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Q&A: Randy Lewis, Randaddy’s, Lahinch

Canadian chef Randy Lewis owns Randaddy’s restaurant on the seafront in Lahinch, Co. Clare. His restaurant features an eclectic mix of menu choices, gathered and inspired from his extensive travels around the world.

For the past number of years, Randy has been travelling around the world making his own travel/cooking videos which have amassed thousands of views and followers on Facebook.  Here he speaks to Barbara Collins about his journey so far and his plans for 2020.

Food for Thought – FFT.ie: What is your background as a chef?
Randy Lewis: I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 13 and started travelling when I was 17. I have worked on all five continents. Studying foods from around the world has definitely helped me as a chef and morphed into the Randaddy’s brand which is a taste of adventure from around the world.

What is the ethos of Randaddy’s?
Randaddy’s is a brand that I created nine years ago. The food is based on flavours from around the world and more importantly flavours from the places I studied in. All of the recipes are authentic and are made in-house. This is our unique selling point.

What is your customer base?
Randaddy’s is very lucky in that we pitch to a large customer client base from teenagers on dates to golfers to mothers drinking wine and having tapas on the patio. Our menu has a wide variety which means there is something for everyone.

What are your bestselling dishes?
The bestselling dish is by far the seafood tagliatelle. I could never take this off the menu. Most of the things on the menu are so multicultural. I find that they all sell quite evenly but Asian dishes definitely come up trumps as they have the most flavours. The Tteriyaki dish from Japan is another crowd pleaser.

What are the biggest challenges in running a restaurant?
I think the biggest challenge is running a restaurant in the current climate is inflation. Finding staff around areas like Lahinch can be challenging as well.

How important is social media in driving business?
Social media has been a massive driver in the marketing plan as it is the best platform to reach as many people as possible. We publish recipes and videos on social media – this helps with branding and reinforces where our food style comes from. So, for Randaddy’s, social media has been a massive success.

You have been on TV and have more projects in the pipeline, tell us about those?
I’ve been on TV a few times; RTE’s Nationwide, Virgin Media’s The Restaurant, and the RTE Today show. I also write direct and produce my own web series. Last year we were in Kenya for a six-part series which had more than 1m views. I cooked with a tribe from the Masai Mara. My true passion is to travel and find new ingredients from around the world. I will be filming again in the New Year, this time in India.

What are your plans for the future?
The future of Randaddy’s is looking very promising. The number of staff has risen from 5 to 30 in the last eight years. We plan to expand in exciting new directions. Obviously, TV branding and my personal brand are both extremely important, but we also want to spread the good flavours of the restaurant to other parts of the country. Next year I will be launching my new video series – 52 video recipes in 52 weeks coming out on social media in 2020.

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