April 20, 2024


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'It is so disappointing to hear that we're going to have to increase the Vat rate again, because that reduction was pure survival,' says Gourmet Food founder Lorraine Heskin
Samantha McCaughren Twitter Email

The Gourmet Food Parlour restaurant group has invested and upgraded its gifting subsidiary Gourmet Gifts, having stepped up its online business during the pandemic. Prior to Covid-19, the company only made around 50 hampers a year for a small number of customers.
Gourmet Gifts is now working with over 100 Irish artisan producers in the areas of food, drink and homewares, targeting both corporate and individual customers. The new website offers readymade gift sets, build-your-own sets, gourmet experiences, subscription options for monthly wine and beer deliveries and corporate gifting packages.
Founder Lorraine Heskin said: “The hospitality and gifting sectors are changing, customer needs are evolving and we are ready to meet them. The investment in the new Gourmet Gifts platform was crucial to engaging our e-commerce customer.”
She is also about to open a new restaurant in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, in the coming weeks. This will bring the number of restaurants in the group to six as the company closed its Skerries, Co Dublin, location earlier this year.
“Unfortunately, I just couldn’t keep that particular venue going. I tried very hard and kept it open during Covid and worked on different ideas, such as deliveries, reduced menus, increased menus, tasting menus, but I just couldn’t get the location to work.
“I would go to the ends of the Earth to keep everything open but I just had to make that tough decision.”
Heskin said that she would be cautious about new openings.
“Facing into wintertime now, I am really focused on just making sure that I open my new restaurant in a very positive way, and then just keep really focused on my existing business, then going into 2023 and see where that takes me. But I’m definitely assessing the economy and just seeing how things go before I look any more (at expansion).”
She described the decision to restore the Vat rate for hospitality to 13.5pc as a blow to the sector as they deal with soaring electricity costs and food inflation.
“It is so disappointing to hear that we’re going to have to increase the Vat rate again, because that reduction in Vat was pure survival for us over the last couple of years. And for many, many businesses, it’s going to be very, very difficult for them to even figure out how they’re going to absorb this percentage, because you can’t pass it all on.”
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