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

 

It feels fantastic (if not a little surreal) that following almost two years of lockdowns and restrictions, the Irish Government confirmed that as of 22nd January, there will be no further requirements for proof of Covid vaccination, face masks, social distancing or limits on group numbers in hospitality venues. Normal trading hours are to resume and in the case of indoor and outdoor events, crowd limits have also been removed. Unsurprisingly, the industry has responded positively and the focus now shifts to rebuilding business in 2022.

 

Trend of the Month

Focus on Frictionless

In last month’s newsletter we reported plans by Compass Group Ireland to launch its first fully ‘frictionless’ checkout-free store in a workplace in early 2022. The new store will utilise computer vision technology that allows shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay. But it’s not just Contract Caterers that are responding to this growing consumer drive for increased convenience, at our Meat Seminar earlier this year, IGD called out AmazonFresh as an example of what they termed “The Disruptor”, offering “just walk out shopping”, first introduced to the UK in 2021. And others are following suit in their drive to win market share, last month Aldi UK launched their “Shop&Go” check-out free concept in Greenwich. A further example of the ever-blurring boundaries between Retail and Foodservice and recognition that when it comes to cultivating customer loyalty - convenience trumps.

 

General Industry News

 

Irish Economy set to generate 167,000 jobs over the next two years

The Irish Times – 26.01.2022

Up to 167,000 jobs could be created in the Irish economy over the next two years as it shrugs off the effects of the pandemic and consumer spending returns to more normal levels, the Central Bank has said. In its latest quarterly bulletin, the regulator, however, warned that higher levels of inflation linked to surging energy prices would persist in the short term, resulting in what it described as “generalised cost of living increases”. The economy is expected to grow by 8.7 per cent this year and by 5 per cent next year on back of strong domestic demand supported by income growth, the use of savings built up during the pandemic and strong exports.

 

Long Haul air travel to rebound strongly this year, says Avolon

The Irish Times – 18.01.2022

Long-haul air travel could recover strongly this year, hitting 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels, Irish aircraft lessor Avolon predicts. Domestic or short-haul travel recovered to within 12 per cent of 2019’s totals last year as vaccination programmes took hold, aided by initiatives including the EU’s Covid certificates. Avolon says in its 2022 outlook that international, or long-haul travel, which lagged pre-pandemic levels by 60 per cent last year, could begin its recovery in earnest in coming months.

 

Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector

 

McDonald’s to launch Chicken Big Mac

Irish Examiner – 25.01.2022

McDonald’s is to launch a chicken version of its Big Mac in Ireland and UK. The limited-edition new burger will go on sale on February 2, but only in participating restaurants until March 15. The fast-food giant said the addition of the Chicken Big Mac to its menu followed a high number of requests from customers. It described the burger as “the classic Big Mac we all know and love” complete with triple-layered bun, two 100% chicken breast patties in a crispy coating, a slice of cheese, lettuce, pickles and the Big Mac sauce.

 

Rugby stars to buy Three Turn Tavern from JD Weatherspoon

Business Post – 25.01.2022

The Wetherspoons pub in Blackrock, The Three Tun Tavern has been bought by a group of current and former Leinster Rugby players. The players, including Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Dave and Rob Kearney, who also own Lemon and Duke, are believed to have paid in the region of €2.5 million for the Wetherspoons pub, reports The Business Post. The pub is located on the corner of Temple Road and Carysfort Avenue and has an overall floor area of 9505 sq ft. While the British pub chain is losing one of its locations, Wetherspoons has opened another pub located in Grand Canal Dock.

 

Hotel & Restaurant Sector

 

Dalata Hotel Group enter Europe for the first time with German deal

RTE Business 01.02.2022

Dalata Hotel Group has taken its first step into the Continental European market with a deal to buy a new operating leasehold interest in Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf in Germany. The hotel is owned by Art-Invest and Dalata has started the transition process. It expects to open the hotel for guests on February 15. The deal is in line with the group's ambition to establish a presence in large commercially attractive European cities. Dermot Crowley, Dalata Hotel Group CEO, said the deal represents its first step into Continental Europe as the company works towards building its presence in selected European cities.

 

Press Up’s 36th Irish restaurant is a 154-seat Chinese

The Irish Times – 27.01.2022

Mama Yo, the latest restaurant offering from the Press Up hospitality group will open on February 14th on Camden Street in Dublin 8. It brings to 36 the number of restaurants, across 21 brands, that the group has opened, and it will be the first since they launched Sophie’s at The Dean in Cork city in December 2020. Although missing the deadline to get the doors open for Chinese New Year on February 1st and herald the year of the tiger, the reservations book for Mama Yo is live on the restaurant’s website and on Open Table, taking bookings from February 14th.

 

Contract Catering Sector

 

Mark Lee appointed CEO of Sysco Ireland

Checkout.ie – 14.01.2022

Mark Lee has been appointed CEO of Sysco Ireland and will oversee the firm's 1,300 staff across the island who service more than 10,000 customers. The Dublin-based company operates as a subsidiary of global food leader Sysco, who have more than 58,000 associates operating in 343 distribution facilities worldwide serving more than 650,000 customers. Previous CEO of Sysco Ireland Peter Jackson has been named as new CEO of Sysco in Great Britain.

 

Flipdish becomes newest Irish tech unicorn with $1.25bn valuation

The Irish Times – 13.01.2022

Digital food-ordering platform Flipdish has become the State’s fifth official home-grown “tech unicorn” following a $100 million (€87m) investment led by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. As part of the latest investment, Flipdish said it intends to hire 700 people this year, with many of the new jobs expected to be created locally. The company will be mainly hiring for tech-related roles, including software architects, data scientists, engineers and product designers. Founded in 2015, Flipdish positions itself as an alternative to online fast-food delivery aggregators such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats by helping restaurant owners bring their online ordering capability in-house.