"Back to being the Copper Face Jacks of Sligo!" – Meet the Irishman who gave his pub an amazing pandemic makeover
Brought to you by Camile Thai
"Did I ever see a worldwide pandemic closing us? No. Absolutely I did not..."
As a mysterious illness crept its way across the world back at the start of 2020, one man was living life to the full.
Brian O'Sullivan, originally from Castletownbere in Cork, was the proud owner of a number of social spots in Sligo, a selection of highly-successful venues that were packed every day and night of the week.
As he says himself, "The Garavogue was the Copper Face Jacks of Sligo!"
Unfortunately though, as with countless other businesses across the island of Ireland and in the UK, when the coronavirus and a subsequent lockdown hit, he was forced to make the difficult decision to close his establishments, call in his staff, and break the news to them that they were now unfortunately jobless.
He remembers that awful day vividly, even emptying the café's kitchen to ration the leftover food and share it with the staff...
"We got all our staff in on Monday morning and got the wages processed really quickly and we paid them all. We got them all signed up on the pandemic payment and made sure everybody was set. Then we literally got all the food out of the kitchen, all the bread and the milk from the café, and as the staff were coming in collecting their wages we were like, 'take whatever you need.'
And when everybody was gone, I was just sitting there and I thought, 'What is after happening!? What's it all coming to?'
When they'd all gone I was sitting there and I'd a cry to myself going 'what the HELL has happened here!?'
Everything we've built up, everything we've worked on for the last 10 years and BANG! We're closed and we've no idea whenever we'll get open again."
Just like so many other people in the country, Brian spent the next few weeks of lockdown with his family, still coming to terms with the loss of his business.
One day, however, an opportunity arrived in the form of something unexpected – a complete pivot for a once-thriving drinks establishment to make use of its now-idle kitchen in order to become a thriving takeaway and delivery food business.
Camile Thai, a restaurant brand based in Dublin, was offering the owners of closed venues the chance to become franchise owners.
What happened next is nothing short of remarkable as Brian's new-found, revamped business exploded into life again. As he says himself, it was "like sitting in a Maserati and you're just f*ckin' holding on for dear life!"
Rehiring previously let-go staff as delivery drivers, shooting straight to the top of the sales charts across Ireland and the UK, and now perfectly equipped to survive the restrictions of Lockdown 2.0, Brian's story of disaster-to-success in just a few months is a brilliant and much-needed Good News story of 2020.
Listen to him tell his incredible turnaround tale below... (Click here if the video doesn't appear)
Or see it on Twitter below... (Click here if the video doesn't appear)
"Back to being the Copper Face Jacks of Sligo!"
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) October 29, 2020
If Brian's story sounds like it might be something you or someone you know would be interested in, you can find out more information about the opportunity on the Camile website right here.
Camile Thai Kitchen is a healthy, sustainable, fast-casual restaurant brand, focused on home delivery. Since opening its first location in 2010, it has expanded to over 30 locations, including Antrim, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Limerick, Meath, Sligo and Wicklow. More information on franchise opportunities is available here.
Brought to you by Camile Thai