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Laying the Foundations of Mad Egg

Mad Egg, founded in 2018 by Stephen O’Reilly and Connor Sheridan, will soon be opening its third location at Dundrum Shopping Centre by the end of July this year. We spoke to Stephen O’Reilly to discover what the ethos of Mad Egg is, how their branding works and to go on a walk through their menu.

Well received on both Charlotte’s Way and at the Italian Quarter on the Millenium walkway in the city centre, the brand, according to Stephen, “Aims to elevate the standard of chicken offerings”.

Stephen believes that chicken is an undervalued source of protein, and that the recent rise in standards regarding food has not been applied to the meat. “It is a great protein source,” he said, “And we wanted to create a singular menu around that”.

It is without doubt a succinct menu, offering five ‘birds’, or types of chicken burgers, and four tenders, with a vegetarian substitution of cauliflower fritters available, along with four sides. There was demand for a desert and as a result the quirky DIY cheesecake was born, where customers can pick their own toppings and build their own cake, adding an unusual and interactive dimension to the overall experience at Mad Egg.

“We want to champion the best products, deliver consistently, and wrap it all up in a very cool way,” said Stephen when explaining the brand. Suppliers include beer from Hope microbrewery, bread from Coughlan’s Bakers in Naas, Co. Kildare, and organic chicken from John Smith in Navan.

Mad Egg is very much at the vanguard of casual dining; that is to say classic dishes made with high quality, locally sourced ingredients, prepared with flare and served in a comfortable and on-trend environment. Branding plays a huge role here, setting up expectations long before customers even see the menu.

Social media, particularly Instagram, has played a significant role in the success of Mad Egg. To help cultivate this, Stephen and his team have worked with Maya Design for all their graphic design needs, as well as professional photographers for their product shots.

“We were very lucky when it came to social media,” said Stephen. “We had a lot of big followers from early on, many being influencers, and we produced a lot of engaging content.”

A surprising number of fitness enthusiasts follow Mad Egg’s Instagram account; with the online demographic ranging roughly from late teens to late twenties. The age range of customers is much more diverse, running from teenagers up to those in their 60s, all from a variety of backgrounds.

Mad Egg’s brand is vibrant, and the staff reflect this. Currently the business is continuing to build its team, training in new members across the existing two locations in preparation for the Dundrum opening.

Stephen feels that having a pool of staff that work in a variety of locations is extremely useful, although he did reflect that there is a general shortage of kitchen staff in the industry. For Mad Egg, in-house upskilling has become essential to ensuring positions are filled.

Once Stephen and Connor secured the Dundrum Town Centre unit in an expanding part of the shopping centre, they were given six weeks to have everything in place. Dundrum Town Centre is managed by Hammerson, and the expansion has placed a significant emphasis on food and beverage. “They’ve done a good job,” said Stephen.

Between the branding, the staffing, and of course the food, it’s easy to see why Mad Egg has quickly garnered itself a reputation. It has also managed to generate significant buzz in a specific market segment online while not alienating a wider demographic. “If you look at our tagline – Chicken Done Proper – you can see our ethos,” said Stephen.

If the success of the previous units is anything to go by, the new opening in Dundrum will only continue to grow the brand further – proving that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

Encircle 360 Ltd T/A Food for Thought - FFT.ie, 59 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland.

The Official Publication of the Restaurants Association of Ireland

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