MULTI MILLION POUND FOOD AND BEVERAGE SUPPLY CHAIN IN CRISIS

MULTI MILLION POUND FOOD AND BEVERAGE SUPPLY CHAIN IN CRISIS

03 December 2020

...DUE TO LACK OF CLARITY AND LATE CALLS ON LOCKDOWNS AND REOPENING OF HOSPTIALITY SECTOR BY NI EXECUTIVE

 

22 producers, suppliers and trade bodies have united with Hospitality Ulster and written to the First Minister and deputy First Minister to highlight the growing crisis in the hospitality industry supply chain, in a drive to get clarity from the Northern Ireland Executive on the proposed 11th December reopening date.

 

Without a commitment or early decision, the supply chain faces repeated uncertainty which has implications for millions of pounds worth of stock going out of date and perishing once again.

 

With pubs, restaurants and hotels across Northern Ireland on the brink of collapse, enduring repeated lockdowns, indicative reopening dates and operating under unsustainable restrictions when open, industry suppliers have come together with Hospitality Ulster in a joint letter to emphasise the dire situation the hospitality supply chain now faces.

 

Hospitality Ulster has said that suppliers are a key part of the hospitality sector and have supported outlets throughout this crisis, taking back potentially out of date products and offering extended credit, but with rolling lockdowns and unsustainable restrictions the supply chain is now facing its own crisis.

 

Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:

 

“We believe the decision to repeatedly close hospitality outlets and severely restrict their business model when open, without adequate financial support for both the outlets and supply chain, will result in huge job losses and many going out of business . This will take a generation to rebuild.”

 

“The mounting debt owed to suppliers is now estimated to be in the millions of pounds and growing, a situation that many of the suppliers cannot sustain and a debt that many hospitality businesses simply cannot pay without a sustainable income. Our entire hospitality industry faces the biggest challenge of all time. It cannot sustain further and repeated closures or unsustainable restrictions like curfew or banning the sale of alcohol when open and be expected to survive on inadequate financial support from Government.”

 

“The supply chain needs time to gear up and cannot respond to the reopening or indeed closure of the sector with only few days’ notice. Production and supply chains simply cannot be switched on and off like a light switch, our logistics teams cannot deliver goods to thousands of outlets at a day’s notice and short notice of closure results in perishable goods like beer, soft drinks and food being wasted on an industrial scale.”

 

He added:

 

“The financial impact of Covid-19 across the Northern Ireland hospitality sector has been hugely significant with hotels, restaurants and food pubs only open 15 weeks since March and wet-led pubs only allowed to open for only 3 out of the last 37 weeks (2 in Derry City / Strabane) after enduring several delays to reopening over the course of the summer.  Pre Covid-19 crisis, the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland sustained 65,435 jobs and provided £899m in wages. Hospitality Ulster research indicates that total job losses (direct, indirect and induced) within the hospitality industry at the ‘four-week point’ since closure is in the region of 15,000 accounting for an estimated loss in wages to the Northern Ireland economy of £211m.”

 

“We now need the Executive decision makers to place their full focus on this to ensure further damage isn’t done. The hospitality sector is in disarray, the supply chain is in crisis. Action needs to be taken immediately.”

 

Signatories to the letter include:

 

Joe McGirr, Founder & CEO

Boatyard Distillery

 

Anne Toms, External & Government Affairs Lead

Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I

 

Dermot O’Donnell, Senior Key Account Manager

Coca-Cola HBC

 

James Davies, Country Director Northern Ireland

Diageo

 

Hugh Murray, Director & Founder

Classic Drinks

 

Kevin Donnelly, Managing Director

Britvic Ireland

 

Michael Maguire, Business Unit Director

Dillon Bass

 

Kevin O’Leary, Business Director

Drinks Inc.

 

Steven Pattison, Managing Director

Drinksology

 

Cathal Geoghegan, Managing Director

Henderson Foodservice

 

Harry Crawford, Director

Get Fresh Ltd

 

Claire Tolan, Managing Director Ireland

Irish Distillers

 

Gerry Keenan, Managing Director

Keenan Seafood

 

Andrew Lynas, Group Managing Director

Lynas Foodservice

 

Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive

Manufacturing NI

 

Jordana Busby, Customer Director Northern Ireland

Molson Coors

 

Richard Mayne, Foodservice Sales Manager

Musgrave Marketplace

 

Philip Magowan, Commercial Director Northern Ireland

Richmond Marketing

 

Fiona & David Boyd-Armstrong

Co-Founders

Shortcross Gin & Whiskey

 

John McVeigh, Head of Sales Northern Ireland

Sysco

 

Tom McCusker, Managing Director

Tennent’s NI

 

Martin McAuley, Managing Director

United Wines