I think we all breathe a sigh of relief when we see the back of January, but since the turn of the year we have seen a few positives in our industry. The Good Friday opening has finally got over the line. While to some it might be seen as just one day, however, it is the Friday of a bank holiday where tourists come through our airports to be met with the closed doors of pubs and restaurants. While some circles would wish to extend this opening to Christmas Day, I can safely say I don’t think any of our members would like to open on this day.
The on-going no-show issue in restaurants also received a significant amount of positive media attention in recent months and I feel it’s a major win that we brought this to the public attention. Hopefully come next year, when Christmas bookings are being made, customers will choose one restaurant, give a booking deposit and if there is a reduction in numbers for the booking, they will inform the restaurant well in advance. Not too much to ask!
We launched the 2018 Irish Restaurant Awards this January and while the online voting is now closed, the public response was just shy of 100,000 and we anticipate many more next year. Nominees will be contacted in mid-February and will be invited to the Regional Awards that will take place in March and April. Best of luck to all nominees. We only have to wait until tomorrow for Ireland’s first ever Global Hospitality Tech Summit. It will be held in Citywest, Dublin, on the 6th and 7th of February, in association with Food and Bev live. There are still a few tickets available and an excellent line-up of speakers will be attending.
The RAI AGM and my own President’s Dinner will be held on the 5th of March in Adare Manor, LImerick. A full line-up of speakers will be announced very shortly. I know there has been a huge demand for rooms on the night but note that the AGM will start at the later time of 12pm, giving everyone an opportunity to make their way down on the day. I hope to see you all there.