August President’s Report

Dear Member,

It was “Good Friday” for the restaurant business with the decision to allow restaurants to open on this day in the future. It really was a small step in the right direction for our business. It was never going to make or break us, but personal I feel it’s one headache out of the way. Well done to all involved especially the work of Senator Billy Lawless.

When I took over this job in March on I knew there were issues that affected all of our members. Issues like keeping VAT at 9%, the rising costs of insurance & rates and the chef shortage.

I also know that many issues remain that not every business in the country had felt the recovery and the RAI is here to represent these restaurants. I know that restaurants that are located by the border have been feeling the impact of Brexit already. I know that while the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East and so on were great initiatives by Failte Ireland, members just out of the loop of these areas are struggling.

I know that tourism numbers are up and while that is great, some restaurants depend on the home market and may find things have become harder as the spend is not always there and in other case, the increase in the number of those holidaying abroad have seen non-tourist towns trade drop significantly. I know some urban areas have seen a high rise in new openings and more competition and this in turn can cause restaurants to have had a down turn in business.

I would urge members who are concerned about their business to contact our office or myself. We will listen to your issues, provide assistance where we can and we will ensure your voice is heard.

Voting for Foodie Destinations was opened this month and the competition is better than ever. Every region that entered did a fantastic job. Every region that entered did a fantastic job. I am very proud to see my own town of Kinsale in the top 10 fighting for the title of Foodie Destinations 2017 as well. I would urge everyone to make sure to vote and I would like to thank Ireland’s Blue Books for providing one lucky voter with a prize this year.

Finally, I would like to express our sincere regrets to Kate Lawlor of Fenn’s Quay, Gavin McDonagh of Brioche & Patrick McArdle of Stanley’s, all of whom had to close their doors last month. So far this year, 46 of our members have had to close.

The message this month is:

“It’s still tough out there”