Welcome to the August edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.
A month of mixed fortunes for foodservice activity, with business in popular tourist spots holding strong as a result of Staycations, while the two week lockdown re-introduced to the Midlands saw restaurants, hotels and coffee shops having to shutter their doors once more. And yet, despite the ongoing challenges, a number of new openings reported this month from Supermac’s, Freshly Chopped and Press Up Group, with Camile Thai in the envious position of reporting sales growth for the first half of 2020.
GENERAL INDUSTRY NEWS
Construction industry prospers
Business Post – 11.08.2020
Construction activity has increased for the second month in a row, according to the Ulster Bank construction purchasing managers' index. A seasonally-adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity rose to 53.2 in July, up from 51.9 in June. Readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month and readings below 50 signal a decrease.
Unemployment rate drops
Business Post – 06.08.2020
The country‘s unemployment rate fell to 16.7 per cent in July, from 23.1 per cent in June, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office. The figures indicate that as many as 386,935 people were unemployed last month. The total includes those claiming the government’s temporary pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) but it is hoped that many of these people will return to work once the economic restrictions to curb the virus are fully lifted.
QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANT (QSR) & PUB SECTOR
120 jobs announced at Portlaoise Plaza
RTE Business– 27.07.2020
The Plaza Group will open its seventh motorway service station, creating 120 jobs in Co Laois. The Portlaoise Plaza, which is part of the Supermac's Group, is located off junction 17 on the M7 motorway. It was originally due to open in May, but was delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new service station in Portlaoise brings the amount of people employed by Supermac's throughout the country to over 4,000.The Supermac's franchise has 116 outlets across the country. It also operates the Papa John's pizza brand and SuperSubs.
Dublin pub sector struggles since COVID-19 closures
Business Post– 29.07.2020
At least 2,450 jobs have been lost in the Dublin pub sector since March. New figures from the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) show that one in every five people employed in the pub industry are now out of work. The LVA warned that there are likely further substantial losses ahead, with one in three Dublin pubs still shuttered and those that have reopened operating at significantly reduced capacity. Ten pubs in the capital have ceased trading since March, including The Queens in Dalkey, The Donaghmede Inn and The Cardiff Inn in Finglas.
HOTEL & RESTAURANT SECTOR
Hotel occupancy fell to 42% in July, according to IHF
www.rte.ie – 31.07.2020
The latest industry survey conducted by the Irish Hotels Federation reveals that average room occupancy stood at 42% for July, compared with occupancy levels of over 90% for the same month last year. The IHF said this is the largest year-on-year drop ever recorded by the Irish hotels sector for the peak summer season. The data shows that bookings for August have also plummeted to levels broadly in line with those in July, while bookings for September show a further dramatic drop in occupancy levels to 24% nationally. Occupancy rates were lowest in Dublin City and county this month at 17%.
Camile Thai's Like-For Like Sales in Ireland Increase 6%
www.hospitalityireland.com - 17.08.2020
Camile Thai's like-for-like sales in Ireland increased 6% during the first half of 2020, while its sales in London rose 35%. Camile Thai expects its turnover to amount to €30 million this year. Having a lot of outlets in suburban locations and prioritising home delivery over dining-in have been beneficial to the company during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Camile Thai founder Brody Sweeney, "We're managing the business quite well [during the COVID-19 crisis], but the fact that we picked a model that was home delivery and suburban-based, that's just luck."
CASUSAL DINING & CONTRACT CATERING SECTORS
Ireland-based Press Up Hospitality Group secures debut UK sites for pair of F&B concepts
Propel - 17.08.2020
Irish operator Press Up Hospitality Group is to bring two of its food and beverage concepts to the UK. The company has agreed deals to open burger concept Wowburger and New York-style restaurant Elephant&Castle at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster. Wowburger and Elephant & Castle have taken 2,800 square foot and 4,000 square foot respectively on the first floor of Frenchgate’s North Mall Gallery, with the sites set to open in the fourth quarter of this year.
Freshly Chopped open new outlets
Business Post- 30.07.2020
Freshly Chopped announced the opening of two new stores in Ireland and the UK. The healthy fast food chain will launch an outlet in the Junction 14 motorway service station in Monasterevin in Kildare and another at a forecourt in Leicester. A total of 20 new jobs will be created between the two sites. The Leicester store is the first franchise outlet for Freshly Chopped in the UK and follows the successful opening of a company-owned Freshly Chopped in Manchester in 2019. The company said its new offering in Monasterevin is the third franchise outlet taken by The Lidon Group.