Limerick city businesses are bracing themselves for a second year in a row, without the spin off from traditional Saint Patrick’s Day festivities.
One such business is The Jasmine Palace restaurant on O’Connell Street, where window seats are normally booked weeks in advance, by customers eager to secure a bird’s eye view of the annual street parade.
Ger Devine, manager of Pharmacia on Sarsfield Street, said the national holiday is normally one of the busiest nights of the year.
“It’s one of the biggest nights of the year for us so it’s a disappointment for sure, much like losing all our major events, like Halloween or Christmas.”
Without a dine-in service on popular dates, such as St. Patrick’s day and Mothers Day, restaurants have suffered a loss in revenue and the majority of their staff have been temporarily laid off.
As a result of level five restrictions most of the restaurants can only offer a takeaway and home delivery services.
“With the lockdown in place, the takeaway business has shot up but when dine-in becomes available this may change,” said Jeff Tse, manager of the Jasmine Palace.
Meanwhile, Ger Devine believes there will be new opportunities and challenges for catering companies after the pandemic.
“I think it will be interesting to see how events-centric venues like us react to the new landscape in the future.”
If live events are heavily regulated, then some venues may prefer to use their space for more seating and tables and shy away from music,” he added.
Discussing the plan for the immediate future, Tse of the Jasmine Palace stated “We plan to keep stock tight when we re-open in case of another lockdown, strengthen the takeaway side of things as some customers may prefer this over dine-in when we re-open.”
“I believe customers user experience is the most important [thing] when shopping online, therefore we should relook at our current platforms and see if there’s room for improvements.”
It’s not yet known when the hospitality industry will fully reopen and many restauranteurs are already exploring new business models.
“I think it will depend on what regulations there are when we re-open. We may have to get used to more table service in pubs, people running drinks on tabs rather than paying per pint, less live music. It will be interesting to see,” Mr Devine added.