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Consumption in bars and restaurants decreases by 30%, another increase in prices is expected due to the lack of employees

Consumption in bars and restaurants decreases by 30%, another increase in prices

Months after the end of last year's tourist season, consumption continues to not recover in bars and restaurants and for some food basket products according to businesses. According to the wholesalers, there has been an improvement in consumption for the sugar product, after the price drop in foreign markets.

In the accommodation and food service sector, the most affected by consumption are bars and restaurants. In Tirana, where the highest number of these structures is concentrated compared to years, according to the Association of Bars and Restaurants, consumption has increased by 30%.

Enri Jahja claims that the reason for the decline in consumer power is emigration, mainly family members. In the restaurants of the capital, prices per person continue to remain high, and range from 3,500 to 5,000 ALL.

The decrease in consumption in these structures started in November last year. Enri Jahja said earlier that in addition to the end of the tourist season, the investigations into a series of files initiated by SPAK resulted in many individuals implicated in money laundering not being exposed in restaurants. According to him, this category spends up to 15 thousand ALL per person in restaurants and it is estimated that they account for 10-15% of the total consumption in bars and restaurants.

Jahja predicts that with the beginning of summer, the consumption in bars and restaurants will improve, but on the other hand, it is expected that the increase in prices will be inevitable, due to the cost of the salary increase.

"Prices in bars and restaurants are expected to increase as businesses will be forced to pay higher wages to maintain the strength of the wine. In the restaurants of the south, the salary for a chef reaches up to 3,500 euros per month, at the same levels as the salary of the same profession as in Rome".

In January, according to data from the Ministry of Finance, coffee imports fell by 32%, down to 363 tons, from 534 tons last year.

Last year's data show that tourism has significantly boosted coffee consumption in the country. In August and September, coffee imports increased by 68% and 29%, respectively, offsetting the decline that was recorded in the first months of the year.

Labor shortage is becoming a vexing problem in the country. As a high influx of tourists is expected this year, tourist structures, from hotels to bars and restaurants, are complaining that they cannot find employees to cope with the expected demand from tourists.

During the past year, the arrivals of foreign nationals reached 10 million, with an increase of 34% on an annual basis. Tourist demand has been an important factor that has amortized the decline in demand from local consumers, as a result of high immigration, mainly of young people.

Meanwhile, prices in bars and restaurants have increased several times, since 2021, after the end of the pandemic. Although growth rates have slowed down in recent months, they continue to become more expensive.

Today in bars and restaurants, a dish costs on average 200-500 Lek more than before (especially meat), while a coffee is a minimum of 90 Lek in most bars, from 70-80 Lek before. The strongest tightening occurred in the South of the country, due to the demand of tourists./ Monitor

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