Restaurant owner: 'I'll be able to expand my workforce by 20 people'
THE retention of the 9pc VAT rate for businesses in the hospitality sector will allow restaurateur Elaine Murphy to increase her workforce by 20 people.
The business woman is the brains behind three of Dublin's most popular eateries - The Winding Stairs, The Woollen Mills and The Washerwoman.
Along with her business partner Brian Montague, the duo also operate the Grand Social bar and hope to open the Legal Eagle gastropub beside the Four Courts in the near future. They are members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
Speaking about the decision to retain the VAT rate at the current rate, Ms Murphy said: "That was the main concern. It is good news."
"The 9pc is key to the job creation that has already happened. And also to the tourism industry remaining strong with prices, remaining as keen as they are now.
"It is absolutely great that it is being retained. I have heard that they have expanded the PRSI bands, that's good news," she added.
The decision of the Finance Minister not to change the reduced rate for those in the tourism sector in the past has helped the business to avoid any redundancies, and the restaurateur hopes the retention of the current level will now help to expand her workforce by almost 12pc.
"We are hoping to open the Legal Eagle soon. So that is going to make a big difference in terms of more jobs. That should create hopefully another 20 jobs.
"The 9pc rate has really allowed us to have no redundancies during the recession and it allows us to maintain our good deals on our early bird and lunch specials.
"We have 180 employees and we are hoping to go to 200 which would be fantastic. That's between full, part-time, barristas, bar people, managers, chefs kitchen porters and engineers," she said.
However, she was disappointed that the excise rate on alcohol was not reduced. While wine is a popular choice for many diners in her restaurants, she said the cost is often commented on by tourists.
"The excise in wine didn't come down which is a little prohibitive, it's disappointing in terms of the wine pricing for the public. And the thing is the consumer and the overseas visitors are expecting wine prices to stay competitive," she added.