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Welcome to the May, Week 1 edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.


Final reminder that on Wednesday, 6th May at 11AM I will be hosting a 40 minute webinar providing an overview of the effect that Covid-19 has had on the Irish foodservice market since Government restrictions and social distancing measures were put in place.


It will examine innovations from foodservice operators and distributors on the domestic market, and likely further developments in the short to medium term. It will also share examples of Irish food and drink producers that have had to adapt their businesses in the face of lost revenue from hospitality customers.


This webinar is open to Irish food and drink producers and registrations is available via our website here.


General Industry News

Revealed: Phased plan to exit coronavirus lockdown in Ireland may see cafes reopen by midsummer

The Irish Times – 29.04.2020

Cafes and restaurants could reopen by the middle of the summer, with people allowed travel within Ireland for holidays by late summer, under plans being discussed to gradually lift the coronavirus lockdown. The Irish Times understands the early stages of plans being discussed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would see retailers, cafes and restaurants reopen on a limited basis, with the tourist industry also reopening on a limited basis in the mid-stages. The phases are broken down as: initial phase, early phase stage one, early phase stage two, middle phases and late phases. The latter two phases could be broken down into more stages. Initial drafts of the plan spaced the phases out in periods between early May and September, although no dates are on the latest draft being considered by NPHET.

Drinks Ireland says overall Irish alcohol sales have fallen due to COVID-19 crisis

Hospitality Ireland – 27.04.2020

According to data firm Nielsen, alcohol sales at Irish off-licences and supermarkets increased by 44% to €49.3 million over the Easter period. However, Drinks Ireland, the Ibec group that represents drinks manufacturers, brand owners and distributors on the island of Ireland, has said that overall alcohol sales have fallen by approximately 30% in Ireland since COVID-19-related business restrictions were introduced, according to industry estimates. Drinks Ireland director Patricia Callan stated, "The on-trade, that is all pubs, restaurants and hotels, usually account for 55% of total alcohol sales and they are completely closed.  Therefore, as expected, we have seen a rise in off-trade sales, but this increase in no way compensates for the loss in sales associated with the on-trade being closed, so overall we estimate that alcohol consumption in Ireland could be down by around 30%.


Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector

McDonald’s carries out ‘operation tests’ behind closed doors in UK, US franchisees report sales improving

www.propelinfonews.com – 28.04.2020

McDonald’s is carrying out “operational tests” behind closed doors but will only reopen some of its UK and Ireland restaurants “when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s well-being”.  Meanwhile, an analyst’s survey of US franchisees showed like-for-like sales are improving. In the latest survey by Kalinowski Equity Research, analyst Mark Kalinowski projected like-for-like sales at McDonald’s had decreased 20% to 25% in the second week of April, compared with a projected decline of 25% to 30% the previous week, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.

Not to be outfoxed: Historic pub scales new heights to carry on feeding the public

Independent - 27.04.2020

For only the second time in more than two centuries, patrons can no longer enjoy a meal and a drink at Ireland's "highest" pub, this time due to Covid-19. But that hasn't stopped the owners of Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen from bringing its fare down from the Dublin mountains. The popular pub and restaurant has been in operation since 1798 and the only time it was forced to close its doors was for three days during the 'Beast from the East' blizzard in 2018. But instead of just shuttering its doors, the establishment set up its 'at home' delivery service on April 9. And it is now delivering around 100 partially cooked chilled meals a day that customers finish off at home.


Hotel & Restaurant Sector

3,500 Dalata employees have been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis

Hospitality Ireland – 30.04.2020

Dalata CEO Pat McCann said during the hotel group's AGM on Wednesday April 29 that it has laid off 3,500 employees due to the COVID-19 crisis. McCann said that he was sorry that the group has been forced to lay off staff as a result of COVID-19-related closures, but that contact with those who have been laid off is continuing via various programmes. He also said that the pay of those who have not been laid off have has been cut significantly. In a statement from Dalata's chairman, John Hennessy, issued on the morning of April 29 before the AGM, it was revealed that the group's revenue per available room (RevPAR) decreased in the first quarter of 2020, but Hennessy said that the group is "in a strong position [financially] to trade through the [COVID-19] crisis."

Fears for 120,000 restaurant jobs due to Covid-19 crisis

RTE Business – 27.04.2020

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said 120,000 jobs in the sector could be lost permanently in the coming two months if action is not taken to help it. The organisation has put forward a nine-point Covid-19 Crisis Recovery Plan focusing on issues such as VAT reduction, rent measures and wage supports which it says will help save and recover the industry. "Our plan which is the only viable solution for restaurants is on the desks of ministers and departments," Adrian Cummins, CEO of the RAI, said. "We are seeking urgent action to save and recover our industry as nine out of ten restaurants face permanent closure in the months ahead without urgent action."


Casual Dining

TGI Fridays UK to trial click-and-collect and delivery

www.propelhospitality.com - 30.04.2020

TGI Friday’s UK is to trial click-and-collect as well as relaunch delivery from 24 of its 87 stores from next week. The click-and-collect service, which will be introduced on Wednesday, 6 May, will be available from sites where TGI Friday’s has its own dedicated car park and will be a “controlled” test. At the same time, TGI Friday’s will relaunch its delivery service at the 24 locations with Deliveroo and Just Eat, where applicable. The menu in both cases will be limited to guest favourites while staff will adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene measures to ensure employee and customer safety.

Aer Lingus to outsource its Dublin airport catering division to DNATA

Hospitality Ireland - 28.04.2020

Aer Lingus has made a deal to outsource its catering division at Dublin Airport to Dubai National Air Transport Association (DNATA). Owned by the Emirates Group, DNATA is a major airport services company. "Following extensive engagement with employees in our catering department, staff representatives and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), agreement was reached in February to partner with a new supplier for our catering operation. In line with that agreement, DNATA will commence provision of catering services for Aer Lingus as planned in June."