Welcome to the March edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.
Bord Bia’s 2017 Supplier Development Programmes kicked off this month. Two separate initiatives that we are running in partnership with Musgrave Wholesale Partners and KSG respectively. Both programmes seek to help small Irish food and drink companies develop their business in the foodservice market.
The 10 companies chosen to participate on the MWP programme are: Clara Fields; Fresh Soup Company; MSC Ventures Ltd; Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co.; Natasha’s Living Food; Nutmost; Popsy Daisy; Rebel Chilli; Rosie&Jim; Sea of Vitality & Wicklow Rapeseed Oil.
The 7 companies chosen to participate on the KSG programme are: Urban Artisan; Forage&Cure; Galway Food Company; Green Saffron; Joe’s Farm Crisps; MMM Bakery & Synerchi Kombucha
GENERAL INDUSTRY NEWS
Economy grew by better than expected 5.2% in 2016 www.rte.ie – 09.03.2017 The country's GDP (gross domestic product) grew by a stronger than expected 5.2% last year, according to the Central Statistics Office. Preliminary results for 2016 show economic growth of 5.2% - as measured by GDP - and 9% - as measured by GNP, which strips out cross border flows of multinationals. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the figures confirm "that under the steady hand of this Government Ireland remains among the fastest growing economies in the European Union last year. Domestic demand is now the main driver of growth with private consumption up 3% in 2016 supported by favourable labour market dynamics, continued increases in disposable income and solid consumer confidence," the Minister added. The statistics compare with an EU average of just under 2% GDP growth.
Unemployment rate falls to 6.6% in February www.rte.ie – 28.02.2017 New Central Statistics Office figures show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February fell to 6.6% from a rate of 6.7% in January. This marked the lowest rate of unemployment since July 2008. The CSO said the number of people who were unemployed in February stood at 145,100, down from 148,000 in January. The country's unemployment levels had risen as high as 15.1% in 2012 when it was in the middle of a three-year international bailout. The jobless rate also compares with a current euro zone average of 9.6%.
'Sunshine Tax' Mooted For Ireland's Hospitality Sector www.hospitalityireland.com – 14.03.2017 A new 'sunshine tax' could hit Ireland's hospitality industry, forcing pubs, cafes and restaurants to pay a tenfold increase in the current charge for outdoor seating and street signage. If implemented, businesses would have to pay an annual fee of €125 for each table and four chairs, €635 for street signage and an additional €100 for licensing, reports the Irish Independent. However, Cork City Council are exploring the possibility of implementing the tax on a seasonal basis, charging businesses when outdoor seating is actually in use, such as between the months of May and September. Other local authorities in Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford and Limerick are considering this approach too.
QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANT (QSR) SECTOR
Dublin-based Four Star Pizza reveals plans to open 34 sites across Republic and Northern Ireland in next three years www.propelinfo.com – 16.03.2017 Dublin-based Four Star Pizza has revealed plans to open 34 sites across the Republic and Northern Ireland during the next three years. The company said it would open 18 stores across the North as part of a proposed £3m investment, which would bring the total in the country to 30. Founded in 1988, the company operates 46 stores across the whole of Ireland and plans to open an additional 16 stores in the Republic. The total expansion would bring the total number of outlets in Ireland to 80. Director Brian Clarke said the company would welcome interest for potential franchisees in the North. “We have an excellent relationship with our existing Northern Ireland franchisees. One franchisee now operates six outlets here, while another has just opened his third store.”
Dublin pub Jack Nealon’s set to close after a century www.irishtimes.com – 09.03.2017 Staff of Jack Nealon’s, the well-known Dublin pub in business for more than a century, have reacted with shock at the upcoming closure of the bar at the direction of its North American vulture fund owner. Vincent Waters, who owns the lease on the Capel Street pub, told staff that the bar is to close on April 17th. He was informed by the investment firm, which purchased the debt on the property, that they wish to take back control of the building and do not wish to continue operating it as a public house. Nine full- and part-time staff face redundancy with the closure of the bar.
