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Package of Supports for Hospitality Sector Announced

A new set of financial supports for the retail and hospitality sector was approved last week, with several new measures in place to help businesses cope with the rising cost of running a business in Ireland. 

Included in this package is a second round of grants of up to €5,000, under the Increased Cost of Business scheme. The scheme is now open until next Wednesday for businesses that have not registered already. The maximum amount under the Energy Efficiency Grant for small businesses has been increased to €10,000. The Innovation Voucher Scheme, a grant which helps businesses develop products, will also be doubled from €5,000 to €10,000.

Furthermore, the threshold for PRSI has been increased. Businesses will pay a lower rate of employer PRSI at 8.8% for staff earning up to €496. The threshold for this band of PRSI currently stands at €441. There will also be a review on statutory sick leave for employees before any increases.

New Support Package for Hospitality Businesses set to be Approved Tomorrow

Retail and hospitality businesses in Ireland are set to receive a big financial boost. A new enterprise support package is being finalized by the Government and is scheduled for Cabinet approval on Tuesday. This initiative aims to infuse thousands of euros into sectors severely impacted by rising costs and economic challenges.

Discussions over the weekend with the Department of Public Expenditure focused on redirecting unspent funds from an existing €257 million scheme. This reallocation is expected to provide a crucial financial boost to businesses most affected by current economic pressures.

A major feature of the proposed package is an enhancement of the existing Increased Cost of Business scheme. Presently, businesses can claim up to 50% of their previous year’s rates bill, capped at €10,000, equating to a maximum grant of €5,000. The new plan proposes a second round of grants, allowing eligible businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors to receive an additional €5,000.

To further alleviate financial pressures on employers, a €50 million measure will increase the PRSI threshold for employers. Currently, employers pay an 8.8% PRSI rate for employees earning up to €441 per week, which rises to 11.05% for higher earnings. With the minimum wage increased to €12.70 per hour in January, the PRSI threshold will be adjusted to €495 per week, potentially saving businesses hundreds of euros each week.

Ministers are also considering a potential pause on future increases to statutory sick leave days. Initially, workers were set to receive seven sick leave days from January, up from five, with a planned increase to 10 days by 2026. Additionally, the pace of future minimum wage increases may be slowed, subject to recommendations from the Low Pay Commission.

A €1.5 billion surplus in the National Training Fund could be allocated for employers to invest in education and training for their employees.

As the Government moves to finalize this comprehensive support package, retail and hospitality businesses throughout Ireland can anticipate a much-needed financial lifeline. These measures are designed not only to provide immediate relief but also to enhance the long-term sustainability of these vital sectors in the Irish economy.

Preparing Your Hospitality Business for a Successful Summer Season

As summer approaches, the hospitality industry braces for its peak season. Summer offers a golden opportunity for hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other hospitality services to capitalize on increased travel and leisure activities. Getting ready for this busy period involves strategic planning and execution. Here are some essential tips to ensure your business is summer-ready.

The backbone of any hospitality business is its staff. Before the summer rush, consider expanding your team to handle the increased customer load. Hiring seasonal workers can help manage the workload without overburdening your permanent staff.

Create summer-themed packages or promotions to attract guests. These can include special rates for extended stays, family packages, or exclusive amenities like beach access or free summer cocktails upon arrival. Tailoring your offerings to the season’s vibe can make your establishment more appealing and give you a competitive edge.

Utilize technology to enhance guest experiences and streamline operations. Implementing a robust online booking system, a mobile check-in process, and free Wi-Fi are now expected standards. Consider adopting more advanced technologies like digital concierge services, contactless payments, and personalized room control systems via smartphones, which can significantly enhance guest satisfaction.

Summer is often packed with local events, festivals, and concerts. Partnering with event organizers can provide mutual benefits. Offering promotions linked to these events or providing transportation to and from major attractions can attract more visitors and improve their overall experience. As well as this, update your marketing strategies to highlight your readiness for the summer. Use your website, social media channels, and email newsletters to showcase your summer specials, newly renovated spaces, and available activities. Encourage early bookings with special discounts and highlight the safety protocols you maintain to assure potential guests.

Only Two More Days to Apply for the ICOB Grant!

There are only two days left to apply for the Increased Cost of Business Grant! As part of Budget 2024, the Minister for Trade Simon Coveney has introduced an Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) grant for small and medium-sized businesses, with payments commencing this month. The deadline to apply for this grant is May 1st, 2024.

