Dragon Profile - Bobby Kerr
Bobby Kerr, a well known business man and the Chairman of Insomnia has many different business interests in the hotel, restaurant, and food sectors.
From a young age, Bobby got the business bug while helping his father run the 4 star Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny. At 16 he was introduced to the hotel kitchen where he sweated his way through two summers, learning some of the favourite game dishes that he still cooks today.
After graduating from catering management in DIT Cathal Brugha Street, Bobby landed his very first job at AIB catering in Ballsbridge. He was soon travelling the globe, working as a chef on oil rigs in the North Sea and then onto Canada where he gained vast experience in stadium catering. He went on to co- ordinate catering for the 1 million people at the pope's visit to Canada in 1985.
He returned to Ireland in the mid 80's where he spent 13 years with the Campbell Bewley Group, first at Campbell Catering in Cork and later at Bewley's Oriental Cafes. As Managing Director of Bewley's Oriental Cafe, Bewley's Franchising and Bewley's Bakery, he oversaw 30 Bewley's Cafes and bakeries with a turnover of ¤40 million. He was responsible for the overseas development of the Bewley's brand in the UK, USA and Japan. In 1999, Bobby set up PERK coffee shops in Dublin, before selling the brand to Insomnia. Bobby reinvested all the proceeds of the PERK sale back into Insomnia and became a shareholder and CEO. Since 2004, he has led the expansion of the business from 17 to 70 shops and increased turnover from ¤5 to ¤21 million. In March 2010, he changed his role from CEO of Insomnia to Chairman to allow him to concentrate on his ever growing portfolio of business.
He became a dragon in 2008 and has made 10 investments over the first three series of the show.
In 2010, Bobby purchased Bang Restaurant on Merrion Row along with two partners. The restaurant, where Bobby can often be seen walking the floor, has gone from strength to strength.
Bobby is a highly sought after public speaker and is known for his witty and upfront speaking style. He has been presenting Down to Business Sunday Mornings on Newstalk 106 - 108fm since 2010. This lively and vibrant business show has a large following, especially in the SME community.