At noon on a crisp autumn day, Kwanghee Chan sits at a corner table in Smart Bites restaurant on Dublin’s Capital Docks, watching the comings and goings. Lunchtime customers are starting to fill up, but like all other restaurant owners in the country, he says they have a lot of customers, but the continued problem of rising food and energy costs. He worries about what will happen “when the heating kicks in” during the winter.

Managing bills and cash flow is a constant balancing act,” says Kwanghi. “There’s a finite amount you can charge for a plate of food, so at this point it’s survival of the fittest, and those who can keep their heads above the water survive.”

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