President’s Report – November 2022

Hi everyone, it’s not easy out there. It feels like for every step forward its two steps back. We’re all hearing about local restaurants and cafes closing down. Unfortunately this is going to continue. The COVID hangover is still around and the left-over cash resources from the much welcomed government supports is drying up for a lot of businesses. I use the expression “A busy fool” a lot and unfortunately that’s the way it is. Everything is getting more and more expensive, day by day were getting letters in the post from suppliers about increases.

Our only saving grace is that customer numbers are getting back to where they once were. The new report from Bord Bia “reveals that the numbers of people eating out has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, with lunch and early bird dinners replacing late night eating”. I know some of you might not agree but I think in general things are definitely on the up. The question for all of us is for how long will it last. The cost of doing business is negating all the good but the introduction of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme will go someway to help with our energy bills over the next few months but we will need more to really make things better. As I said in my opening, it feels like with ever step forward its two steps back. Business is positive but the cost of business just doesn’t stack up.

October 2022

Another bank holiday has come and gone. The days fell well for us this year with Halloween falling on the bank holiday Monday, Pubs and restaurants throughout the country enjoyed a busy weekend getting the most of the night life. Monday worked out well for all of us with children, unfortunately the horrendous weather meant we were trick or treating in the rain. Christmas will soon be upon us, with some restaurants already with Christmas trees and lights up. We’re becoming more and more like the retailers. I guess why not, this year in particular, we all need to get what we can from the festive season.

Over the last few years there has been plenty of focus put on the Tipping issue. The RAI welcomes the new law to protect employees’ tips to be introduced on December 1st. The Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022 will see employees given legal rights over the payment of tips. It is to provide more clarity for customers and new requirements on employers to clearly display their policy on tips and service charges. The new law will mean that any charge called a “service charge” will have to be distributed to staff as if it were a tip or gratuity received by electronic means. Finally we have clarity and those business who were not distributing tips in a fair manner will no longer be able too. Even though most restaurants were doing it correctly the few that were not, tainted the reputation of practices within our sector.

As we head into what traditionally is a quiet month I take a good bit of comfort looking at the Christmas bookings coming in around the country. With this being the first Christmas in three years where people can finally have a Christmas night, one where there is no restrictions at all.

Lastly, I urge you all to continue engaging with your local politicians, VAT and cost of doing business being the two main topics of conversation. Keep the conversation going. Business will look good over the next few months but behind the scenes it’s a different story.

Yours in hospitality,

Paul Lenehan – President

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