In 10 years, Malta recorded the biggest increase on money spent eating out among EU states. Malta places third in cash forked out on dining outside the home.

Between 2008 and 2018, household expenditure on catering services in Malta rose by 4.4%, followed by Ireland (2.9%) and Hungary (2.5%).

During the period under review the Maltese splashed out €12.60 out of every €100 of their disposable income on eating out.

Ireland led the way in this area of consumption splurging 14.4% on eateries, and in second place was Spain at 13%.

In contrast, the lowest share was recorded in Romania at 1.9%, followed by Poland at 3% and Lithuania at 3.4%.

Overall, the EU statistics agency Eurostat reported that in the decade in question the total household expenditure on catering services increased in most member states.

The only four member states to decrease their spending on restaurants, cafes and the like were Romania (-1%), Spain (-0.%), Slovakia (-0.5%), and the United Kingdom (-0.2%). In Luxembourg spending on eateries remained stable.

People have more disposable income because a lot of them have been earning more money in the last few years

In total in 2018, an estimated €600 billion (equivalent to 3.8% of EU GDP) was spent on dining outside the home in the EU.

The culture of eating out is definitely growing in Malta, according to Philip Fenech, president of the GRTU’s tourism, hospitality and the leisure division.

A growth in tourism and people working in Malta in the past few years has contributed to this expansion, he added.

In the past four years the number of tourists has increased roughly from 1.7 to 2.7 million.

Another important point to factor in is affluence, Mr Fenech continued.

“People have more disposable income because a lot of them have been earning more money in the past few years, and so they have more to spend on leisure.”

And the increased efficiency of a lot of establishments, which include offering more delivery services and take away apps, has been a driving factor in encouraging people to opt for takeout rather than cook, he said.

Finally, one can’t overlook the variety of restaurants all over the island and the fact that food is priced for every pocket, he pointed out. “It’s not like it was years back when it was always the same type of food. There’s always room for more growth, but for the size of our island there’s a very good mix which has obviously encouraged people to eat out more.”

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