President’s Report – January 2023

Decorations are coming down everywhere, lights being put away, Christmas for another year has passed. Is everyone tired, I know I am. Our festive season seems to be getting longer and longer. This year it felt a lot longer being the first real one in three years. Its finally behind us and in general I would say for most it has been a very successful season. Restaurants are gastropubs across the country have been buzzing since early December, record sales are being recorded and the mood throughout is very encouraging. However when the dust settles during January and all the bills are paid it will tell a very different story. The cost of doing business will unfortunately wipe out whatever profits that would have been made.

Continuing the good work of 2022, the RAI will continue to tackle the issues for the hospitality & restaurant sector in 2023. The top five issues being the cost of energy, inflation regarding business costs, retention of VAT 9% for restaurants and food service, staff shortages and finally the issue on warehoused tax.

December 2022

Decembers are back to what the used to be and should be. It was great to see so many people back out in our restaurants and bars all over the country. Meeting friends and family over a table or across the bar is what we all love to do. Its part of our culture and to see it all back in full swing reminded me so often why I love doing what I do. At the end of the day we are all entertainers, we put on a show, our customers come out to be entertained, and this Christmas was no different. Consumer confidence was sky high, the average spend was higher than previous years but with that came a higher expectation on service. That’s why I sure most of you are as tired as you are. Working to compensate for having less staff or in some cases none at all.

There are so many positives to take from Christmas but without staff or even qualified staff a busy summer will mean hard times ahead. We desperately need to find ways to encourage people to come into our industry and treat it like a profession. The problem is, is that few see it as a career, we need to change that. Where are all our catering graduates going each year. We have colleges turning out thousands of graduates each year but are they just taking their business qualifications and leaving. They must be because they can’t be got. Over the last 10 years we have seen people qualifying are a Barista or a mixologist, these are the trendier qualifications to have. I believe we need to find other positions within our industry where similar qualifications or accreditations can be gained. Plenty to think about during the start of 2023.

Happy new year to you all.

Yours in hospitality,

Paul Lenehan – President

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