I was delighted to be elected president of the RAI in the wonderful Ashford castle on the 6th of March.
I was born and reared in kinsale, was also born into the industry. My father bought our restaurant 46 years ago and since then we have seen the up and downs of the trade. Being from Kinsale where the hospitality industry is talked about more than any other, I feel this gives me a good platform for the year ahead.
I would like to thank Antony Gray for his hard work and commitment he has given the job. He was a great president and a breath of of fresh air to the industry. He is also a great friend.
My first 2 functions were the last 2 regional restaurant awards in Limerick and Sligo. There were great turnouts and it’s hard to believe there were 80,000 nominations this year. Great credit goes to the RAI events team for this and I’m sure we will have a super night on the 8th of May for finals night in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road.
I am looking forward to the year ahead.
We really have to fight to reduce the cost of opening our doors every day.
VAT will have to remain at 9%, excise duty on wine cannot go any higher. We have to look at the rising cost of insurance and rates. We have to do everything in our power to stop the putting calories on menu, this is the governments lazy way of trying to curb the obesity problem in Ireland.
I would like to see us get a foot in the education system. We could solve 2 issues, we could educate kids on healthy eating, and we could also promote our industry as a career choice.
There are negatives of our business but I want also to promote the positives of our industry.
We continue to create jobs; our food standards across the board in Ireland have never being higher.
I have seen a massive growth in food community and groups working together in the country, not only are they promoting their area, they are enhancing the reputation of Ireland as a food destination.
I hope during my time as president that our membership continues to grow ,it really is strength in numbers .The sales team do great job in the office recruiting members, I would also ask members to encourage fellow restaurateurs to join up.
Please feel free to contact me any time regarding any issues.
Best wishes for the season ahead,
Jim Edwards Bar & Restaurant, Kinsale, Co. Cork