Alan Feeley opened Feeley’s in Andersonstown, Belfast five years ago. He loves everything about the job from trying out new menu items to meeting customers. His motto is ‘you get out of it what you put in’.
What is your name? Name of Business? Alan Feeley, Feeley’s Belfast
When did you open? Were you taking over an existing premises? We’re open five years. We took over an existing takeaway and changed the name and menu.
Did you previously work in the food industry before opening here? Yes, I’m twenty years in the food business.
What kind of services do you offer customers? We’re open noon until 11pm daily and we do deliveries using a local delivery man. We have a good broad menu.
What’s your bestselling item (besides chips?) The pizza does very well and the fish
What fish do you serve? Cod from a local supplier
Is there anything unique to your menu? We were the first to introduce the Taco Chip to Anderstown
How many staff do you employ? 10 or 12 people, including part-time
What, in your opinion, makes your shop unique to your customers? We keep our prices down, we offer great food at good value, and we’re active on social media, we offer a holiday through a competition.
What do you most like about the job? I love my job. I love everything about it. Meeting people, cooking, running the business, the whole thing.
Do you find much difference between busy times and slow times during the week. Is there a big difference between seasons? Weekends are busy of course, Christmas is always extremely busy but we do a steady trade year round because our custom is local and regular.
What is your customer profile? It’s local to a 4 or 5 mile radius and it’s everyone from kids to pensioners.
What’s the biggest challenge facing you in business at the moment? The challenge is just making sure it’s right for the customer
What is competition like in the area? Competition is fierce – a lot of takeaways and deli counters. We just look after our business. That’s all you can do
Are your customers adventurous eaters? They like the core products, the basic takeaway menu, but I’ve noticed that it’s good to introduce new products. We’ve introduced a lot of stuff from Kepak – the sides, and they’re going well.
Is there anything the government could be doing to make your life easier? I take the view that you have to just get on with it. Yes, VAT and rates are high, but they have to be paid.
If you could invite someone famous to dinner who would it be? I work nights so I don’t ever have dinner… if I could invite anyone, it would be my wife.
How do you manage the work–life balance? It’s not easy. You have to work hard in this business. I see my kids in the morning and I try and take off a day or two during the week, but that’s not always possible – we’re open daily.
Have you done anything recently to help grow your business? We keep trying out new menu items.
What tip would you give someone coming into this industry? You’re married to the business, if you’re not hands on, there’s no point getting into it
How do you advertise new menu items? On Facebook, and we’re about to drop 40,000 leaflets in the area.
Do you have a business motto? You get out of it what you put into it