Dining out is the latest word in conspicuous consumption, according to a survey that shows spending in cafes and restaurants increased by 4.5% in 2016.
Latest figures from the FoodService Instituut Nederland shows that a total of €57 billion was spent on food and drink last year, 2.1% more than in 2015.
‘Food is one of the new ways for large groups of consumers to show how they are doing in life,’ said Jan-Willem Grievink, director of the FSIN. ‘Hip food and restaurant outlets are sprouting up like mushrooms as a result.’
Young people are eating out more often: 29% of 18 to 29-year-olds said they had a meal out at least once a week, compared to 10% of baby boomers. However, younger diners are more likely to go for cheaper meals, spending an average of €19.42 compared to €30.66 for older diners.
The trend also reflects the increasing diversity of places to eat, as venues such as shopping centres have started to compete with traditional restaurants, bars and cafes.
Industry watchers say the popularity of artisan and ‘home-grown’ ingredients is also changing the trade. Venlo restaurant Beej Benders shares its premises with several suppliers, including a butcher, a baker and a coffee roaster.
Founder Geert Benders told NOS: ‘Customers like to see how their food is prepared. We shouldn’t forget that food is about more than just filling your stomach. It’s a social activity. Look around you, it brings people together.’
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