I am passionate about supporting independent restaurants.
I have written all about why plenty of times before, including when I was helping to coordinate the #EatIndieWales effort during ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ last summer. In Wales restaurants, food service and accommodation businesses employ around 100,000 people, but supporting independent food & drink businesses in particular is important for a huge mixture of reasons.
THEY HELP OUR HIGH STREETS
Simon Wright, restaurateur, food writer and owner of Wright’s Food Emporium in Llanarthne, is a founding member of the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective, a group of over 400 local food & drink businesses which formed in May 2020 to help the sector through lockdown. Simon explains how independent restaurants play an integral part in their communities across Wales.
“Independent food and drink businesses are the heart and soul of high streets, towns and villages throughout Wales. By employing local people, working with other independent producers and using neighbourhood services, they’re keeping money circulating in the Welsh economy. That’s beneficial to us all. If you spend with an independent, the value is multiplied many times in the local economy and that’s what we need now more than ever – spend local and independent – and keep the money in Wales.”
THEY SUPPORT WELSH PRODUCERS
Independent food and drink businesses are also crucial to Welsh farmers and growers. Many indie restaurants take pride in their relationships with local farmers and growers, serving up food which has travelled fewer miles to get from field to fork, and supporting small, family businesses in the process.
THEY PULL IN THE TOURISTS
Independent food and drink businesses also play a central part of Wales’ tourism offer, and have a crucial role in supporting the hospitality and local service sectors. Tourism is estimated to be worth around £3 billion to the Welsh economy.
…BUT THEY’RE LESS RESILIENT THAN THE MULTINATIONAL CHAINS
Supporting local independents is crucial to helping them survive against the homogenisation of the UK’s high streets. The big names dominate because they are able to fork out for higher rents and lure customers in with regular discounts and offers – something our indies find very hard to compete with.
Hopefully you agree, it’s worth choosing an indie over a chain whenever you can.
MY VISIT WALES GUIDE TO SOME OF CARDIFF’S BEST INDIES
If you’re looking for some inspiration after reading this, in 2018 I was commissioned by Visit Wales, to write about the excellent independent restaurants in Cardiff ‘hiding in plain sight’.
Last month, the piece was updated, as some of the places I originally included have now sadly closed down. But it also meant I could add a fab selection of newcomers to the mix.
You can read the full Visit Wales feature by clicking here.