Majority of publicans optimistic despite escalating business costs

The majority of publicans believe their business will improve over the next three years, new research shows.

When asked about opportunities for growth, publicans said the strong econonomy, thriving tourism market and increasing popularity of pub food all contributed to a postive outlook.

As a result of this increased confidence, many of those in the trade are planning to invest and refurbish their premises.

The survey was carried out last month by the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) to gauge the sentiment of 379 publicans on a range of issues ahead of its AGM taking place this week in Letterkenny.

Incoming VFI President Padraic McGann said the survey results were "encouraging" and "a sure sign (publicans) believe a corner has been turned".

10.65 milion people visited Ireland last year and the VFI says its members will continue to benefit from this tourism growth in 2018.

However, thew pub trade is not without its challenges, and 60% of publicans say insurance is the biggest burden placed on their business. Sourcing and retaining staff is also a challenge as the economy continues to improve and the country approaches full employment.

"Change can’t come soon enough to the insurance sector”, Mr McGann said. "It’s no exaggeration to say it could put many publicans out of business."

Mr McGann also said that running a business in a rural location can have its challenges, and called on the government to implement proposals that will help rejuvenate rural areas as outlined in its Ireland 2040 planning framework.

- Digital Desk

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