This one-time payment will help businesses cope with the increasing costs of running a business, with grants of up to €5,000 available for qualifying businesses. These grants will be distributed based on bills from 2023. Businesses with a 2023 rates bill for their property of up to €10,000 will receive a grant that amounts to half of their bill. Those with a 2023 rates bill for their property ranging from €10,000 to €30,000 will receive a fixed grant of €5,000. Businesses with a 2023 rates bill for their property over €30,000 unfortunately won’t qualify for this grant.

This is a great opportunity for hospitality owners across the country. Find out more details and register here: https://www.mycoco.ie/icob

Changes to UK Tipping Legislation Pushed Back to October 1st

Yesterday, the UK Department for Business and Trade released their final Code of Practice for the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act. These changes have now been pushed back to come into effect on October 1st, instead of the original date of July 1st. This change gives hospitality employers across the UK more time to prepare for these changes.

It is estimated that with these changes, service workers in the UK will take home around £200 million more in tips, and the act will benefit over 2 million workers.

The key points of the act remain the same:

  •  Employers are not allowed withhold tips or service charges from their staff.
  •  All employees must have access to a written outline of the business tipping policy.
  •  A tipping policy must be on display for all customers.
  •  Employers must keep end-to-end transaction reports for all tips.
  •  Staff must receive their tips no later than the month after the tip has been left to the business.

Introducing JustTip Flex!

We are excited to officially announce our newest product- JustTip Flex! JustTip Flex is a hand-held, mobile solution that allows for flexible tipping, ideal for restaurants and table service.  

With the new Flex option, customers can choose their tip amount in a separate transaction from paying the bill, therefore increasing server’s tips while separating them from business revenue. Just like the fixed machine, customers can tap with a bank card, phone or watch to leave a tip in just 3 seconds! 

As well as this, with tipping legislation in Ireland updated in December 2022, companies must now provide clear information to customers on how tips are shared among employees, promoting transparency and trust in the tipping process. Legislation also states that staff should receive a breakdown of electronic tips received and how they are distributed. Further, it guarantees employees the right to receive their tip, protecting them from unfair distribution. All tips generated through JustTip’s systems are collected, pooled, and distributed weekly directly to the employee’s bank accounts in proportion to the hours they have worked, bypassing the employer’s business completely.

Navigating the New UK Tipping Legislation: What You Need to Know

In a significant overhaul aimed at ensuring fairness in the service industry, the UK is set to implement new tipping legislation on July 1st. This change comes as a response to evolving payment methods in the economy, notably the shift towards cashless transactions.

The transition to a cashless economy has raised pressing issues around traditional tipping practices. With fewer customers carrying cash, the reliance on digital payment methods has necessitated the integration of technologies like the “tipping terminal.” These devices allow customers to leave gratuities via card payments directly at the point of sale. This technological solution ensures that the spirit of tipping remains alive even in a digital landscape.

The new legislation in the UK introduces several crucial reforms designed to protect workers and clarify processes for employers and customers:

Full Pass-Through of Tips to Workers: One of the central features of the legislation is ensuring that workers receive 100% of the tips left by customers, with no deductions made by employers. This provision aims to increase transparency and trust, ensuring that tips are a genuine bonus for service staff over and above their regular wages.

Transparency in Tip Distribution: Employers will now be required to establish and adhere to a clear tipping policy. This policy must outline how tips are collected, processed, and distributed among staff. The goal is to eliminate any previous practices that might have obscured or unfairly allocated tips received by workers.

Control Over Service Charges: The legislation also addresses the automatic addition of service charges to bills. Under the new rules, service charges must be clearly disclosed and optional, giving customers the freedom to decide whether to pay them and how much they wish to tip, thereby enhancing customer autonomy over tipping.

Tipping terminals play a vital role under the new legislation, not just in facilitating easy tipping but in ensuring compliance with the law. These systems can be configured to split tips according to the established tipping policy automatically, provide digital receipts detailing how tips are added, and ensure that all tipping is voluntary and transparent. The adoption of such technology also helps businesses manage their finances more efficiently, offering detailed reports that aid compliance with the legal requirements of the tipping legislation. Moreover, it reassures customers that their gratuities are going directly to the staff, fostering a greater sense of goodwill and satisfaction.

This new era of tipping legislation is a welcome development, aligning the UK’s tipping practices with the realities of a modern, cashless society, and setting a standard that could influence global tipping policies in the future.

