Step Down Recovery Plan to Save Jobs in the Restaurant Industry in Ireland

Hit First

Hit Hardest

Last Out

Restaurant workers are a vital part of the Irish economy. There are more than 6,500 restaurants all over the country, employing over 80,000 workers. However, the Restaurant industry, along with many others has been decimated by the C19 crisis, 80% of these jobs are now on the line. This is a sensible and cost effective plan to save most of these jobs.


With countless businesses closed, tens of thousands of valued employees effectively unemployed, business owners are facing bankruptcy and the value of business assets destroyed.


On top of this there is a great deal of uncertainty as to when business will be back to normal. Many commentators say that until a vaccine is developed and widely available, social distancing will be a reality, and that it could be another two years, before restaurant businesses get back to normal. This is way too long for most closed businesses to survive.


In the event that restrictions are partially lifted and restaurants and bars can resume partial trade, the economic costs of doing so in terms of rents, bank payments etc. do not make sense without full trade being resumed.



“We just want to get our amazing employees back to work as soon as possible.” 

Our Aims


The Save Our Restaurants Coalition has been formed by a group of hospitality professionals and advisers with three aims: 

  • Get our amazing employees back to work ASAP. Re-assure employees that it safe to come back to work, and keep people employed, and paying their taxes.

  • Get the cost base of viable restaurant businesses into line with actual sales, allowing viable business to survive.

  • Re-engage the public, by re-assuring them that it is safe to come out and dine with restaurants.


“It will be more difficult to re-open restaurants than it was to close them.” 

Our 3 Point Step Down Plan


This step down plan aims to be an equitable strategy to look after the interests of our employees, our stakeholders and Ireland itself. Step down support means that most help goes to those businesses that need it most, and is stepped down as revenues in those businesses recover.

Where applicable this support should be provided by way of direct government grants as opposed to bank administered debt. Introducing additional debt into the system will not resuscitate our sector.

Any restaurant which is receiving any state aid it should have a no dividend policy for the year in which the state aid is received, and all profits (if any) should be ploughed back into the business.

It seeks to allow viable restaurants to survive for two years, or until a vaccine is widely distributed in Ireland. This proposal recognises, that while restaurants may be allowed to re-open, it is likely with social distancing measures in place, overseas tourism dead, and a nervous customer base, sales will take a long time to come back.

With an unadjusted cost base during this period, most restaurant businesses will not survive. The aim of this plan is to get the operating costs of restaurants into line with post lockdown sales, while making sure the support goes to those who need it most, while those who don’t need it, don’t get it.

We have included a series of supplementary proposals, many at no cost to Government, which would make the viability of restaurants, and the associated jobs more certain and hopeful.

1. Labour Costs Step Down

Government continues to provide income supports for employees for 2 years post restaurant sector lockdown.

Business down 25% or more...
The temporary wage subsidy of 85% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees, is continued, where turnover has fallen by 25% on 2019 figures.

Step Down Methodology...

  • Existing wage subsidy scheme remains in place for the duration of the restaurant sector lockdown period

  • For the 24 month period post restaurant sector lockdown the following applies;

    • Current subsidy is paid by government where turnover is down 80-100% on 2019 figures

    • 70% subsidy (based on current wage subsidy scheme methodology) is paid where turnover is down 50-80%

    • 50% subsidy (based on current wage subsidy scheme methodology) is paid where turnover is down 25-50%

    • Subsidies are initially claimed on a self assessment basis but are subject to independent audit every 12 months

2. Occupancy Costs Step Down

Government subsidises occupancy costs (OC) for viable restaurants for 2 years post restaurant sector lockdown. This aims to make many of the fixed costs more variable and inline with actual sales.

Occupancy Costs...

  • Rent

  • Rates, water, water waste, street furniture charges

  • Business insurance

  • Landlords insurance

  • Utilities

Step Down Methodology...

  • Government agrees to cover costs on a stepped basis, similar to the Danish model

  • 100% Grant towards OC as long as business is not permitted to open

  • 80% grant towards OC where turnover is down 80-100% on 2019 sales

  • 50% grant where turnover is down 50-80%

  • 25% grant where turnover is down 25-50%

  • Landlord also gives from 20% reduction pro-rata, and tenant agrees to pay revised figure to agreed terms

  • Grant paid monthly, on sales reported by business in an amended monthly P30 report. Subject to independent audit every 12 months

3. Debt Repayment Step Down

Lenders must agree to reschedule the repayment of loans, finance leases, hire purchases and mortgages for 2 years post restaurant sector lockdown where businesses are unable to meet current debt obligations, but where loans were performing as at 31st December 2019.


  • Term Loans

  • Overdrafts

  • Business Mortgages

  • Finance Leases / Hire Purchases


Step Down Methodology...

  • Rescheduling of all debt repayments (interest and capital) during the restaurant sector lockdown period

  • Interest only repayments for the 12 month period post restaurant sector lockdown

  • Restructured capital repayments, based on repayment capacity, during months 13 to 24 post restaurant sector lockdown.  Full interest payments during this period.

  • Covenant modification for this period to ensure no breach is triggered by the step down methodology





Philip Lee Solicitors
Crowe Ireland
Musgrave Foodservices

BWG Food Services

Pallas Foods

Henderson Foodservice

Ready Chef


BD Foods


Millbrook Foods

Martin Food Equipment

Slowey Systems

Olive & Key

Avid Partners

Capital Flow



Costa Systems

Arachas Insurance

DKC Accountants

Dublin Town



Camile Thai Kitchen
Winding Stairs Group

Rocket Restaurants
Chapter One
Wright Group
Kays Kitchen
Brambles Group
Dylan McGrath
Howth Tourism

Bodega & Burzza Restaurants

Momo Restaurant

Church Street

Mulberry Gardens


Butlers Pantry

Isaacs Cork

Mad Egg

Pit Bros






Press Up Group
Gourmet Food Parlour
Sprout & Co
Offbeat Donuts
Jump Juice
Dublin Pizza Company
Loko Restaurant
ITSA Group

The Strand Inn

The Riverside Cottage


Kilkenny Group

Gotham Restaurant Group



Fire Steakhouse & Bar

Sole Seafood & Grill

Kerala Kitchen

Three Twenty Ice Cream


Lovely Food



Brody Sweeney

Camile Thai Kitchen
David Maxwell

Stuart Fitzgerald

LEON Restaurants
Michael Wright

Wright Group Restaurants
Brian Montague

Winding Stair Group
Andreas McConnell

Philip Lee Solicitors
Brian Geraghty

Crowe Ireland


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