnaid Thank you for your report. It made for very interesting reading and has given me a positive direction and focus for the coming months. I really enjoyed meeting you and employing you as my restaurant advisor I believe has been the best decision I have made since taking over The Half Door. Kindest Regards Ashley
Monsg Kevin O’Neill – Director. Averil Lawler – House Manager
We at Carlow College are happy to recommend The Restaurant Advisor. Blathnaid Bergin did a fine job in helping us re-train our catering staff, upgrade our equipment and introduce a new range of dishes for our students. Her hands-on approach, her vast experience in the field and her ability to identify new possibilities has given our staff great confidence in facing the new academic year.
Mike Corcoran – Mike’s Deli & Catering, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Blathnaid's insight, indepth knowledge and attention to detail is your secret weapon when it comes to dealing with everything from concept focus to menu design or securing finance.
Louise O’Brien – The Tearooms at The Heritage Centre, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
After our first hectic year in business, our sessions with Blaithnaid were timely. The consultations allowed us to step back and take a breath, review progress to date, tweak things and plan some new ideas for year two. Blaithnaid has a wealth of experience at her disposal which she is happy to share. Months later, she has not forgotten us, promoting our business to various audiences and strategic interest groups when the opportunity has presented itself." Thanks Blathnaid
Conor Mc Cormack – Mc Cormacks Public House, Naas, Co. Kildare
This was the best money I ever spent and the best advice I got in relation to my business development. Blathnaid very quickly realised that we were uncomfortable with food and advised us to play to our key strength which is five generations of serving the best pint in Naas and to develop what we are good at. She also advised to add wine and good coffee which has increased our female custom. Thank You.
Chris Maguire – Stradbally Fayre
Dear Blathnaid, Your strengths lie in your in depth of knowledge and years of experience of the catering and food industry. Be it straight talking, realistic and highly organised. I am a very headstrong person and won't change my mind too easily unless for very good reasons. I found myself changing a few things due to your solid reasoning from your suggestions and greatly appreciate that. As we didn't have a background in this area, we found specific material eg. Menus, costings, recipes, very valuable in our preparations for opening our new business. C. Maguire, Stradbally Fayre.
The Pantry Cafe – Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Dear Blathnaid, I just wanted to say thanks for all your assistance and advice in your role as Restaurant Advisor in Dec of 2008. Your recommendations have now been implemented and already I am seeing great efficiencies and cost savings even though it has only been six weeks since your visit. My one regret is that I did not meet you when I started in business first. Hindsight is a great thing and I can certainly say the cost of your service was well justified. You're fantastic to work with, a breath of fresh air, so down to earth and a good friend to know. Kind Regards, Grainne Moylan www.thepantrycafe.ie
Uisneach Catering Ltd – Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Dear Blathnaid, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your advice and support over the past few months. Your approach was relaxed but experienced and it was straight talking and honest. I have used your very practical advice to improve my business with great results and cost effectiveness. You helped me to meet the challenges and to relieve the stresses that had been part of my business previously. Kind Regards, Aine Gavigan
The Callanan Family – The Skeff Bar, Galway and The Prince Bar, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
We just want to take this moment to thank you so much for all your advice and assistance over the past year. Your straight talking and honesty was much needed and always backed up with practical advice on how to solve the issue. We have used this advice to improve both of our establishments with great results and cost cutting achieved across the board. You were great to work with and a great friend to come to know. We wish you all the best for the future and are in no doubt that you will help many more businesses. www.skeffington.ie
Charlie O Leary – The Pavilion Garden Centre & Cafe, Co. Cork
Blathnaid Bergin truly is full of wisdom and flair as I found when she came to help us at The Pavilon. She gave us some fantastic advice and great ideas for our cafe which we have implemented in full. Blathnaid's advice was realistic and was tailored to suit the specific needs of our business with the ultimate goal of giving our customers a really positive experience that they will remember. With proper systems now in place it is easier for us to manage our customers experience and replicate it each time they visit. Many thanks Blathnaid. www.thepavilion.ie
Causey Farm, Fordstown, Co. Meath
Hi Blathnaid, We have just finished our Halloween Activities and we had our coffee shop running. We made a profit and it was so much easier than before. Your advice was great, thank you so much. The profit was great but I can't tell you how much less stressful it was for me which is so important. Thank you again. Angela
Helen and Dennis – Nixon Sage Cafe Cavan
When we first contacted Blathnaid we thought we knew about business and running a cafe would be no problem,she soon pointed out the hard work and dedication it takes to bring it from ordinary to right to the top. Everything she told us turned out to be right even though it took her a while to convince us her way was the best way. She took us right from the bottom of the ladder right to the top and set us on the right road from day one regarding the menu,the business side of things and the importance of having an efficient and cost effective kitchen at the heart of everything. She also helped us to realise its the little things in business we all ignore,that over a period of time they all add up and eat into your profit ...
