Presidents Report – December

As the year comes to an end and before we can reflect on our year in business, we have what is a very important period in our trade, Christmas. City members have seen an increase in business year on year for the last 5 years, however there is one problem that is not going away and that is “no shows”.

You might ask what is the point in mentioning this in my report to you our members, as it’s the general public we have to be addressing, I feel there is a total lack of respect when a group decides not to honour their booking. I know most city restaurants are taking booking deposits and credit card numbers but this will never replace the sight or spend of having an empty table in your restaurant. It was good to see my fellow council members Carol and Kevin in Chameleon got great media coverage in the last few days; with two such instances of large group no shows happening over a single weekend. We need to get this issue out there to highlight how serious it is, it’s not just bad for business it could result in job losses!

2017 has been a year of up and downs.

The positives

We will at last be able to open our front doors on Good Friday and I think I speak for us all when I say that common sense has prevailed. We just about got over the line with the retention of VAT at 9%, and whilst Ireland still pays one of the highest Excise Duty rates we do feel it is a positive that it hasn’t increased. It has been a bumper year for visits by American tourists with an increase of 10% this year. I feel it has been a great year for Irish food and Ireland as a premier food destination in Europe. This is down to the excellent work of the chefs in our industry, the food producers and the front of house teams in our restaurants. Keep up the good work!

As it’s Christmas time we will keep with the positives and get on to the negatives another day.

I would like to thank all the team in the RAI for making my first year as plain sailing as it could be. I would like to give a special mention to Kim Leonard who has gone on maternity leave this week, she really has made my job a lot easier and I wish her the best of luck on her new arrival.

Happy Christmas to all our members and a prosperous new year.

Liam Edwards

President – Restaurants Association of Ireland