Skip to content

Inflation places squeeze on Spain’s legendary lunch menu

A pedestrian walks previous a board displaying right now’s menu within the Spanish capital of Madrid, on September 5, 2022. — AFP pic

MADRID, Oct 6 — Dreamt up within the Nineteen Sixties to draw vacationers, Spain’s three-course “menu del dia”, or set lunch menu, has lengthy been seen as the perfect deal on the town.

However with inflation hovering round 10 per cent, its affordability is underneath risk as eating places search methods to economise.

For a starter, major course and dessert or espresso (or each), bread and a drink, the typical value is round €12.8 (RM58.80), in accordance with figures from Hosteleria de Espana, Spain’s major hostelry affiliation representing the resort and restaurant business.

Supplied by nearly each Spanish restaurant, its value makes it a well-liked possibility in a rustic the place individuals continuously eat out.

“Everybody chooses it,” says Sara Riballo, who’s in her 30s, sitting on a terrace in central Madrid.

“We eat out a number of occasions every week and we normally go for the set menu as a result of it is higher worth for cash, it is faster and it is fairly diverse,” agrees her colleague Estefania Hervas.

Spanish eating places serve up on common 4 million “menus del dia” day by day within the nation of 47 million individuals, the hostelry affiliation says.

The concept was first cooked up practically six many years in the past when Spain was underneath the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

A ministerial order was issued that every one eating places should provide a “vacationer menu” to cater to the rising waves of overseas guests to the Spanish coast.

The decree was written into Spain’s official state bulletin, stating that the menu should from August 1, 1964 embody, as a “minimal”, a soup, a major course, a dessert, a glass of wine and a few bread.

‘extraordinarily fearful’

The custom has lasted till right now, the place it acts as a kind of barometer for the Spanish financial system, says Emilio Gallego, secretary-general of the hostelry affiliation.

“It is a very, very talked-about method of consuming lunch with thousands and thousands offered day by day throughout the nation. It is one thing we’re consistently monitoring,” he mentioned.

Describing itself as “extraordinarily fearful in regards to the results of inflation and the value rises of latest months,” the affiliation discovered three-quarters of its eating places had raised the value of their menu del dia between November 2021 and April 2022.

And that was earlier than inflation peaked in July at 10.8 per cent.

In latest months, the value of olive oil has risen by 42.5 per cent alongside the price of bread, milk, eggs, meat and pasta, to not point out the spiraling payments for electrical energy, refrigeration or fuel for stoves and ovens.

With the business “badly hit by rising power and uncooked materials prices at a time when it was nonetheless recovering from the well being disaster”, it has had little selection however to boost costs, Gallego mentioned.

Generally, eating places have raised the value of their menu del dia by 10 to fifteen per cent, a rise of between €1.0 and €1.5.

‘We cannot survive’

At Cafe Gijon, a landmark restaurant on Madrid’s central Castellana boulevard, they serve up 250 set meals a day, priced at €15 every.

However supervisor Jose Manuel Escamilla mentioned the costs are more likely to rise within the coming weeks.

“All the things’s going up: The value of electrical energy and mortgage prices have shot by means of the roof. If issues stick with it like this, we can’t survive.”

“It is tough as a result of it would have an effect on our prospects however on the finish of the day, if we do not do it, we can’t have the ability to perform,” he mentioned.

Many eating places are looking for different methods to save cash and defend their margins.

At a restaurant in one in every of Madrid’s stylish neighbourhoods, they’re now ordering meat in bulk and complete fish fairly than pre-cut parts as a result of the value is decrease, admitted one in every of its consumers, talking on situation of anonymity.

Gallego believes different eating places will adapt by creating different codecs, reminiscent of a two-course possibility of a major course with both a starter or dessert.

At Valgame Dios in Madrid’s Chueca neighborhood, the variety of dishes on provide has already been slimmed down.

“As a substitute of three or 4 starters, we have now two,” explains waitress Laura Rubio, who says she’s simply “ready to see what’s going to occur” and whether or not it would postpone diners.

Like different prospects, 47-year-old scriptwriter Helio Mira is placing a courageous face on issues.

“It isn’t solely the value of the menu del dia that’s going up however the value of life on the whole however what can we do?” he mentioned.

“We simply should experience out the storm.” — AFP


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *