Broker restaurant chef to take on venue after closure

Broker restaurant chef to take on venue after closure

A popular restaurant in east Belfast has announced its closure due to “impossibly high expenses” and staffing concerns..

Despite Broker opening in October 2022, owner Peter McCloskey, who also owns Belfast’s Oliver’s chain, is now closing the restaurant saying it “has never been harder”.

“It’s too hard to get quality staff here in Northern Ireland,” he said. “If we had the staff here that they have in other countries the industry would be totally different.

“Here, it is seen as a luxury to go to a restaurant but working in one is seen as just a casual job.”

Mr McCloskey feels the government can and should provide restaurants with greater support.

He said rate relief and reducing VAT to 13.5% from 20% (the rate for the hospitality and tourism sector in the Republic of Ireland) would help business owners.

“Restaurants in GB are paying discounted rates and down south the VAT is much more manageable, places here have such impossibly high expenses and then people can’t afford to eat out,” he said.

“The rates are just far too high here, you have to bring in an awful lot of money to make any money.

“We are heading to a place where the only restaurants that can afford the rates in Belfast are chain restaurants, and that’s not what we want, we want to see talented and creative chefs in the city, not just a lot of chain restaurants.”

Chef Chris Hayden plans to take over the unit where Broker resided.

“He is a very talented chef and he has a lot of ideas he wants to showcase, he is the head chef at a hotel at the minute but having your own restaurant means you can put your stamp on things and do it the way you want to,” Mr McCloskey said.

He added that Mr Hayden can offer customers in east Belfast a great menu and has a supportive staff around him.

“He is a good chef and he has good chefs who want to work under him, you need a good staff to offer customers food they are willing to pay for and he will have that,” Mr McCloskey said.