Welcome to your August newsletter, 

In last month’s update I spoke about the fact that the summer had arrived. I’m actually not sure it ever did. I think we all experienced one good week with a couple of very hot days but it’s certainly not like the previous few summers. It’s warm and dry but there’s not a lot of sunshine around and the BBQs have definitely been lit a lot less this year. How and ever it’s still summer and even though things are not back to 2019 figures, things are slowly but surely getting back to normal. The midlands and the more off the track locations have been slower to recover. Our cities and west coast tourism hubs seem to be bouncing back but most reports suggest that business elsewhere is flat. This is compounded by costs inflation, energy and wages at the core of all our problems. My message to you all this month is that Budget 2023 needs to protect the recovery for hospitality. Whilst the Dail is currently on summer recess, TDs including Ministers will continue to hold their local clinics. I encourage all members to engage with their local politicians and discuss the asks of the Pre-Budget submission.

I hope you all had a busy bank holiday weekend, it’s hard to believe we are in the middle of the school holidays already. Those of us with smaller kids have to start thinking about back to school book lists and new uniforms. It’s a real sign that the summer is coming to an end. However, unusual as it has been we’re another month on and even though the war still rages on in Ukraine it was good to see that some of the grain supply routes are reopening which in time should see a welcome reduction in some of our food costs. However here at home its hard to look past the upcoming Budget and what it’s going to mean for our sector. Hit harder than any other sector I can’t stress how important and crucial this one is for us, the Restaurants Association of Ireland have been working very hard on our Pre Budget Submission. A lot of work has gone into it, I hope all our members get a chance to read it and support it. The key asks that we are looking for are the same ones we are all discussing week in and out. VAT, RECRUITMENT & THE COST OF DOING BUISNESS, all of which are having a huge impact on the viability of our businesses. Energy costs are out of control. 

By now most of you will hopefully have received your nominations for the upcoming Irish Restaurant Awards. Speaking with some of the team last week I was delighted to hear that the amount of public nominations for next month’s events have equalled the same amount as our last awards in 2020. This is hugely positive and very encouraging. Over the next 6 weeks I’ll be attending the Regionals in each of the provinces, it will also give me a great opportunity to meet some new faces and old ones from the past. We have had so much misery associated with our industry over the last 2 years and occasions such as the awards should be shared and valued. It’s a great opportunity for a staff night out and get together and one I’m looking forward to myself with my own staff.  

Looking forward to seeing you on my travels, yours in hospitality 

Paul Lenehan – President