Sadie Chowen – The Burren Perfumery Tea Rooms
Dear Blathnaid, At the end of our summer season for the Burren Perfumery Tea Rooms, we would would like to say a big thank you for the work that you did with us this Spring. Now in our tenth year of running the Tea Rooms we realise that we should have hired you in our first year! 100% professional, great information, an intense three days work but every minute was useful to us. Our Tearooms runs so much more smoothly, the food is fantastic and it's now a pleasure to manage instead of a source of stress. In fact I would say that it took a tenth of the time to run that it did before. Thank you again! I would work with you again without hesitation and with great pleasure.
The VFI & The Business of Food
The business of Pub Food is growing exponentially and is expected to continue growing through 2017 and beyond. Publicans are branching into food as a way to add value and increase revenue. They recognize that lifestyles are changing and the traditional way of doing things may not work into the future. The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland looks after the interests of over 4,000 members nationwide and providing members with expert information and ‘know-how’ about the food business is one of its main priorities. The VFI is partnering with Blathnaid Bergin from The Business of Food to run her ‘Business of Pub Food’ courses in Galway and Cork over the coming weeks. Blathnaid has successfully delivered this tailor-made program to VFI members in the midlands, although some travelled from as far as Achill Island. Blathnaid Bergin is honoured to have been ...
Kaitlin McMahon – Business Manager, Johnnie Fox’s Pub
“Rise Above It” Rise above it is something we say to our customers due to our unique height location and being the Highest Pub in Ireland, but since experiencing our time with Blathnaid Bergin and her hand selected team of advisors we can now honestly say that we “rise above everything” related to the issues we had historically. Blathnaid brought a keen eye, a superb sense of team work, a great perspective on customer service, satisfaction and expectations. Her range started from the customers perceived expectation before arriving with us, continued through their first steps over our threshold and on through the décor, the menu ranges, the plates and staff uniforms all the way through to how we say goodbye. The “behind the scenes” support given and in-depth knowledge was faultless, saving on our waste management, purchases and adjusting ...
Trish Lenihan. The Business of Opening a Cafe – February 2015
An absolute must for anyone thinking/interested in setting up any type of food service business. It has helped me pinpoint what type of food service business I want and what will work for me, family and personal life. It is a great course and I am delighted to have attended. Interesting, informative as well as challenging. Thanks for everything.
Candice Chalmers – Toronto, Canada. The Business of Food – April 2014
This course not only provided me with a sense of direction but it also taught me the fundamentals of the food industry and expanded my knowledge and sincere passion for this industry. The people that I met, the opportunities that were presented, and the things I learned all help to make me realize that this truly is the industry for me. As I am a person who can get overwhelmed fairly quickly by new material, this course made it fun to learn using various methods and techniques. From the fine details to the elaborate displays and offbeat activities, everything was thought through and made all the difference. I never once felt intimidated or uncomfortable with any of the material and I truly feel like I absorbed so much more than I thought ever could be possible.