Changes to UK Tipping Legislation Fast Approaching

On July 1st, UK tipping legislation is changing. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act will bring stricter regulations on how employers handle their staff’s tips. This aims to prevent staff from losing out on tips, and improving tipping systems across the country.

 

The main change in the new act will make it illegal for employers or businesses to keep any tips from their staff, with very few exceptions. All of their staff will need to receive the full amount of their tips, with 0 deductions. Tips will need to be distributed fairly between staff. While this does not necessarily mean splitting tips into equal amounts between staff, employers must have a fair system in place for distributing tips- for example, by hours worked, employee seniority, etc. This system must be outlined to all staff in a written policy. Records must also be kept of every tip left in a business, which employees have the right to request at any time.

 

So what should all UK employers have in order before July 1st?

  1. A written tipping policy that is on public display and easy for everyone to access.
  2. Staff need to be fully aware of your business’s tipping policy.
  3. A fair system for distributing tips must be in place, and known to each of your employees.
  4. End-to-end transaction reports will be needed for all tips left to a business, which employees will be able to request at any time.

 

For help getting started with the new legislation, get in touch with us to help you keep compliant, and separate tipping from your business.

Challenges Faced by Small Businesses in Ireland

While Ireland can offer a promising environment for entrepreneurship, small businesses face their fair share of challenges in this economic landscape. There are a variety of hurdles that small businesses encounter in Ireland, however there are also strategies to overcome them.

Ireland’s cost of living and doing business can be relatively high compared to other European countries. For small businesses, especially those in the initial stages, managing expenses such as rent, utilities, and labor costs can be daunting. Additionally, taxes and regulatory compliance add to the financial burden, making it challenging to maintain profitability. As well as this, securing funding is often a major hurdle for small businesses in Ireland. While there are various avenues such as bank loans, grants, and venture capital, stringent lending criteria and risk aversion among financial institutions can limit access to capital, particularly for startups and businesses without a strong track record.

The Irish market, although relatively small, is highly competitive, especially in sectors like retail, hospitality, and technology. Small businesses must differentiate themselves to stand out amidst larger competitors with greater resources and brand recognition. Building a unique value proposition and leveraging niche markets can help small businesses carve out their place in the industry. In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is crucial for business success. However, many small businesses in Ireland struggle with digital transformation due to limited resources and expertise. Adapting to e-commerce platforms, implementing digital marketing strategies, and enhancing cybersecurity measures are essential but challenging tasks for small businesses, particularly those with traditional brick-and-mortar operations.

Ireland has a complex regulatory environment, with numerous laws and regulations governing various aspects of business operations, from taxation to data protection. Navigating this regulatory landscape can be overwhelming for small businesses, particularly those with limited legal expertise and resources. Ensuring compliance with regulations while focusing on core business activities requires careful planning and attention to detail.

Despite the challenges they face, small businesses are the backbone of Ireland’s economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering community development. By addressing these hurdles with resilience, creativity, and strategic planning, small businesses can overcome obstacles and thrive in the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem of Ireland.

The Impact of St.Patrick’s Day Tourism on Irish Hospitality

Every year for St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s most celebrated cultural event, the country opens its arms to over 100,000 tourists. Tourism in Ireland has a massive impact on Irish hospitality, especially during this iconic time of year. According to the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation in its 2023 Review, it is estimated that €5.3 billion was spent by international visitors while visiting Ireland in 2023. This makes a great difference to Irish businesses across the country. 

St. Patrick’s Day has become a global celebration of Irish culture and heritage. In Ireland, the day is marked by lively parades and traditional music in pubs. The allure of St. Patrick’s Day draws tourists from every corner of the globe to the streets of Dublin, Galway, and beyond. Millions of euros flow into the local economy through tourism-related spending. From souvenir shops to pubs and restaurants, businesses thrive during this festive period, buoyed by the influx of visitors. The tourism industry also provides 220,000 jobs in Ireland, according to the latest survey from Fáilte Ireland. 

However, the surge in tourism also presents challenges for Ireland’s hospitality industry. Crowded streets and overbooked accommodations can strain resources and infrastructure. Pubs and restaurants may struggle to maintain their welcoming atmosphere amidst the chaos of the festivities, and staff can be under extra pressure. Balancing the preservation of cultural authenticity with the demands of mass tourism requires careful stewardship and innovative solutions.

As Ireland opens its arms to the world for its national holiday every year, it’s great to see this influx in tourism have a positive effect on our country’s flourishing hospitality sector.