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We Asked Dublin Restaurateurs How They ACTUALLY Decide What To Charge For Avocado Toast

By Megan Cassidy

November 16, 2018 at 9:50am

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Last year we all discovered that the reason we can't afford to buy a home in Dublin is because we spend all our money on avocado toast.

Thankfully, we decided in signature millennial zeal that instead of forgoing the 21,000 avo-toasts it would take to make up a deposit, we would support the growth and expansion of our local brunch spots and continue to chow down every weekend.

But while we're apparently blowing all our disposable cash on the "devil food" - it's become glaringly apparent that the standard of avocado toast around the city varies wildly - despite the price point staying pretty much the same.

I was served this very miserable looking avocado toast in Ranelagh cafe Urban Health recently for the princely price of €9 - an expensive takeaway lunch by any standards.

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One slice of thin bread, with a smearing of avocado spread on top, some rocket and a sprinkling of seeds.* NINE EURO and I was still starving after it.

Compare that to the lavish offerings around the city for in or around the same price - with toppings including goat's cheese, feta, poached eggs, beetroot hummus, etc etc - the maths just don't add up.

I get it - the vegan-friendly cafe needs to keep a roof over its head, but when you splash out €9 on a lunch, you expect more than this.

So what gives?

We decided to get granular - how exactly are our favourite brunch spots pricing up their avocado toasts and where can we find the best value for money in the city when standards can vary so wildly?

The fact is, when it comes to avocado toast - most places just ain't doing it for the cheese.

Actually, the folks at the massively popular Honey Truffle cafe told us they just hope the customer also buys a tea or coffee to justify the pricey dish.

Honey Truffle serve their smashed avocado on Arun bakery sourdough, with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, spiced seeds, crumbled Ryefield goats cheese and leaves for just €6.

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That's a FEED for €6. The owners broke down their pricing for us:

"Avocados are expensive to purchase. Honey truffle pays €2.20 for an avocado.

"We have to factor in that when our chefs prepare the avocados each morning, they are peeling, seasoning and dressing with fresh lime juice. The slow-roasted cherry tomatoes that accompany it are prepared daily.

"Our sourdough is delivered daily from Arun Bakery, and per Avocado Toast, we serve a couple of slightly smaller slices found at either ends of the loaves, that are too small for our sandwiches....but perfect for the Avocado Toasts and the toppings.

"There is a lot of thought that goes in to all that we do...not just serve and charge."

When it comes to profit they told us - "we are not making a great deal on this item".

We'd imagine not.

Shane Molony, General Manager at Riba, Stillorgan told us: "A restaurant's ability to control food costs is key to keeping those doors open and generally, we try to keep them around 30 per cent of sales ex VAT.

"Our Avocado Benedict consists of two Free-range Irish eggs, a chunky slice of proper sour-dough delivered daily from Caviston’s in Glasthule; a dollop of hollandaise; and potato, roasted with rosemary and garlic.

"And of course, a whole perfectly ripe avocado, smashed and seasoned. Total Cost - €3.

Add a 70% margin, plus VAT of 9% makes it an €11 dish.

Now, remember, we don’t just run off with the other 70% - there are so many bills that go into running a restaurant.

To give our staff a fair wage, it costs 35% of our sales.

"Rent and rates account for another 13%. Then there is electricity, gas and water; crazy insurance premiums; machine servicing; till and reservations system subscriptions; a fee to play sound over our speakers.

"So whats left over? 80 cent is your outcome – and remember, that gets taxed too!"

Riba Stillorgan - smashed avo, two poached eggs, hollandaise, and a side of roast potatoes and veg - €11


It's a similar situation for Póg, another one of our readers' favourites with locations on Bachelor's Walk and Tara Street.

Their avocado toast plate comes in at €10 - and for that you get smashed avo on sourdough with parma ham, chilli and linseed. For an extra €2 you can add two poached eggs.

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Managing Director Rachel told us that she actually felt "angry" as she was breaking it down because of the amount of work that goes into the plate and the misconceptions around pricing.

She told us, "I always work to 30% food cost and 30% labour.

This is particularly tricky for restaurants and cafes that have a lot of fruit and veg on the menu as the prices fluctuate wildly.

She told us: "Suppliers can just up them at any time.

"We aim for 3/4 of a large avocado, maldon sea salt, lime juice, serrano ham, linseed and chilli."

Ireland has the second highest minimum wage in Europe after Luxembourg - brilliant news for the economy, but tough on the restaurateur's balance sheet.

While Rachel aims for 28 - 30% labour cost, she explained it often goes way above this.

"The staff need to be presented well to the customer, taking into consideration the cost of their logo'd uniforms.

"Not only does the avocado need to be ordered, ripened, and prepped by staff it also needs to be served immaculately as this is what Póg is known for.

"Let's not forget the kitchen porter's wage for cleaning the plate, the servicing of dishwashers, grease traps, cost of detergents, pest control, the list goes on."

Then there's the rent issue. Costs in Dublin are at an all-time high, but it's the miscellaneous costs that really chip away at that bottom line, according to Rachel.

"Hosting your website, electricity, gas, insurance, marketing costs, delivery agents (deliveroo, corporate lunches, just eat etc), graphic design for menu updates and printing of branded napkins, loyalty cards etc. Constant maintenance costs, pilferage, pest control, till systems, printers and their rental, waste/bins, CCTV. The list goes on and on."

"Let's take our €10 euro avocado toast now, and see how much of it is leftover now. Usually about €1 or less."

It's bloody expensive to run a business in the city centre, and the standards in Dublin are sky high - but it's also a level playing field.

While we can accept that avocado toast will always be expensive, that notion can also act as a shield for restauraters to hide behind when they're serving up bad value.

So choose this weekend's brunch wisely.

As well as Honey Truffle and Póg, here are some of the best value avocado toasts in Dublin.

Project Black - Takeaway Smashed avo with chilli flakes and mixed seeds - €5.50


Two Boys Brew - Smashed avo on sourdough, two poached eggs, crumbled feta, beetroot hummus, seeds and leaves - €10.95


Brother Hubbard - smashed avocado & chickpea spread, two poached eggs, house nut dukkah, harissa yogurt, radish & nigella seeds - €11.95


*A representative for Urban Health told us that what I was served in the above photos was not to their usual standard - I want to reiterate that I can only speak for my experience on the day, and if you've had a different experience by all means share it.

On a positive note - their vegan banana bread is delicious and well-priced at €3.50 for a giant hunk with peanut butter. Ideal Friday morning brekkie.


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