Anna Fletcher – Somerset, UK. The Business of Food – April 2014
I was first drawn to the Business of Food course run by Blathnaid Bergin because I felt I needed to decrypt the world of food in relation to business. To enable me to think with knowledge about my business ideas. The course not only fulfilled my expectations but far surpassed them Exciting, intense, packed full of fantastic systems to follow, guidelines and know how in order to avoid your business failing. Just love Blathnaid’s teaching style and vast amount of knowledge. Blathnaid’s enthusiasm and knowledge filled the classroom with a eager buzz to learn. After 2 weeks jam packed with intense learning, fantastic lectures by specialists and a lucid colorful step by step guide with helpful notes and enough information to dodge all the pitfalls when starting a business; my dreams had started to flourished and form a reality.
Heather Maguire – Dublin. The Business of Food – December 2016
I don't think anyone thinking of opening a restaurant/cafe or food business in general can afford not to do this course. It is an investment, but a real money saver to anyone thinking of opening a business. The pitfalls are given to you "full on" no frills and that is what you need. For me this was invaluable. I now have a very real view of what it would be like to open my own place, the commitment, the pit falls, and I am definitely armed with what I need to know if I had to open tomorrow.
Loretta Barry – Galway. The Business of Pub Food
The Business of Pub Food is an excellent course. Blathnaid has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about what she teaches. I had a very long drive of 3 .5 hours to get home but with all that was going on in my head after the course, I was buzzing with good ideas and never got tired any night. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in business.
I took Blathnaid’s course in December 2014 and I have to say that it's one of the best courses I ever took. Very informative, this course covers a wide range of topics in a practical fashion. More importantly, it's about sound management principles that enable you to run a café effectively, earn a living without killing yourself at work, while still offering a wonderful customer experience. And all of that in a lovely setting and with Blathnaid warm and joyful personality.
Fatima Ibrahimova – Baku, Azerbijan. The Business of Food – April 2014
Great course to learn more about food and beverage specifics, place to share your fears and turn them into successful business ideas. Place to be and course to take if you are planning to open a restaurant/café. If you have one already, you will be glad to take the course anyway. Very beneficial.
Brian Culligan. The Business of Food – April 2016
Informative, indepth, solid foundation for setting up and staying in business. It has opened my eyes to all the elements of opening a food service business and made me aware of the pitfalls of both opening and staying in business. Thank you for all your effort, knowledge, direction and course execution over the last two weeks. Simply a different class.
Martina Haier – Fanny O’Dea’s Pub, Lisseycasey, Co. Clare
This course was fantastic, it exceeded all my expectations. What was covered in three days was vast and detailed. I can't imagine going into a food business without doing this training. This course has made me feel very prepared and organised and I am extremely excited at the prospect of starting in the industry.
Julie O Mahoney. The Business of Food – April 2016
The most important time spent before opening a business. Vital if you want to succeed. It has given me the tools to put together systems and forecast food and budgets. It also showed how hard it is and where people normally fail.
Rosie Fahy. The Business of Food – 3 Day
Wonderful course to help focus for anyone interested in opening a food service business, extremely well presented and every issue explained. Blathnaid was fantastic. Thank you.
Mariam Simigh – Hungary. The Business of Food – April 2016
It's a very good and very intensive course on the basics of opening a food business. I would certainly recommend it to everyone who thinks about setting up a cafe/restaurant; only to have a reality check and learn about business and themselves. At the end of the course I have more confidence and can start real planning.
Margaret Power – Limerick. The Business of Pub Food
A life experience. If I never set up pub food, it has changed the way I look at cafes, restaurants, for ever in relation to quality and service and the overall experience of eating out.
Emmet Lynch – Hugh Lynch’s Bar, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
This course is a must for any publican doing food. You will learn practices applicable to all aspects of your business, not just food. You will leave with homework that will give you more control over your business. Great course, far exceeded expectations.
Tracey Robinson – Donegal. The Business of Pub Food
Do it. Loved this course.
Aaron Slevin – Biddy O’ Barnes Pub, Donegal. The Business of Pub Food
Excellent. Most worthwhile course done so far - no content fillers. Fully comprehensive and I am now more knowledgeable.
