Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC)
Wales can be proud of its' hospitality industry, a rapidly emerging success story. Independent restaurants, cafés and street food outlets, in cities and towns, countryside and seaside, supporting a supplier economy of growers, producers, farmers and even importers.
The 2020 pandemic brought this to a grinding halt, threatening hundreds of businesses, thousands of jobs and a decade or more of hard work by families and individuals. Everything that was good and different about independent Welsh hospitality is at risk.
If we are to protect this very special sector, now is the time to be engaged in setting the agenda and course for the future with policymakers and the major players. The alternative is a future dominated by chains and those who will maintain the status quo.
What is WIRC ?
WIRC is a collective of 350 independent restaurants, cafés, pubs and street food outlets. Determined that we should have a say in the future economy, we came together to make sure our voice was heard as the reality of the pandemic bit.
This is a sector made up of many small businesses but which together are a huge employer of a cross section of the population. We support a network of Welsh suppliers and food producers across Wales as a crucial part of the foundation economy.
A small group representing the geographic and sectorial breadth of the membership met daily through May and June to ensure our voice was heard within government, the press and the public, impacting on policy and feeding information back to members through regular emails.
We think this concerted action has contributed to a change in approach from Welsh Government which is now actively engaging with us as independent businesses in a way they have not before. We must take advantage of this opportunity.
So we want to go further, and we think there is a long term future for WIRC, which will enable us to have influence and leverage that will ultimately enable us to grow a more vibrant food and drink industry in a Wales that is not dominated by chains and global conglomerates.
For the first time in a generation, hospitality has had a voice in government. We now have access to Ministers, Civil Servants and MP's and MS's in Cardiff and in London in a way that has never been the case before. We need to grasp this opportunity while we have it and we aim to achieve the following:
To show Government why it is important that independent hospitality business flourish. The impact of the pandemic has brought home to them how these businesses benefit local economies through the supply chains and through visitor tourism.
To show Government and the public how businesses such as ours impact positively on society in such a way that fulfils the aims of the Foundational Economy. We will continue to argue that this is not something that high street chains can do.
To engage with local and national governments, shaping policy that affects our sector for both the short and long term. We need to use this opportunity to create a platform from which a hospitality industry can flourish and doesn’t always survive at the margins.
To use the new relationships that have been created by the pandemic to encourage better communications within our industry and with our stakeholders, whether suppliers, guests, communities, competitors or employees.
This is an inclusive collective and we urge you to join us and to encourage others to do the same. The greater our numbers, the greater our influence.
But we need more immediate help, so today we are launching the next phase of our campaign. We need funds to progress WIRC as an organisation and to create a structure that will ensure WIRC is not a shooting star.
Our first campaign is to remind the Welsh people of the importance of supporting independent hospitality businesses. Their spend will remain in Wales, supporting local supply chains and protecting jobs, often in areas of Wales where there are few options.
The campaign will be launched to coincide with the UK Government’s Eat out to Help Out, which gives customers up to £10 of discount on eating out between Monday - Wednesday in August. As an industry we must ensure that the Welsh public and visitors to Wales spend this money in independent restaurants, café's, pubs and street food outlets.
What we will spend your money on?
If you are a business, we are asking you to commit to a £35 contribution. This will give you a a window sticker and a digital pack which you can use on your website and social media to show you are a member of WIRC. Our aim is to launch this campaign to coincide with the Help Out To Eat Out Campaign that starts in August, and encourage customers to use their discounts with independent Welsh places to eat. A marketing campaign will direct consumers to places that show the WIRC window sticker.
If you love your independent, family run businesses, we are asking you for a donation to keep WIRC going so that we can make a difference in the future. For anyone who donates over £100 you will be put in a raffle to win some incredible dining and over night stay experiences
Eat Local Support Local
Bwyta’n dda, bwyta’n lleol