Presidents Introduction – July

Britain gone from Europe twice in one week – now that’s a headline!

The Irish hospitality industry remains in very uncertain ground about what impact the UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have on their business. In both the short and long term, this decision will undoubtedly bring turmoil. On behalf of the Restaurants Association, we are urging Irish Government to take immediate steps to alleviate concerns for the Restaurant and Tourism sector regarding the implications of this vote. It is imperative the Irish Government give a clear signal on issues of major importance to the Restaurant sector, our trading relationship with the UK and Northern Ireland and the EU budget. The Association is calling for a clear strategy on how the Irish are to deal with Brexit and minimise damage to Irish tourism. The Irish Tourism industry is highly dependent on the British Market with over 3 million visitors from the UK to Ireland each year. Restaurateurs in border county areas are deeply concerned with potential new border arrangements. In order to remain competitive and help Irish Tourism, it is imperative that the 9% vat rate for the hospitality sector. A reduction in excise duty on alcohol must also be delivered in this years’ budget to keep our industry competitive and offering value for money.

Just to add to our troubles, chef recruitment is not getting any easier. I have advertised chef positions through numerous channels and have had very little response. It certainly seems that we have lots of commis chefs but no pastry or head chefs in the jobs market. I must also add that there is a staggering increase in the number of restaurants on the verge of shutting down, due to the inability to source chefs – this is really is affecting our industry. With 5000 Chefs required by the end of this year to fill vacancies, we have called for the re-establishment of CERT (the former State Training Agency for Tourism).  As a short term solution, the Association is currently seeking to partner with Chef Training Colleges worldwide to attract qualified chefs to Ireland.

The Irish Restaurants Golf Society held its Captains Day on Monday, 27th June in the famous K Club. It was a fantastic turnout with 28 players, some of which were new faces which I was delighted to see.  A great day was had by all. I must thank Niall and all the staff at the K Club for such a warm welcome and indeed thanks also to Lady Captain Angela Cirillo for her guidance and help.  Members of the RAI should consider joining this excellent society, it is a great way of meeting fellow restaurateurs and friends. With membership at just €99 and special discounts for RAI members, it really is great value. To join the RAI golf society, please download a membership booking form here and return with payment details to or 11 Bridge Court, Citygate, St. Augustine Street, Dublin 8. New members and guests are always welcome! We are now finalising details for our away outing in September so will keep you updated with more information in the coming months.

Wishing all fellow restaurateurs a great and busy summer.


Your President 

Anthony Gray

Ready to become a member?

Find out more about the benefits of memberships
with the Association here.