I must start my report by giving a special mention to all those involved in the Irish Restaurant Awards night in the Clayton Burlington Road on the 8th of May, and all the events team headed up by Katie Norris, on their professionalism on the night. We must also thank the staff of The Clayton Hotel for their excellent service on the night.
The quality of food produced by the Awards Chef team for 900 people was amazing. It is no mean feat, and from myself and all at the Association I would like to extend our thanks to David Gillmore (James St South) Jonathan Keane ( The Lodge @ Ashford Castle) Gary O’Hanlon (Viewmount House) Kevin Ahearne (Sage, Midleton), Gareth Mullins ( The Marker Hotel) and Finbarr Higgins (The Clayton Burlington Road) and all of their chef teams. Last of all, I would like to congratulate all the winners, well done and we hope to see you back next year.
Currently, we are facing two major issues, and two that are just not going away. The first issue is the shortage of chefs. It has now come to a stage were restaurants cannot open their doors 7 days a week because they just don’t have the chefs. It is obvious we don’t have enough chefs in this country and if we must go abroad to recruit, the government should ensure this is done without cost and over legislation. The RAI have been talking about the shortage for years but we are now at a crisis point.
The second issue is the rising cost of insurance for restaurants. Even without any claims you may have seen your premium costs rises by over 30%. God help the restaurants who have had claims or that are facing claims. The problem is restaurants are being targeted and a claims culture has developed in this country.
I cannot believe we still talk about motor insurance which, is finally on the way down and nothing is being done about commercial insurance. The RAI are currently compiling a report on insurance costs in the restaurant industry which will be presented to government and opposition. We intend to launch a large-scale PR campaign on the issue. Please complete our insurance costs survey if you have not done so already. (Click here for survey)
On a positive note, its Foodie Destinations time again. This has been a great success and has got towns and communities working together and showcasing everything that is good about their area. Last year’s winner was The Boyne Valley series and I am sure they will have stiff competition this year. The deadline date is the 13th of July and best of luck to all those who enter!
Finally, after spending a few days in America this month I feel as strong as ever about the quality and value of food being served in our restaurants. Despite all the rising costs, our standards continue to rise and it takes a trip outside of the country to realise how proud we should be of our industry.
Best wishes for the Summer Season,