Welcome to your September newsletter, 

August

My message to you all last month was that Budget 2023 needs to protect the recovery for hospitality. Whilst the Dail is currently on summer recess, TDs including all ministers will continue to hold their local clinics. I again encourage all members to engage with their local politicians and discuss the asks of the Pre-Budget submission. Don’t under estimate the value of that phone call or meeting. The louder we are and the more they hear our voices the better chance we have of being listened to.

Over the last month we saw the return of the eagerly awaited Irish Restaurant Awards, with the regional events in Leinster, Ulster and Munster pulling records crowds back to the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan and the Radisson Hotel Blu in Little Island, Cork. The three events supported by our loyal sponsors were all huge successes and demonstrates the passion and drive that’s alive in the Hospitality sector. The Connaught Regionals will be held at the Landmark Hotel on the 6th of September and the All Ireland Final also known as the Food Oscars to be held Convention Centre Dublin on the 19th of September. This Gala evening is one not to miss. The Irish Restaurant Awards now in its 13th year has always showcased the best of what our industry has to offer. Awarding those who have dedicated their lives to hospitality and inspiring the next generation of owners, chefs and industry workers.

September

August has come and gone and things definitely felt better. Restaurants were busier, pubs were full and there wasn’t a hotel room to be had. August seemed normal. For the first time in 2 ½ years trade was noticeably up. However most of us expected the lift in June and then again in July but it never came. The loss of that early summer trade will effect a lot of us in the later end of the year. This won’t be a surprise to any of you but the lack of tourists in the early part of the summer and the record numbers of Irish people holidaying abroad this year has had an effect on us all.  However, the trend set in August is a positive one and is a giant step forward, it’s a very positive and welcome sign for our industry.  

While the good weather is still hanging around and the children are gone back to school my thoughts and I’m sure are yours, are those of trepidation. The issues that were born earlier in the year have not gone away. The busier months of July and August might have masked our early fears. Not to harp on, but the costs of doing business over the next 6 months is going to force a lot of our fellow colleagues out of business. Not to mention the staff crisis. All our parttime summer staff are going back to school and college this month. Shorter opening hours might be the only answer. I’m sure you will all agree that even though spiralling staff costs are one thing but coupled with the cost of energy I fear we are heading into dark waters. You might ask what are we doing about it. I’m asked it all of the time. As recently as last week myself and CEO Adrian Cummins had a meeting along with our counterparts in the IHF, VFI, LVA & ITIC with Minister Pascal Donohoe and Minister Michael McGrath on the topic of rising costs and particularly the VAT retention. Each representative body made their cases heard but we need all of you and so I impress on you again, make that call to your local politician. You can make the difference. But rest assured, Adrian and the team in the office are doing everything they can to lobby the government and working with the other state agencies, trying to get the best results for our industry. The next month will decide a lot of our futures.

To finish on a high I want to remind you to book your seats or your table at The Irish Restaurant Awards All Ireland Final, the night will be an amazing spectacle and one to be cherished. I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Until then, yours in hospitality

Paul Lenehan – President