Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the Happy Pear lads, Steven and David Flynn and their chain of plant based food cafes and outlets so when I heard that they were opening another outlet in Dublin airport, I was super excited as now I can finally get fuss free wholefood plant based grub on the go before flying.
They have 3 other stores – the 1st is in their hometown of Greystones in Co. Wicklow, another in Shoreline in Bray and a relatively new one in Clondalkin in West Dublin. I’ve been to all three cafes and they are great. The food is great, the staff are great and there is an energy to these shops that is missing from traditional conventional cafes. An energy that says this is something different and that energy seems to resonate from the staff in all three of these locations. It’s good and different.
Their choice of locations seems to revolve around more than just commercial footfall statistics and takes account of community, which is one the key tenants of their lifestyle. The Clondalkin location was an odd choice on the surface but when you look a bit deeper, the area around the Round Tower historical site where the café resides is a vibrant community into which the Happy Pear can contribute and foster.
Lofty goals such as building and fostering a community of like-minded people on a health journey to improve one’s life is a non-conventional mission for a food business and for this they need to be applauded.
However, I think that the Dublin airport outlet lets the side down spectacularly in this regard. I’ve been to this café a few times now as I pass through the airport and each time, I visit it, I feel a lack of energy or vibrancy from the place and the staff. The staff look just like the staff in any other fast food outlet – tired, unhealthy, disengaged and wishing they were someplace else. This is not the kind of energy or impression I would have expected here.
The happy pear stands for much more than this and to me the Dublin airport location is their most obvious stab at commerciality yet. I totally understand the need for capitalism and profiteering to pay wages and sustain a business, but they can do it better than this.
The food side is good however processed Linda McCartney sausages feature heavily in the breakfast boxes and the SLT (sausage, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches. I like them but they are a step in the wrong direction away from good whole plant based foods and a step closer to junk food vegan but I could overlook this if the energy in the place wasn’t so jaded and tired, and this outlet is only open a number of months.
A lot of my impression here comes down to the staff unfortunately. A lack of energy, a lack of engagement, a lack of local humour or that glint of healthiness in their shiny eyes that says, we are doing something different here, we believe in it and we are super proud of it too. Vanity unfortunately also plays a role too. The staff do not look healthy and this image jars with the business image of the two lads on the video screens with their super healthy and fit bodies and outlooks.
The slogan on the wall in the shop says “Be the change you want to see in the world” which is great advice from Gandhi, and advice that the staff here should take more heed of.
As I said at the outset of this article, I am huge fan of these guys and their business, but on this occasion, the Dublin airport outlet falls short of the high and different standards that I expect from them.
C’mon guys, you can do it better than this.
Yours in health and happiness,