ISME, the Irish SME Association wishes to express its concern at the announcement by the CCPC yesterday (29th November) that it is to open a competition law investigation into Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). The Association looks forward to the CCPC vindicating the rights of consumers and SMEs in the insurance market in the same way that it is taking on the hospitality sector.
Commenting on the CCPC investigation, ISME CEO Neil McDonnell said:
“With the exception of a very small number of multi-national restaurant chains such as The Ivy, all Irish restaurants are SMEs, with staff and suppliers to pay on a high cost base and narrow margins. Ironically, the imposition of a no-show fee would be a strongly pro-consumer measure by restaurants. Aside from being symptomatic of cynical and selfish anti-social behaviour, no-shows deprive restaurant staff of income, deny tables to genuine diners, and raise the cost of eating out.”
Mr McDonnell continued:
“Whilst ISME is in absolutely no doubt that the CCPC is faithfully enforcing competition law as it sees it, it runs the risk that any heavy-handed action will be seen as punishing the RAI for being small, local and Irish.
Until now, we have been reliant on investigators from the EU Commission to probe questionable anti-competitive practices among our insurance companies.
Despite investigations by the Competition Authority going back to 2006, and despite pressure from the EU Commission, the Troika and the OECD, the legal profession in Ireland remains profoundly unreformed, anti-competitive, and anti-consumer. Between them, the insurers and legal profession extract far more from Irish consumers than a nominal no-show fee ever will. ”
The ISME CEO concluded:
“ISME looks forward to the CCPC vindicating the rights of consumers and SMEs in the insurance market with a vigour and vim equal to that with which it is taking on the hospitality sector.
Lastly, as part of our ‘Shop Local, Buy Irish’ campaign for Christmas, we urge consumers to buy and dine local. And if you can’t make your restaurant booking, please cancel in good time. It’s just good manners.”