As the sun is shining and we are all feeling a bit happier I have decided to keep my June report positive.
On the 14th of May we hosted our 10th Annual All-Ireland Restaurant Awards and it was our most successful so far. Over 1,000 attended on the night and a lot of credit goes to the RAI team who ensured everyone on the night had a great experience. We also received great support from our sponsors who really rallied behind the event in every way. I’m thrilled to hear reports that they enjoyed the regional and All-Ireland events and had the opportunity to meet and interact with so many of their valued customers. I would like to congratulate all the award winners but as I mentioned in my speech on the night, every Irish restaurant who can survive and achieve success in this industry should feel like a winner.
At the start of the month I put out a call to remove plastic straws from Irish restaurants. I know some might say there is an added cost to this, however, I think restaurateurs should employ a method where the customer has to request a straw, rather than having them on a counter where they will automatically be placed into a drink by habit alone. Our trade partners are offering competitive prices on recyclable products and I feel these prices will come down again soon. Just us doing our bit for the environment!
We all know about the chef shortage and the lack of chef training courses in Ireland. Recently, the Chef Apprentice Programme was passed but in the last few days the Chef de Partie Programme has also passed. A lot of credit again goes to the staff in the RAI head office who put in a lot of time and effort to see this over the line. These are small steps but ones that are heading in the right direction.
On my last positive note, next week we will see the launch of Foodie Destinations 2018! There have been a few tweaks to the competition this year but you will have to wait for the press release to find out more. Win, lose or draw, I feel this competition gives towns, councils and foodie groups a reason to come together and work to promote the unique elements of their region.
So let’s get those entries in!