Bars and cafés must wait to see if Meta job losses will affect local businesses

Meta says around 11,000 people will be fired

Conor Feehan

Cafés, bars and restaurants in the vicinity of Meta offices in Ireland have said they will have to wait and see if the announcement of global job cuts at the social-media giant will have a knock-on effect on their businesses.

With a potential 350 jobs being lost in Ireland at the social-media giant, a ripple effect could impact many industries here – but in Dublin yesterday there was a feeling that other factors had a greater negative effect on local trade.

In Ballsbridge, where many Meta employees are based in a new headquarters which is still under construction, local businesses said the departure of thousands of workers from the AIB HQ that previously occupied the site was a bigger blow to them than the potential loss of jobs at Meta.

“When AIB moved out, we lost a lot of customers. This place used to be heaving at lunchtime and at night – and while there are Meta workers on the site now, they tend to socialise differently,” said one bar worker.

“We don’t get big groups in from Meta, and they have a lot of in-house perks and incentives as well – such as cafés and bars – so workers don’t really need to leave their building,” he added.

There was also a view that Covid had already done its work with regard to negatively affecting customer numbers.

Many café, bar and restaurant workers said that when working from home became a necessity, it had a huge effect on nearby office populations. And while many office workers were now back at their desks in a full-time or hybrid capacity, the Meta announcement might only have a small effect on hospitality businesses in the locality.

This was also particularly noticeable in Grand Canal Dock where many office workers are based.

“Any job losses in the area will probably have an effect on customer numbers. We do get a lot of office workers in here, but I don’t know how many are from Meta or how many are from other offices,” said Julian Dascalu in the Fresh supermarket around the corner from the Meta offices.

“The Meta workers are well looked after in their own office too, so maybe they don’t go out as much as people in other businesses do.

"But some of them probably come in when they are going home and get something. We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” he added.

Vera Hlavkova in the nearby Lolly and Cooks café held a similar view.

“During the holidays we notice a drop in the number of office workers, so any jobs being lost in the area could have an effect on business. Only time will tell,” she said.

And while the announcement from Meta yesterday said that around 11,000 jobs would be lost worldwide, sources said some 350 staff jobs could be lost from their Irish operations.

The company also expressed its commitment to Ireland as a base for business.