Former O’Brien’s sandwich man Brody Sweeney was once feted at conference and business meetings as one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs. Now, he told The Sunday Independent, he is lauded instead as an “example of perseverance in business”.
Speaking at a conference at the K Club in Co Kildare, O’Brien offered a basic piece of advice to those who have suffered in the recession: “stay in the game”.
In 2007, the O’Brien franchise had a combined turnover of €140m – the holding company that owned the brand had profits of € 1.2 million. By March 2009, O’Brien’s had gone into examinership and the chain was placed into liquidation six months later.
Sweeney said he had sleepless nights and the “terrors” and his life had been turned upside down. The experience had shattered his self-esteem. That was then, this is now: Sweeney is now CEO of the Diep at Home Thai food takeaway service with outlets in Blackrock, Ranelagh and Cork Street in Dublin.
“I have gone in 15 months from having no idea what the future held and being scared and terrified, to having a new business, having some optimism and having a salary.”
If testimony was ever needed that even the direst of recessions can’t keep a good man down, this is the article to prove it.
“It’s very hard when you are in difficult times to have a different perspective; to think in a year’s time things will be different. But by staying in the game opportunities will present themselves to you. So that is my advice. Persevere.”