The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has launched a blueprint in an effort to curb the loss of jobs from the industry. It is estimated that 7,000 jobs were lost in the pub sector last year.
Ahead of the VFI AGM this week research confirmed that most publicans have cut staffing levels and reduced working hours for those still employed in the trade. This comes on the back of a seven per cent decline in sales in the first quarter of this year and a 13 per cent decline in 2010. According to the VFI it is estimated that a pub a day is closing.
The research does however show that publicans are working hard in terms of providing a better offering to their customers and at a better price which should be good news for the Irish consumer and the thousands of overseas visitors who eat and drink in Irish pubs.
At the launch of the Options 4 Recovery document, the VFI said it hoped the blueprint would “inject life into the struggling pub industry and help save the 50,000 jobs in the pub trade”.
The Options 4 Recovery document was developed after consultation with stakeholders and after VFI executives and officials travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to take in the views of members and those employed in the industry.
The VFI firmly believes that if the measures and proposals outlined in the document are implemented, then many pubs will remain open and jobs saved. Three of the four measures outlined focus on the publican and the drinks industry.
The main four areas involve looking after the customer, the value of perception, removing the barriers (costs ) and events and marketing.
Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI said: “This is a brave and forward looking document for the pub industry. If jobs are to be saved and if pubs are to get through this very difficult period, then we must look at ourselves first.
“The Options 4 Recovery document challenges publicans to ensure they have the highest standards of service and we are well on the way to doing this with the launch of the recent Fáilte Ireland accreditation scheme.
“We must also ensure we provide value for a demanding and discerning consumer and this refers to everything from price to the entire offering. At times there is a misleading perception of a lack of value in the trade. This is primarily unjustified but this perception needs to be tackled.
“Publicans must also promote themselves better and get involved in local festivals and events and provide leadership in this area. Pubs play an integral part in the tourism industry, which is one of the potential green shoots for economic recovery.”
The VFI is also calling on the Government to reduce the cost of doing business in Ireland as well as tackling the practice of low cost selling of alcohol in supermarkets.