(L-R): Liam Edwards, President of the RAI, Adrian Valeriano of OpenTable, sponsor of Best Digital Marketing – Ireland, and Adrian Cummins, CEO of the RAI, accepting the award on behalf of Two Boys Brew.
The All-Ireland Irish Restaurant Awards took place in the The Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin recently and named the top restaurants in Ireland for 2017. Over 900 restaurateurs and staff attended the black-tie event, which highlights the hard work and achievements within the industry over the last 12 months. Chapter One restaurant in Dublin was named as the 2017 All-Ireland Best Restaurant, while Danni Barry of Deanes EPIC in Belfast, Co. Antrim took home the 2017 All-Ireland Best Chef title.
Other all-Ireland accolades went to:
- Best Restaurant Manager – Alain Kerloc’h of OX in Belfast
- Pub of the Year – Morrissey’s in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois
- Best Hotel Restaurant – The Dining Room at Gregans Castle Hotel, Co. Clare
- Best Newcomer – Forest & Marcy, Dublin
- Best Gastro Pub – Walled City Brewery in Derry City
- Best Casual Dining – The Muddlers Club, Belfast
- Best World Cuisine – Wa Café in Galway City
- Best Café – Lost & Found in Derry City
- Best Seafood Experience – The Fish Shop, Dublin
- Best Customer Service – The Maigue Restaurant at Dunraven Arms Hotel, Limerick.
OpenTable are proud to sponsor the Irish Restaurant Award for Best Digital Marketing, which was awarded to newcomer Two Boys Brew in Phibsborough, Dublin 7. Opened in July 2016, the neighbourhood café has already received critical acclaim and managed to create an impressive online presence that has garnered them this prestigious award in less than 12 months.
Owners, Kevin Roche and Taurean Coughlan, had a very specific concept in mind for opening a café in Dublin which developed while they were living in Melbourne, Australia for four years. “Living in Melbourne was a life changing experience for us, they are very positive and have a real ‘can do’ attitude about everything – ‘you want to open a cafe, do it! You want to start a magazine, do it!” They have a zest for life and are hard workers, they go after what they want. When we came home that way of thinking was kind of instilled in us and we were so eager to open a café,” explained Taurean.
Located on the North Circular Road in Phibsborough, Dublin 7, the location was definitely key for Two Boys. “We didn’t want a café smack bang in the city centre because we feel that sometimes they can be a bit impersonal, whereas Phibsborough is a melting pot of a community. We love it. There are so many people of different demographics, amazingly-talented creative people are living in the area alongside people from the medical field. We are constantly meeting new people and it is so nice. We are almost slowly building a community of our own, which is great.”
“Dublin is exciting at the moment, there is a lot happening; there are so many people coming back from different parts of the world and bringing something new and different with them. That’s what we hoped to do with Two Boys. When we have Australians or New Zealanders come in they say ‘wow, it reminds us of home’ and that’s what we wanted to achieve.”
Creating an online brand
For Kevin and Taurean, creating an online presence and marketing campaign to promote their brand was really important. Their work experience and timing came into play to make it work effectively.
“I remember Kevin introducing me to The Happy Pear when we lived in Australia and watching their social media activity and videos, it was really interesting to see what they were doing back home,” explained Taurean. “We became almost obsessed with them! They were doing their own thing and not sticking to any rigid social expectations or following anyone else. Sometimes in Ireland, there is a sheep mentality to follow others’ leads, but their thing was new and different.”
“We were also influenced by other cafés we liked in Melbourne and how they positioned themselves online and spread the word, for example, there is a group of six guys who own a few cafés – Top Paddock and The Kettle Black Café – and they are amazing online. Their visuals are incredible and they were just on a level I had never seen before, everything was so slick. When we came back and we were planning on doing the cafe, we knew exactly what we wanted it to be, we had a big vision board of every detail planned out. We knew the look and feel and how we wanted the energy to be in the place.”
“We spent about a year on the concept and business plan. The marketing section of our business plan was crazy, it was so big, and we certainly haven’t done all of it yet. The digital part of that was huge. I was coming from a profession where it was so important. I had worked with clients like Calvin Klein, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Dolce and Gabbana, and Bonds and all of those clients were very visual, highly creative and investing massive amounts of money into digital, so I was around people who were talking about the power of digital all the time. It definitely influenced me.”
“We curated different channels to show who we are and what we wanted the place to be. When you look at The Happy Pear you know who they are and what they stand for and you can’t help but feel the energy and it makes you want to visit there. So that’s what we wanted to create too. When we first started online, we were eager not to give everything away so we did a lot of teasers.”
Two Boys Brew is a large, bright and airy space, with a familiar Danish-industrial interior style that has influenced a large number of cafés throughout Europe in recent years. However, while a familiar décor, Kevin and Taurean have definitely managed to create their own unique vibe and style of café, which is a welcomed addition in Dublin.
“Our whole business plan was set up with three main things: food, coffee, space. They are the ingredients to a successful business for us. We took all of the bits that we loved that we saw when travelling and all the dishes that sang to us from all our favourite places and that’s what’s on the menu. Number one thing for us is quality and everything that is on the menu is food we want to eat. Our Head Chef, Jane McGuinness, regularly goes on trips to meet farmers and suppliers. We only want to work with people have good positions within the food industry, it’s really important to us. We like things to be done properly ourselves, that’s how we run our business, so we want to work with people with same ethics.”
“We knew the café we wanted, the type and size of space and we wanted it to be more than just a coffee shop, we really want people to feel relaxed when they’re here and enjoy themselves and to walk out thinking ‘wow, that was the best hour of our day.’ That’s what our goal is,” commented Taurean. “This is our dream café.”