Bertrand Dickerns – Dublin. The Business of Pub Food
Excellent, practical course focusing on how to establish and successfully run a food business within a pub.
Francis Galvin – Gallys Bar & Restaurant, Tralee
Potentially life changing information that can be put into practice immediately. Delighted I made the decision to do the course after much deliberation.
Mark Cashen. The Business of Opening a Cafe – February 2015
100% a must do. Worth five times more than it costs.
Paschal Dillon – Athlone. The Business of Pub Food
Just apply and do the course at whatever level of food you are at and you will be guaranteed to pick one area that you will save the cost of the course straight away. Money well spent.
Candice Chalmers – Toronto, Canada
Candice Chalmers from Toronto, Canada is determined to buck the trend in the Food Service Industry by preparing properly for her foray into the business. Read her story of how she came to be at The Business of Food Course @ The Ballymaloe Cookery School in April 2014. My name is Candice Chalmers, I live in Toronto, Canada. Recently I was looking to gain a better understanding of the Food and Beverage Industry but had absolutely no idea where to start or where to look. I was trying to find a course here in Canada that provided me with the opportunity to learn about the food and beverage industry. I wanted something that was short term as I was unable to commit to a long term program and I wanted something that would truly enhance my skill set. Unfortunately I ...
Alison Duck – Castlewood Organic Farm Café
Alison Duck lives on an organic farm outside Durrow in Co. Laois, Ireland. With her husband Dominic, she runs the farm and has just opened their fully organic café which also sells organic meat and fantastic eggs from the farm. It is situated on a lovely rise over looking their farm and the river Nore below. Open at weekends at the moment, the café serves delicious soup, sandwiches and home made cakes. Alison completed our Business of Opening a Café in 2014 and had this to say... "A practical and focused course on the business of setting up a café." Wishing Alison and Dominic the very best and there is a sunny verandah which wraps the whole building to take all that Irish sunshine.
Pat Cohan’s Bar – Cong, Co. Mayo
Sharon Mc Grath and Ray Kenny bought Pat Cohan’s Bar in Cong, Co. Mayo (of The Quiet Man fame) in 2013 and proceeded to renovate it to its current status as probably the smartest bar in the area. Sharon worked in banking for many years before returning to her home in Co. Mayo to begin a new life and a new business. Sharon attended ‘The Business of Opening a Café’ in Abbeyleix in early 2014 and while attending the course, was getting the business ready to open. Sharon was able to plan her strategy during the course and take back each day’s learning to put into practice. We got regular updates on progress and helped Sharon plan her kitchen, her systems and menus. Sharon and Ray opened the pub to the public in July of 2014 and hit the ground ...
Blackwater Garden Centre Café
Anne Mc Kenna made the decision to attend the 10 day Business of Food course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School 48 hours before it began. Anne had already started the reconstruction phase of a building in the family garden centre at Blackwater outside Youghal in Co. Cork. Anne attended the course to gain knowledge and skills relating to the operations of her planned cafe. Anne has since transformed a dark space in the centre of the family garden centre at Blackwater into the gorgeous Good Food Cafe with stunning views over Youghal bay. Anne is also serving the highest quality food, most of which is locally sourced. The cafe provides a haven for customers of the lovely garden centre and regularly holds events such as Basket Weaving, Childrens Workshops and Pop Up Dinners with Guest Chefs such as the ...
Caroline Gray – Café Grays, Greystones, Co. Wicklow. The Business of Opening a Café
I had the benefit of attending one of the courses directed by Blathnaid Bergin and I cannot recommend her course highly enough. The in depth knowledge which Blathnaid and her tutors shared with participants was exceptionally valuable and was of world class standards. Her professionalism and expertise was the foundation for my current business and I know that I saved significant expenditures when I started my business as a result of her advice. Equally important was the focus she placed on standards, systems and meeting customer needs and provision of excellent customer service. Her course provided the trade secrets needed for a successful food business in a v competitive industry and the fees were money well spent. If one is interested in working in the food sector or opening a business and are accepted onto one of her courses u ...
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