Growing inflation threatens legendary Spanish restaurant menu

    WORLD  07 October 2022 - 02:30

    Dreamt up in the 1960s to attract tourists, Spain's three-course "menu del dia", or set lunch menu, has long been seen as the best deal in town.

    But with inflation hovering around 10 per cent, its affordability is under threat as restaurants seek ways to save costs, France 24 informs.

    For a starter, main course and dessert or coffee (or both), bread and a drink, the average price are around 12.8 euros ($12.60), according to figures from Hosteleria de Espana, Spain's main hostelry association representing the hotel and restaurant industry.

    Offered by almost every Spanish restaurant, its price makes it a popular option in a country where people frequently eat out.

    "Everyone chooses it," says Sara Riballo, who is in her 30s, sitting on a terrace in central Madrid.

    "We eat out several times a week and we usually go for the set menu because it's better value for money, it's quicker and it's quite varied," agrees her colleague Estefania Hervas.

    Spanish restaurants serve up on average four million "menus del dia" every day in the country of 47 million people, the hostelry association says.

    The idea was first cooked up nearly six decades ago when Spain was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

    A ministerial order was issued that all restaurants must offer a "tourist menu" to cater to the growing waves of foreign visitors to the Spanish coast.

    The decree was written into Spain's official state bulletin, stating that the menu must from August 1, 1964 include, as a "minimum", a soup, a main course, a dessert, a glass of wine and some bread.

    Meanwhile, at Cafe Gijon, a landmark restaurant on Madrid's central Castellana boulevard, they serve up 250 set meals a day, priced at 15 euros each.

    But manager Jose Manuel Escamilla said the prices are likely to rise in the coming weeks.

    "Everything's going up: the price of electricity and mortgage costs have shot through the roof. If things carry on like this, we won't survive."

    "It's difficult because it will affect our customers but at the end of the day, if we don't do it, we won't be able to function," he said.

    Many restaurants are now searching for other ways to save money and protect their margins.

    Caliber.Az




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