HOTEL & RESTAURANT SECTOR
Dublin Hotels Had Highest Occupancy In Europe In 2016; Expected To Stay On Top In 2017 www.hospitalityireland.com – 07.03.2017 Dublin hotels had the highest occupancy in Europe in 2016, higher than London, Amsterdam and Berlin, and are predicted to stay on top in that metric in 2017 and 2018, according to PwC European Cities Hotel Forecast. It revealed that Dublin had the second highest Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) growth in Europe in 2016 of 16 per cent, and is expected to have the second highest RevPAR growth in 2017. Speaking about the Dublin market Jennifer Gillen, senior manager of PwC Ireland Hotel and Leisure Practice, said: “A myriad of factors including the continued growth in our economy, improved air access, and increased number of visitors to the city, helped increase the demand for hotels in Dublin”.
A five-star resort owned by JP McManus is creating 300 new jobs in Limerick www.thejournal.ie – 06.03.2017 A five star resort owned by Limerick multi-millionaire JP McManus has announced plans to go on a major recruitment drive. Adare Manor hotel and golf resort will hire 300 new employees over the coming months. There are currently 50 people on the payroll. Over the past 12 months, Adare Manor has been undergoing a major refurbishment, which is slated for completion by the end of this year. As well as giving the hotel’s exterior a makeover, the renovation will see 40 new rooms come on stream. This will bring the total number of bedrooms to 104. There will also be a new ballroom that can accommodate up to 350 guests. Other additions include a new spa, swimming pool, boardroom and cinema.
Jameson Visitor Centre Re-Opens in Smithfield www.fft.ie – 06.03.2017 The Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield, Dublin, has officially been reopened following investment of €11m into the former distillery turned visitor centre. The new look Jameson Distillery Bow St. brand home, was officially opened by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central T.D. Paschal Donohoe. Irish Distillers is hoping the project will support the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy target of trebling the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9m by 2025.
CASUAL DINING SECTOR
Caffe Nero reports rising sales in Ireland www.propelinfo.com – 17.03.2017 Sales at the Irish arm of Caffe Nero more than tripled to €2.1m last year as it expanded its presence in the country. Last year, Caffe Nero Ireland opened a further three stores in Dublin as well as its first outside the capital, bringing its total number to eight. Caffe Nero has previously announced plans to invest €20m in Ireland to open 40 stores and create up to 350 jobs. Caffe Nero’s first Irish outlet opened in Merrion Row in Dublin in March 2014 and its stores include seven in Dublin and one recently opened in Drogheda. In the accounts, the company’s management added it believes there are strong growth prospects for the branded coffee market in Ireland. Caffe Nero is the largest independent coffee retailer in Europe and last year operated 613 stores in 247 UK and Irish towns generating revenues of £257m and pre-tax profits of £25.5m.
The Happy Pear to Open Flagship Development in Clondalkin Round Tower Visitor Centre www.hospitalityireland.com – 27.02.2017 Greystone's The Happy Pear, run by twins David and Stephen Flynn, will be opening a new flagship development in Clondalkin Round Tower Visitor Centre this summer, marking its first Dublin location. The new opening will comprise a cafe and food shop with seating for around 60 customers as well as featuring a terraced dining area, public garden, exhibition and gallery spaces. The company, which has a turnover of €4 million and employs more than 100 staff, recently received €1.5 million funding for expansion through a Davy and BDO-managed Employment Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS).
CONTRACT CATERING SECTOR
Titanic Belfast hiring 60 new staff for fixed-term contracts www.belfastlive.co.uk – 06.01.2017 Titanic Belfast are recruiting for 60 new frontline staff as it gears up for its summer high season. The exhibition centre, recently named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction is recruiting for staff across the front line at Titanic Belfast and on-board SS Nomadic, including Visitor Experience, Ticketing, Hospitality Outlets, Retail and Events.