Irish uproar stops recession from devouring burger

Fri Jul 3, 2009 7:47am EDT
 
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Having grumbled about billions spent on banks, the Irish public have pulled together to rescue another treasure -- described as one of Ireland's few original contributions to world cuisine: the "spice burger."

The news that the Dublin-based makers of the crumb-coated beef burger were running out of cash persuaded a government agency to offer support, but Walsh Family Foods could not raise enough matching funds and called in a receiver, it said.

However, a public outcry and a "save our spice burger" campaign on Facebook helped receivers KPMG to secure enough new orders for the more than 50-year-old company to resume production with 20 workers.

"There was a furor. It was extraordinary," the company's Paddy Walsh said on local radio. "Cash is the problem. It's very hard to keep going in this environment."

The recession has generally boosted demand for cheap fast food but the Irish Times said Walsh Family Foods, which also sells in Britain, had sustained losses due to the weakness of sterling versus the euro and tougher competition.

The spice burger is a blend of Irish beef, onions, cereals, herbs and spices coated with a "traditional outer crumb."

Sales may also have suffered in a new generation which prefers "soggy pizza in a cardboard box to the delights of the deep fried spiced burger," another newspaper added.

"It's well and truly back," Walsh said of his burger. "No matter what happens, it's going to be on the market for a long time to come."

(Reporting by Andras Gergely; Editing by Steve Addison)