Welcome to the September edition of Bord Bia's Ireland Market Foodservice Newsletter.
This week’s Government announcement in relation to further reopening of the economy was met with a cautious welcome from the main hospitality industry representatives, many of them warning against removing existing supports for both employees and businesses too quickly.
In separate news, a final reminder that on 29th & 30th September, Bord Bia is hosting a virtual sourcing fair featuring over 65 Irish food and drink suppliers across the Prepared Consumer Foods sector. Recruitment of UK & Irish buyers is already underway and individual meeting selections will take place in advance of the event. For any Irish FS buyers that are interested in attending, but have yet to receive an invite, please contact me directly by email.
General Industry News
Unemployment hits pandemic low of 12.4% as economy begins to rebound
The Irish Times – 01.09.21
The State’s Covid-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 12.4 per cent in August, its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, as the phased reopening of the economy saw more people return to work. The latest jobless figures from Central Statistics Office (CSO) suggest economic activity is picking up in tandem with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. The figures come as Government this week signalled the phased ending of restrictions with public transport reverting to full capacity on Wednesday and an easing of limits on indoor and outdoor events due next week.
Construction activity increased again in July, inflation hits record high
RTE – 09.08.21
There was a substantial increase in construction activity once again in July, according to the latest Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) from Ulster Bank. While the index which tracks changes in total construction activity dropped from 65 in June to 62.8 in July, it still suggests a substantial increase in activity. Index readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month, while readings below 50 signal a decrease. Growth in housing activity continued to lead the overall expansion in July, despite the rate of increase easing further from May's record. Rates of expansion also softened in the commercial and civil engineering categories, but remained marked nonetheless.
Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) & Pub Sector
Paul Pomroy promoted to run 12 McDonald’s markets, Alistair Macrow to become UK & Ireland CEO
Propel Hospitality – 24.08.2021
McDonald’s has promoted Paul Pomroy to run 12 markets with Alistair Macrow becoming Chief Executive for the UK and Ireland. It follows the appointment of Manu Steijaert to the newly created role of Chief Customer Officer to drive its digital strategy. McDonald’s stated: “Our most valuable asset at McDonald’s is our people. We take great pride in our ability to use our scale and global presence to create life-long career opportunities that serve to strengthen our McFamily. From promoting top talent from within to recruiting experienced new leaders, our focus will remain on building out the best talent pipeline in the business, so that we can continue ‘Accelerating the Arches’ in an increasingly competitive market environment.”
Irish pub with no beer to open in Middle East
The Sunday Times 15.08.2021
The Virgin Mary, an alcohol-free Dublin pub, is to open a franchised outlet in the largely Muslim UAE capital. The booze-free bar, first opened in Dublin, is about to go international having proved an unlikely hit in the home of the black stuff. The Virgin Mary, on Capel Street which began serving in 2019, is to open a franchised outlet at the Galleria Al Maryah Island, a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi, next month. It will have an Irish manager and staff. There are also plans to bring the “dry bar” concept to the United States, Australia and other parts of the Middle East in much the same way the “Irish pub” theme spread around the world in the 1990s.
Hotel & Restaurant Sector
Dalata narrows losses as occupancy levels improve
The Irish Times– 01.09.21
Hotel group Dalata has reported a 51 per cent decline in revenue to €39.6 million for the first six months of 2021 as the industry remained – for the most part – under lockdown. The State’s largest hotel chain, however, narrowed its pre-tax losses for the period to €37.8 million, down from €70.9 million for the same period last year, a 46.6 per cent improvement. It also said it was well positioned for the post-Covid recovery, and had begun to see a big improvement in occupancy levels since the reopening of hospitality here in June. Specifically, it said it was seeing increasing demand for staycations since hotels fully reopened for leisure in May in the UK, and in June in Ireland. Dalata said group occupancy was 44 per cent in June, increasing to 58 per cent in July and 68 per cent in August.
Hilton Hotel and Golf Resort in Templepatrick, Co. Antrim, Purchased by Loughview Leisure Group
Hospitality Ireland – 18.08.21
Loughview Leisure Group has purchased the 200-acre Hilton hotel and golf resort in Templepatrick, Co. Antrim, for an undisclosed sum. As reported by The Irish News, Loughview Leisure, which is a subsidiary of the Kilmona property investment group headed by Belfast developer Paddy Kearney, is planning to rebrand the hotel as a DoubleTree by Hilton venue, which will make it the first venue operating the premier Hilton brand in Northern Ireland. Loughview reportedly said that the hotel and golf club will remain open without disruption while the rebrand takes place.
Casual Dining & Contract Catering Sector
Deliveroo To Launch In Waterford
Hospitality Ireland – 12.08.2021
Deliveroo stated, "Following a strong half-year of growth, Deliveroo has today announced that it is planning to expand its footprint in Ireland by launching in Waterford on the 26th August, as part of its broader expansion plans across the UK and Ireland. The increased investment in the Irish market will see Deliveroo work with more riders and drivers in the southeast region, in addition to where the company already operates in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.
Most CEOs anticipate hybrid-working model - KPMG
RTE – 02.09.21
Around two thirds of Irish Chief Executives surveyed by KPMG say they expect that most employees in their organisations will be working remotely at least two days a week. That is significantly higher than the global picture where just over a third reported a similar expectation. Around a quarter of CEOs here say they plan to reduce their physical footprint or office space as a result of the pandemic and the resulting changes to work habits. That was as high as 88% last year. Irish CEOs were also optimistic about the domestic economy with confidence back at pre-Covid levels, the seventh KPMG Irish CEO Outlook found. 72% expressed confidence in the growth outlook compared to 56% last year.