Welcome to your July newsletter, 

Wait, am I imagining things, has summer finally arrived? The forecast for the next couple of weeks looks great. A very welcome sight I’m sure you will all agree. Compared to the last few years this summer has been a disaster, those of us who invested in outdoor areas during covid have been sadly looking into empty spaces since April. Great to see people out and about the last few days, finally the season is starting, visitors are coming back, though slower than previous years its still a positive sign. The ongoing scandalous behaviour at the airport can’t be helping anyone. News travels and therefore I’m sure it’s having a huge effect on the confidence of our international travellers. Let’s not talk about the recent media coverage of the price gouging of some hotels. Its hard to avoid and though I appreciate its media driven, hotels in some cases are guilty. It’s the overall message that it sends to our sector and the harm it does to our reputation, this we have to be mindful of. A spilt in the VAT rate or confirmation our 9% rate will remain will be a hot topic over the next couple of months.

We have 12 weeks to Budget Day 2023 and as an Association we have some key asks, the extension of the 9% VAT rate is top of our list, the streamlining of the work permit processing & critical skills permits for chefs will be another. Some welcomed progress has been made with the permits and I’m glad to see that some of us are having more luck lately. Our CEO Adrian Cummins and the team in the office are also working hard on a submission regarding the cost of doing business supports and we will also be looking to get a National food education policy for both primary and secondary schools. Something I touched on in our last update. All of which are needed, I urge you all to talk to your local government officials, ask the questions and let them know the importance of our plight.

Tips Tips Tips, never off the agenda,

In a recent statement “The RAI welcomes the outlawing of tips and gratuities to make up any contracted wages and also the transparency regarding the treatment of tips, gratuities, service charges that the Payment of Wages (Tips and Gratuities) Bill requires. This provided much needed transparency for the consumers and employees of all sectors in which tips, gratuities and service charges, and indeed other additional charges are applied”

As an Association, we must now question the proposed amendments to the legislation which seeks to prescribe to certain sectors of the economy how they may contract for goods and services and what terms can be used.

Our CEO Adrian Cummins is seeking a meeting with the Tánaiste to discuss the proposals in terms of how it will be operationalised with Restaurants & Hospitality Businesses.

Covid is beginning to rear its head again. Was it inevitable, is it just a cold, either way it’s going to be a huge factor over the next few months. Staffing is hard enough without us having to deal with the phone ringing with the news of the next case. I’m sure you have all been hit lately, I for one have had several staff out. Unfortunately it’s the new norm and just another problem for us to deal with. I wont bother talking about rising costs, we are all in the same boat. This issue will be around for a long time to come, prices will fluctuate but I fear they will never return to what they were. Our industry continues to be hit on all sides. As restaurateurs, café owners and publicans our “cead mile failte” has never been more important.

On the upside and as I mentioned in my introduction, summer is finally here, get out and enjoy the sun, serve your customers and be happy they are here.

Yours in hospitality

Paul Lenehan – President