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.