‘The entire lunch rush was gone’: Dublin traders react to power outage

Food businesses could have lost up to €2,500, restaurants association estimates

A sign on a Dublin city-centre shop on Monday reads: “Temporarily closed due to power cut.” Photograph: Dominic Coyle

A sign on a Dublin city-centre shop on Monday reads: “Temporarily closed due to power cut.” Photograph: Dominic Coyle

 

A number of retailers and food and drink outlets took a financial hit as a result of the power outage in Dublin’s city centre on Monday.

One outlet estimated that its profit was hit by between 35 and 40 per cent due to the more than two-hour closure while the Restaurants Association of Ireland suggested food businesses in the area lost between €1,000 and €2,500 in the period.

“The entire lunch rush was gone,” said Aoife Mooney, manager of Coffee Angel on South Anne Street, just off Grafton Street.

“We had to close for about 2½ to three hours during our busiest time and it definitely affected food sales and coffees. It took around 35 to 40 per cent of profit for the day,” she said.

Asked whether the business would be able to recoup the cost, Ms Mooney said it was a “write off”. “We’re left with open hands and nothing to take,” she said.

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said: “What’s gone is gone, you don’t recoup it.”

No warning

He complimented the ESB and the speed at which it returned the connection, but added the fact there was no warning was not an ideal outcome for traders.

“It’s one of these things that happens, maybe the ESB will do something for them in their electricity bills, but they should give some sort of gesture to businesses because it is a major inconvenience,” he said, noting that food businesses could have lost between €1,000 and €2,500.

The ESB is not considering this, a spokesman confirmed.

The manager of the Lemon Crepe and Coffee Co shop on Dawson Street, Stephen McInerney, said the outlet had to stop serving straight away and had “zero sales between the hours of 12 and 1pm”.

“It’s like the [recent] hurricane, these things are acts of God – they just happen,” he said.

Anna Szlejter, manager of the Sweater Shop on Nassau Street, said Monday mornings can be busy, especially with tourists who have a browse around shops before leaving the city centre. “It’s still February, so it’s not mid-season but it did affect us,” she said.

The shop sent some staff on early lunch and to their Thomas Street outlet for training in advance of their busy season.

Graeme McQueen of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said that while the city’s power supply was well regarded, it was unfortunate this outage happened over lunch because of the volume of retailers it affected. He was, however, complimentary about the ESB’s response, noting there would have been “chaos” if traffic lights were still out by rush hour.

One establishment not affected too adversely was the Duke bar, which was “still able to serve customers by candlelight.” “I don’t know if there was a loss of trade or not, but the people who did come in we were able to serve,” a spokesperson said.

A number of traders along St Stephen’s Green including the Shelbourne Hotel and O’Donoghue’s pub on Merrion Row were also affected by the outage.