I hope you all had a good summer and managed to get a break at some stage!
Firstly, I would like to congratulate West Cork on being named Ireland’s premier Foodie Destination 2017.
I would also like to congratulate the Top 10 destinations which included us (Kinsale), although not winners there are a lot of positives you can take from the competition. I feel another big winner on the night was Ireland as a premier food destination. The standard of Irish produce and the standard of Irish restaurants have never been greater and now we have foodie groups and networks all over the country promoting everything that is good about their region. The day should be gone when the tourist is surprised when they see the quality of Irish food. I would also like to thank last year’s worthy winner’s Boyne Valley for hosting this year’s final event and especially everyone at the Headfort Arms Hotel. Last of all, I would like to thank our sponsors FBD Insurance.
The 9% VAT debate is never going away and recently there has being a lot of media coverage on it.
My feeling on it is, when it was introduced in 2011 our industry was in a worse position than it is now. Since 2011, the only cost that hasn’t gone up in our industry has been this VAT rate. We have seen insurance rise from anything up to 40%, our wages bill is increasing every year, food produce, excise duties and commercial rates are all rising. The biggest issue we have right now, something that people outside of the industry don’t see, is consumer spend. If people see a busy establishment or can’t get a table they presume the place is a making a fortune, something which we know not to be true.
Half the battle for business is to get your customer in the door but we rely a lot the time the spend is just not there. We have seen our wine sales plummeted, Irish coffee after meals are nearly a thing of the past and we are back drinking tap water! I know a lot of restaurant introduced early bird and dinner menu during the recession these menus still remain and make your margins even tighter. Keeping this rate is keeping our doors open.
The vat debate will rage on but I urge you all to keep up your campaign and when you have the chance to contact your local TD and remember this rate is in line with over 80% of our Euro members. Budget Day is on October 10th so we only have 6 weeks to re-iterate the message Keep VAT at 9%.
Jim Edwards Bar & Restaurant, Kinsale, Co. Cork