Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Looking ahead: Ryan 'Mr Lyan' Chetiyawardana, Dandelyan

Published:  20 July, 2018

As the first half of 2018 draws to a close, Harpers asked key trade figures to highlight the current challenges, ongoing trends and opportunities  

We start our series with insights from Ryan Chetiyawardana, co-owner of Dandelyan, Super Lyan and Cub. 

How has the first half of 2018 been when compared to the same period in 2017?

We always have a busy beginning to the year, but this year had an extra aspect of us having two new venues in operation so it had an extra layer of busyness!

What, currently, are the biggest challenges for the trade (excluding Brexit)?

I think there's been an increase in staffing pressures (and sure, Brexit has exacerbated that) that are being felt across the industry, and across the globe. But I also worry that we're not working together to steer the conversation as much as we can. The government has a schizophrenic approach to alcohol. On the one hand, Scotch is a huge tax generator and source of tourism; on the other, there is the view that alcohol is the cause of all of society's ills. We're not involved in having an adult conversation about it. We still create arrogant divides between food and drink and we still enable bureaucratic systems that make waste part of the mix. We need to have more balanced, realistic and longer-term conversations across the board.

And challenges that are Brexit-related?

Certainly staffing, but given that too, I think there is a faltering confidence in the industry. That, coupled with the fact that middle players have been jumping on the cocktail bandwagon and over inflating the scene, means there might be a big problem to face if Brexit is anything more than feather touch.

What’s your strategy for meeting current trading challenges during the second half of the year, through autumn and leading up to the crucial Christmas trading period?

We always try to have new conversations in the bar, keep things honest and try and offer something authentic and new. We're really passionate about what we do so we make sure we can offer something exciting for our guests.

And where do the opportunities lie?

I'm a firm believer in collaboration, so I think there's a huge opportunity to relax our boundaries and start to collaborate with industries outside of our own.

Specifically, what will the focus be on with regard to your portfolio?

I can't reveal specifics just now, unfortunately. Lots of new things to come though!

Any other trends that you anticipate?

Better balanced ingredients – we need to have ingredients with a real story that are sustainable, realistic and engage our guests. I also hope that there's a bigger group of producers who aren't trying to adhere, or simply jump on the bandwagon, but are trying to create something that may not fall into easy categories, but are genuinely interesting and progressive.

How optimistic are you – will business for the drinks trade be better or worse between now and 1 Jan 2019 compared with last year?

I'm always the optimist, and it's certainly the best we've ever had it – in all walks of life, and in life in general! But we need to not be complacent, we need to recognise the fortunes we have and work hard to ensure they usher in a better tomorrow.