THE locals are eating out more, spending more and, best of all, widening their palate.

In good news for expat restaurateurs, the average Spaniard ate out 158 times last year, an increase of 1.3% on 2016.

The biggest winners are restaurants serving fast food, and in particular Italian restaurants.

While the largest increase is trips out for breakfast and lunch, at the weekends punters are spending more on ‘a la carte’ restaurants.

According to market research company NPD, total sales in the catering sector reached a record €3.6 Billion in sales last year, an increase of 2.5% on 2016.

It is the third consecutive year of growth in the sector with the number of restaurant visits reaching 98 million.

Each customer spent an average of €4.88 per trip, a rise of 1% on last year.

At the beginning of the financial crisis the first thing that was hit were breakfasts out,” said NPD Spain boss Vicente Montesinos.

“But with the economic recovery we are seeing an increase in the number of people eating out… and more jobs being created.”

Fast food restaurants, tapas bars and coffee bars are the main driving force behind the growth, representing 86% of the increase.

1. There must be an error in your figures:

46.56 Million Spanish eaters eat 158 times a year = 7.37 billion restaurant visits
3.6 billion Euros sales last year divided by 4.88 euros per menu = 737 Million restaurant visits. That is only 10% of above calculation.

7.37 billion restaurant visits times 4.88 euros = 36 billion Euros!
Therefor you missed a decimal digit in your total sales in 2016.
Compared to the Spanish BIP of 1 Trillion Euros, 36 billion for catering is more reasonable than a meager 3.6 billion.

Please make a rule of thumb estimate befor you publish such figures!

2. You say, total restaurant visits rose by 1.3 percent to 98 million visits per year.
That must be wrong too:
98 million restaurant visits devided by 47 million Spanish people = 2 restaurant visits per pax, not 158 visits as you reported.

You should have said: total restaurant visits rose by 98 million visits to 7.37 billion visits
98 million = 1.3% of 7,37 billion visits.

3. Hi Wolfgang – thanks for clearing that up – so much of this comes from the difference between a spanish billion and english billion plus the full stops rather than commas – and journalists not being known for their maths ability… Another down market paper I noticed had the total figure for spending at just 36 MILLION for the whole year! Oops

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