I recently read that Algarve accommodation bookings were up 42% on last year. This is great news, particularly if your income is in some way dependent on tourism. On the other side of the coin, however, in my chatting to restaurant owners, takings are down, or at best equal to last year.
Self-catering a holiday is really no more expensive than being at home. At home one shops, prepares and eats. The cost of the ingredients is not a lot different, wherever you may be. Supermarkets benefit, restaurants suffer. It makes sense. But is it sensible?
A holiday should be a holiday. For everybody. Cooking shouldn't be a necessity when abroad, relaxation should.
So, is self-catering killing the restaurant trade? No. The restaurant trade is creating the self-catering mentality. Food along the coast is normally 2-3 times more expensive than equivalent food eaten north of the A22. Markups on house wine at the seaside is frequently 6-8-10 times the real cost of the bottle. This is unsustainable, the proof being the recognised lack of restaurant business in tourist areas.
It is time for restaurateurs to wake up and recognise their worst enemy. Themselves.