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Ireland Foodservice Newsletter

Ireland Foodservice Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.

CATEX 2017 returns to the RDS, Dublin from Tuesday 21st – Thursday 23rd February 2017.   With upwards of 12,000 visitors expected to attend, it’s one of the most eagerly anticipated foodservice events of the year.  With a new look layout and a host of new exhibitors, Catex promises to serve up a show packed full of solutions for your business. From inspiring competitions to expert masterclasses, Catex is the number one event for industry professionals in foodservice, hospitality and within the food and drink sectors in Ireland.  For the full schedule of events, and information on how to register, visit


Tourism Ireland Launches Marketing Plans For 2017 – 01.02.2017
Tourism Ireland has launched its marketing plans for 2017 at an event in New York, attended by leading tour operators, travel agents and journalists from the tri-State area.  The organisation is aiming to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2016 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by 9 per cent in 2017, which is €1.6 billion generated by 1.7 million visitors.  North America will be prioritised for 2017, a market which offers a strong return on investment in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. The ‘culturally curious’ and ‘social energiser’ audiences will also be targeted with distinctive vacation experiences, events and special offers tailored to their interests.

Irish Central Bank Trims Growth Forecast – 26.01.2017
Ireland's central bank trimmed its forecast for economic growth for 2017, citing a weaker outlook for export growth amid risks that it said were firmly weighted to the downside.  Ireland has had the fastest growing economy in the European Union for the past three years and the bank sees gross domestic product growing by 3.3% this year, down from a forecast of 3.6% three months ago, and then by 3% in 2018.  Pointing to a softening in consumer sentiment and tax data, it said there were some signs of an easing in consumer spending in the second half of 2016, though the extent was relatively modest with labour market conditions continuing to improve.  The outlook for exports is subject to considerable uncertainty, the bank said, including from the potential effects stemming from near neighbour and key trading partner Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

Unemployment rate falls to 7.1% in January – CSO – 31.01.2017
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January fell to 7.1% from a rate of 7.2% in December.  The unemployment rate had stood at 8.5% in January of last year. The country's employment levels have grown consistently amid a broadening of the recovery since the jobless rate hit a high of 15.1% five years ago. The jobless rate here compares with a current euro zone average of 9.6%.


Eddie Rocket’s opens second Belfast venue at former Ed’s Easy Diner site – 09.02.2017
US-style diner and burger bar Eddie Rocket’s has opened its second venue in Belfast at a site formerly occupied by Ed’s Easy Diner, which closed days before Christmas.  Franchise holder Justin Ward already runs Eddie Rocket’s other Belfast restaurant – in Lisburn Road – and its other Northern Ireland site, in Newry.  A third Belfast site, this time in the city centre, is due to open soon.  Other openings in the pipeline include Lisburn Leisure Park in Northern Ireland along with three venues in the Republic – Portlaoise, Co. Laois; Point Village, Dublin; and Celbridge, Co.Kildare.  They are mostly franchisee-owned in line with the company’s business strategy for 2017.  Rocket Restaurants Group currently has 47 restaurants across Ireland and the UK, of which 25 are owned by long-standing multi-unit franchisees.


Dublin’s CHQ Building to House New Microbrewery  – 06.01.2017
The former CEO of Coca-Cola Ireland, Neville Isdell, has revealed plans to open a new microbrewery in Dublin’s CHQ building.  The property’s owners, CHQ Dublin, have secured planning permission for the construction of the new brewery in the heart of the IFSC area.  As part of the planning application, a new mezzanine level will be added to the building, which has become a popular lunchtime destination for local office workers.  The brewery will be operated by Urban Brewing, a company owned by Carlow-based freight agent Victor Treacy and Dublin-based Jim O’Hara. Both are involved in the Carlow Brewing Company, and intend to open a bar & restaurant at the CHQ.  As part of the planning application to Dublin City Council, CHQ Dublin said that introduction of Urban Brewer to the venue would “provide another high-quality use at the CHQ building, with clear linkages to the visitor/tourism use of Epic Ireland”.


B&Bs record 15% rise – 31.01.2017
B&B Ireland bookings rose 15% last year, with the number of overseas visitors choosing an Irish B&B home stay also up 15% - exceeding the national figure of 10% growth in overseas visitors.  That’s according to B&B Ireland, the leading body representing the sector, who say they are optimistic about greater growth in 2017, particularly if they can supply the demand for B&B accommodation in key areas.  Chief Executive Helena Healy says they are “excited, yet cautiously optimistic, about B&B tourism in 2017”.  Commenting on the results, Ms Healy attributed the phenomenal success of 2016 to a combination of factors.  “The introduction of new airline routes – such as Dublin to LA and Vancouver, Cork to Madrid and Dusseldorf and Knock to Birmingham – has been a big factor in the visitor growth. These include our main markets because of the continuing popularity of the B&B product among overseas visitors – who represent over 90% of our bookings.”

175-Bedroom Smithfield Hotel Gets Green Light – 07.02.2017
A planned 175-bedroom, five to seven-storey hotel in Dublin's Smithfieldhas been granted planning permission from Dublin City Council.  Dublin Loft Company will develop the hotel at 6-11 Hendrick Street, replacing an existing 3,000 square foot single-storey property and will extend to 60,000 square feet. The hotel's ground floor is to have a bar, dining areas, bedrooms and ensuites, offices, with the remaining bedrooms and ensuites spread across the above stories. There will also be an outside landscaped courtyard area.  "The style of hotel will be in between a standard hotel and a contemporary boutique hotel aimed at younger visitors," said the hotel's design statement, carried out by Hussey Architects.

Dunne & Crescenzi for Blackrock – 09.01.2017
Popular Dublin restaurant chain Dunne & Crescenzi has reached an agreement with Savills to operate a new 350 sq m (3,750 sq ft) restaurant at Blackrock Centre in south Dublin.  The deal represents the first new restaurant for Dunne & Crescenzi in recent years and will bring the number of outlets it operates in Dublin and Kildare to six. Since opening for business on South Frederick Street in 1999, the restaurant has extended its reach north of the River Liffey to Ormond Quay, to Sandymount and Dundrum Town Centre on the south side of the capital, and to Kildare Village.


Zizzi’s second Dublin outlet to open on Suffolk Street – 31.01.2017
The pent-up demand for restaurant trading opportunities in Dublin’s south inner city area, partly because of the difficulties of getting new planning approvals, has led to intense competition for suitable premises when they come on the market.  The casual-dining Italian restaurant Zizzi is one of the lucky ones after being chosen to succeed Pizza Hut following its decision to wind up its business at 24 Suffolk Street. It will be Zizzi’s second outlet in Dublin, having traded in Dundrum Town Centre since April 2016.


Food Businesses to Compete in Dragon’s Den Style Showcase  – 03.02.2017
Aramark, Ireland’s largest integrated services provider, is scouting for innovative, new, value-added food, non-food and service products to supply to its network of sites in Ireland and the UK.  Food businesses will be given the opportunity to compete in a “Dragon’s Den”-style live showcase at Catex 2017 in the RDS from the 21st-23rd February.  Following the first round review of entries a shortlist of applicants will be invited to pitch at The Producer Showcase at Catex where they will have the platform to impress an Aramark Ireland panel of directors, buyers, operations and culinary teams.  At the end of Catex, the panel will provide final feedback and successful suppliers will begin the exciting process of launching their products into the Aramark foodservice business.  Further information available online here.