It certainly was a Good Friday for the restaurant business last week and again I would like to thank Senator Billy Lawless and the VFI for getting the lifting of the alcohol ban over the line. Throughout the entirety of the process, he had the backing of the RAI.
On Friday in Kinsale we had a sunny day, full of tourists and day-trippers, who were off work after enduring the longest winter in memory. It was great that we could provide them with the best of Irish hospitality in our restaurants and I’m sure it was the same across the country.
Another tradition I feel is a little outdated on Good Friday is abstaining from eating meat. We need to be promoting the consumption of fish at least 2 to 3 times a week and not just on Fridays. As an association we should be working closely with Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Board Bia on this. We need to educate the consumer about what is farmed and not farmed along with what fish is in season. We also need to work closely with the fishing industry to insure the catch of the day is ends up in Ireland’s restaurants and rather than abroad.
The 10th Annual Restaurants Awards are in full swing with our last regional awards taking place in Belfast on Wednesday the 4th of April in the La Mon Hotel.
It has been great to see so much positivity in the room during the regional awards, not just with the restaurateurs but with our fantastic sponsors who have come on board this year and provided a superior standard of service to their customers. We all know to succeed in this industry we need suppliers working together with us and I would urge members to look at the portfolio of suppliers we have as associated members.
As I have already mentioned, our industry has had a winter we want to forget and this tumultuous weather has significantly affected Irish businesses. This is why the busy summer and tourist season is vital to our industry. The signs are positive and believe it will be busier than last year so I would advise all of our members to hang in there!
President, Restaurants Association of Ireland