It has been a case of a story of two halves for business owners within Dublin’s food sector. Food producers who were supplying the supermarket sector have enjoyed somewhat of a boom, as customers flocked to supermarkets to stock up. At times, supermarkets were showing up to 40% growth which stabilized around a 20% increase. Food producers in categories of demand within these supermarkets have traded well.

Foodservice operators, like cafes and restaurants, on the other hand, or Dublin food producers supplying into the foodservice sector, have been badly hit. Many of these latter groups have had no revenue for the last three months.

Some cafes and restaurants have devised innovative click and collect schemes, or delivery options, which saw them retain around 50% of their revenue. Others adapted to provide delivery of home food kits, where the consumer does the cooking. Bujo in Dublin 4 is an excellent example of an early mover in this space.

Food producers have also been busy innovating. When dessert and cake expert Robert Bullock, of Le Patissier, found himself with no business and no staff, he quickly pivoted the company to become a food delivery business, supplying exquisite cakes. The good news is that Robert now has reemployed 50% of his staff, and is delivering directly to over 400 homes in Dublin weekly.

Those in the foodservice sector are reopening their cafes and restaurants to sit down business while complying with the new guidelines. The key pieces of advice right now are:

  • Consumers will need lots of reassurance about safety procedures, so that is the priority. Business owners should sign up to Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Safety Charter.
  • Many operators have decided to return with a scaled-down menu to make it easier to operate in the short term.
  • Some foodservice operators have also moved to a bookings only model to make the process a little more streamlined, at least for now.

Advice to food producers, especially those supplying into the foodservice sector covers several headings:

  • Many of these producers are expanding their retail presence to compensate for a slowdown in foodservice orders.
  • Producers also need to be mindful of helping cafes and restaurants by doing more of the preparation in their premises, to help kitchens under pressure with social distancing and less staff.
  • The growth in consumer interest in buying directly from producers necessitates all producers to give this serious consideration.
James Burke

James is the network manager of Dublin Food Chain. DFC is a free marketing and networking organisation for Dublin’s food community.

You might also like...

Dublin LEO clients facing up to COVID–19

As the impact of the COVID–19 outbreak intensifies, businesses across Dublin are finding ways to diversify to survive the crisis and retain their staff. The virus is hitting our economy hard, and it’s creating a situation that’s well beyond the experience of most business owners. However, in these difficult times, many businesses have managed, with the support of their Local Enterprise Office, to adapt and shift to new products and services quickly. UNIFORMAL Uniformal, an established uniform and corporate wear provider based in South Dublin, have been supplying Irish businesses with bespoke and premium ready-to-wear uniform solutions and workwear fo

Read More

The Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie Way to Success

Stress baking. It’s a thing, you know. It’s what Caryna Camerino used to do after another difficult day in her old job in human resources. Caryna Camerino, a first generation Canadian who has lived in Dublin for the past 14 years, wasn’t always a baker. But food was a big deal at home – partly because her father, from Rome, is a stickler for authentic Italian cooking. Such a stickler in fact that she loved going to friends’ houses where she could enjoy a regular tv dinner like normal folk do. Intending to visit Ireland for a couple of days after she left college, she’s never left. The job in HR was courtesy of an engineering company

Read More