RAI Forecasts More Closures

The Restaurants Association of Ireland expects food business closures to continue over the coming months, after more than 280 closed in the last six months of 2023.

The association is blaming high running costs and the increase in the VAT rate. It said the sector “is in crisis”.

The RAI is appealing to the Government for support and has published a five-point plan to “save” restaurants and food-led businesses. The organisation has also appealed to the Government to reinstate the 9% VAT rate and to give business owners more time to pay tax bills warehoused during the pandemic. It is also seeking a package of supports to offset energy costs and wage increases for workers in the sector.

Chief Executive of the RAI Adrian Cummins said the wave of restaurant and cafe closures seen in the last six months of 2023 will continue this year unless supports are put in place.

“Over the last six months, we have seen over 280 restaurants and hospitality food-led businesses close down,” he told RTÉ News.

“We are facing a crisis in our industry at the moment in terms of closures, and we are seeking immediate action from the Government to intervene in terms of saving our industry and saving restaurants and coffee shops across the country,” he said.

The RAI has said it compiles its figures on closures in the sector from liquidation lists published by the Companies Registration Office and through contacts with its own members.