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


On Tuesday, 13th April I will be taking part at the Restaurants Association of Ireland’s (virtual) Hospitality&Tourism Expo.  


At 11:30AM I am presenting on “Rebuilding Foodservice – Considerations for the Future” and will then join an esteemed panel with Domini Kemp, Darina Allen, Ross Lewis and JP McMahon to discuss “How Irish food has flourished during Lockdown”.


Full agenda details are available online here, with the ability to pre-register at this link.


General Industry News

Unemployment rate stays above 24% as lockdown continues

Business Post – 01.04.2021

Covid-19 youth unemployment rate is at 59 per cent, CSO figures show, as government announces €17 million fund to help struggling hospitality businesses provide outdoor dining, Sarah Taaffe-Maguire reports. Almost a quarter of the workforce was unemployed in March as Covid-19 restrictions continue to take their toll on the economy, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show. The unemployment rate, including those on the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP), was 24.2 per cent, down slightly from 24.8 per cent in February. Young people were worst affected, with 59 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds unemployed in March.

IBEC cuts growth forecast and warns on risk from global tax reform

The Irish Times – 29.03.2021                                         

IBEC has cut its growth forecast for the Irish economy by two percentage points on account of “the length and severity of the current restrictions”. In its latest quarterly outlook, IBEC said it was now expecting the economy to grow by 3.1 per cent in gross domestic product (GDP) terms this year. This is down from a forecast of 5.3 per cent just a few months ago and comes on the back of an extended lockdown since Christmas to curb the spread of the coronavirus. IBEC also predicted unemployment would remain elevated for a prolonged period, possibly until 2023, echoing a warning from the Economic and Social Research Institute last week.


Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector

Domino's Ireland and UK system sales increased 11.4% in 2020

Hospitality Ireland – 10.03.2021

Domino's Pizza has released its results for Ireland and the UK for the 52 week period that ended on December 27, 2020, revealing that its system sales across the two regions increased by 11.4% during the period to almost £1.35 billion, while it’s like-for-like system sales, excluding splits, increased by 10.3%, and by 9.3% including splits. The company's underlying profit before tax increased by £2.4 million in 2020 across Ireland and the UK to £101.2 million, with COVID-19 costs of £9 million being incurred to support franchisees to trade safely.

Wetherspoon targets Munster in growth plan

Irish Examiner – 19.03.2021

British pub group JD Wetherspoon is planning new bar openings in Limerick, Waterford, Galway and Dublin as part of a ramped-up Irish expansion plan for when the hospitality sector reopens. With the company having previously said it would like to open more pubs in Cork – where it currently has one, in the form of The Linen Weaver on Paul Street in the city centre – Munster is likely to feature prominently in the expansion. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the company remains confident in its overall growth prospects in Ireland, despite the current lockdown restrictions and lack of clarity over when and how the pub and hospitality sectors might reopen. Wetherspoon is ready to open two new premises in Dublin – one being its superpub/hotel project on Camden Street – once the Covid restrictions are lifted and Mr Martin said plans for Galway and Limerick are “not far behind”.


Hotel & Restaurant Sector

Tifco Hotel Group to be awarded mandatory quarantine contract

RTÉ Business 22.03.2021

The contract for the mandatory hotel quarantine system is set to be awarded to the Tifco Hotel Group, RTÉ News understands. The group has 24 hotel properties with more than 2,550 rooms in total. The hotels include the Crowne Plaza, and the Holiday Inn Express next to Dublin Airport, and Travelodge Hotels at both Dublin and Cork airports. The single contract will see the hotel group provide accommodation and food for those who have to quarantine. It also covers arrangements for transport to the hotels, plus security and testing there. The Minister for Public Expenditure said the hotel quarantine system for arrivals from designated countries was due to come into effect by the end of this week.

Half of restaurants face permanent closure due to pandemic, says RAI

RTÉ Business – 22.03.2021

Half of restaurants face permanent closure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the lobby group which represents the industry. The Restaurants Association of Ireland will call for the VAT reduction from 13.5% to 9%, which was introduced late last year, to remain in place until 2025. It will also demand that the waiver on commercial rates paid to local authorities remain in place for the rest of this year. CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland Adrian Cummins will tell members of the Joint Committee on Tourism that existing supports "do not go far enough". The organisation estimates that the restaurant sector contributes over €3 billion to the Irish economy annually.


Casual Dining & Contract Catering Sector

Bunsen to open restaurant at Dublin's Blanchardstown Centre

Hospitality Ireland 08.03.2021

Burger restaurant chain Bunsen will open a new restaurant at the Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin 15 later this year. As reported by The Irish Times, Bunsen's Blanchardstown Centre restaurant, which will be the chain's first venue at a shopping centre, will be located next to the Krispy Kreme outlet at the shopping centre, and will extend to 190 square metres, or 2,045 square feet. Bunsen will join two other food and drink venues that have just opened at the shopping centre. Offbeat Donuts has opened a new outlet in the Blanchardstown Centre's green mall, and The Art of Coffee has opened a new 65 square metre, or 700 square foot, outlet in the shopping centre's red mall.

Intel to create 1,600 jobs in Ireland

Business Post 25.03.2021

Intel announced plans to create 1,600 high-tech roles in Ireland and double its manufacturing space in Leixlip following the construction of an additional chip making facility in Kildare. Eamonn Sinnott, Intel Ireland general manager, said that the firm was accelerating its investment in Europe in order to support the EU’s ambition of having 20 per cent of the world’s silicon chips manufactured in the bloc. Intel said it had invested $7 billion in its Irish business between 2019 and 2021 to expand its Irish operation.