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 Welcome to the May, Week 2 edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.

 

Thanks to all of you that logged on to our first Irish Foodservice webinar yesterday morning and confirmation to anyone that missed it, the 40 minute recording is now available on our website at this link.

 

A further Date for your Diary is Thursday, 28th May from 2- 3PM when we will present findings from a White Paper that we are currently compiling on the Irish Foodservice market.  The objective of this White Paper is to evaluate potential changes in the short, medium and longer term and to help foodservice operators, distributors and suppliers to begin developing strategies, based on scenario building.

 

This webinar is open to all and registration is available via our website here.

 

General Industry News

Coronavirus round-up: The Irish economy

Business Post – 07.05.2020

The Irish economy will contract by 8 per cent in 2020 and expand again by 6 per cent in 2021, according to the European Commission's latest economic forecast. The economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has been compounded by "specific" Irish factors such as Brexit and changes in international taxation, the outlook reported. Ireland's overall unemployment, deficit and debt levels will rise, it said, but there are some consolations, such as the performance of the Irish pharmaceutical and medical sectors. Unemployment is expected to rise to 7.5 per cent, but recover to pre-crisis levels by the last quarter of 2021, the report says. The report says the Euro area will contract by a record 7.75 per cent this year and grow by 6.25 per cent in 2021, while the EU as a whole will contract by 7.5 per cent in 2020.

Exchequer deficit of almost €7.5 billion in April - double that of same month last year

RTE Business – 05.05.2020

The Exchequer recorded a deficit of €7.5bn in April, more than double the deficit of €3.2bn recorded in April of last year. Spending to the end of April was up €2.4bn, or 13.5%, on where it was planned to be, primarily due to Covid-19 related expenditure by the Department of Health and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Tax receipts in April were down 8%, or €223m, on the same month last year. Tax receipts in the year to April were down 0.6%, or €86m. Cumulative expenditure to the end of April compared to the same period last year is 23.5% ahead. The impact of Covid-19 on tax receipts has yet to work its way through the Exchequer figures, according to a statement from the Department of Finance.

 

Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector

McDonald’s to reopen 15 UK sites for delivery

www.propelinfonews.ie – 01.05.2020

McDonald’s is to reopen 15 of its UK restaurants later this month for delivery only. The company, which has this week been running tests behind closed doors, will reopen the sites on Wednesday, 13th May. The restaurants involved will be announced next week as McDonald’s “works through inviting our employees back to work and supporting our delivery partners to prepare for our gradual return”. Delivery will be available via UberEats and Just Eat. Perspex screens and floor markings will be introduced in specific areas; staff will receive additional protective equipment including non-medical grade face masks; and all employees will be asked to confirm they are fit and able to work, with temperatures taken on arrival at work for every shift using contactless thermometers. It will also be introducing social distancing measures for all delivery and service partners. The restaurants will operate with a limited menu to support social distancing in kitchens, but will provide “many of our iconic favourites” including the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Happy Meal alongside the majority of its drinks.

Pubs want to reopen like restaurants - but not with alcohol cap

Independent.ie – 30.04.2020

Pubs want to reopen at the same time as restaurants - but would 'reserve their position' if that meant restrictions on serving alcoholic drinks. The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said mooted Government plans to allow restaurants and cafés to reopen weeks or even months before pubs would be unfair and discriminatory. It argued that most pubs have full restaurant licences and serve more food than full-service restaurants. The LVA said that, in the event the Government permits restaurants to reopen only on condition that their sale of alcoholic drinks is capped or prohibited, pubs would not rule out reopening under those conditions. But publicans would view such restrictions as unfair and not financially feasible.

 

Hotel & Restaurant Sector

Coronavirus round-up: Dalata Hotel Group

Business Post – 07.05.2020

Pat McCann, the chief executive of Dalata Hotel Group, has said he has hopes the struggling sector will be able to reopen at reduced capacity in advance of the government‘s current July 20th date. McCann emphasised the importance of the summer months for hotels while acknowledging the need to ensure the spread of the virus is under control before resuming activity. Dalata has closed 29 of its 44 hotels in Ireland and the UK and temporarily laid off almost seventy per cent of its staff.

Top chef says restaurants cannot survive social distancing rules

The Irish Times - 05.05.2020

Social distancing rules will make it impossible to open most Irish restaurants after Covid-19, according to one of Ireland’s top Michelin-starred chefs. JP McMahon says that with social distancing rules of even 1.5 metres, it would not be viable to open any of his three Galway restaurants, including Michelin-starred Aniar. Mr McMahon also owns the Cava Bodega tapas restaurant and Tartare Café and wine bar. “We cannot open to lose money and get further into debt,” said Mr McMahon. “With two metres social distancing, we are also looking at 75 per cent job losses. I don’t know what to do. “We employ 45 people. Whatever model we employ, we’re looking at least 20 redundancies. That’s best case scenario,” he said, adding that it would involve providing a takeaway service alongside some meals in the restaurants.

 

Casual Dining

Bewley’s on Grafton Street to close permanently with loss of 110 jobs

The Irish Times - 06.05.2020

The historic Bewley’s cafe on Grafton Street is to close permanently with the loss of 110 jobs. Staff were informed of the decision by the operator of the cafe, Bewley’s Ltd, which is owned by artist Paddy Campbell. The closure has been blamed on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, which has been in lockdown since March, and the €1.5 million annual rental cost on the protected structure. In a note to staff, the cafe’s Managing Director Cól Campbell, a son of Paddy Campbell, outlined the impact of the lockdown on the business and highlighted the added costs of social distancing measures, once cafes and restaurants are allowed to reopen on June 29th. He also cited its €1.5 million annual rent as a reason behind the decision, saying that a request for a rent reduction had not been granted.

Former McDonald's Ireland MD joins Leon Ireland board

Hospitality Ireland - 07.05.2020

Healthy fast food chain Leon has announced the appointment of former McDonald's Ireland managing director Adrian Crean as a non-executive director of Leon Ireland. Crean served as managing director of McDonald's Ireland from 2011 to 2017. Leon Ireland managing director Stuart Fitzgerald stated, "We are delighted to further strengthen our board with Adrian's appointment. His expertise and experience will be invaluable as we navigate the post-COVID-19 economy. Adding someone of Adrian's calibre reinforces our optimistic view of the prospects for Leon in Ireland and our belief that there is a sizable market opportunity." Fitzgerald added, "While our focus right now is on health and safety, we firmly believe that Leon is well-positioned to respond to post-COVID-19 consumer demand, given the affordable and fresh nature of our offering. We're dedicated to fulfilling our roll-out plan and contributing positively to the Irish economy and jobs market again post-COVID. To date, the state's COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme has been invaluable in helping us look after our people.