Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The international chains serving fast food appear to be bucking the trend in Spain’s catering sector brought about by the economic crisis. Whilst restaurant and bar owners along with their employees are suffering from the downturn the fast food businesses are seeing constant growth. Indeed turnover grew by five per cent last year to 2.600 million euros.

The big battle is between Burger King and McDonald’s who between them account for 97 per cent of the hamburger market. That battle is pretty evenly matched with not just the quantity of food taken in to account but also the number of outlets.

Andalucía is the second autonomous region after Madrid with the largest number of fast food outlets. Overall there are 177 of these restaurants but Burger King rules with 98 compared with McDonald’s 71.

The dominance of Burger King is also seen in Málaga province. Burger King has 35 outlets mostly located in the major commercial centres. In contrast McDonald’s has 20 spread amongst the holiday resort towns of the Costa del Sol.

It is not just the international names and the power of their advertising that has allowed these chains to prosper in hard economic times. Both sell known products at keen prices in comfortable and a familiar environment.

Indeed in 2010 McDonald’s invested 14 million euros in giving a facelift to its 88 stores introducing a new colour scheme and furnishings. Burger King has responded with a futuristic 20/20 design and divided its restaurants in to Whopper Bar and BK Dessert Bar zones.

Each chain is also working to win customers with added attractions. For example Burger King has now added children’s play areas to most of its restaurants. In contrast McDonald’s is offering free Wi-Fi to its customers. Eat and work, eat and play, eat and be entertained is the order of the day.

The overall figures for the fast food business in Spain make interesting reading. There are 3,940 such establishments which is a 2.2per cent increase on 2009 with the total market worth 2,610 million euros. Of that Burger King, McDonald’s and other hamburger chains account for 1,300 million euros, a rise of 4.8 per cent.

Down by slightly more (4.9 percent) are pizza sales at 540 million euros, bocadillerías account for 455 million euros (up 3.4) and others such as tacos and hot dogs bring in 315 million euros, a rise of 3.3per cent. Of the total 2,610 million euros turnover, 2,285 million (up 3.4 percent) is through counter sales whilst home delivery stands at 325 million, a drop of 5.2 per cent.


Tony Murphy said...

The rise in popularity of burger joints like these has been pretty much inevitable.They are particularly popular with teenagers as a meeting point.However in Marbella at least, the one franchise which never really took off is Kentucky Fried Chicken. I always put it down to the fact that there are chicken rotisseries all over the place and the quality of their chicken is far superior to the grim produce of KFC and is half the price.
I am sure that Mc Donalds and co. will continue to prosper but a burger,fries and a milk shake will never compete with fresh tapas and a glass of tinto.Salud !

Prospero said...

When I returned from eleven years in the USA twenty years ago, I had to shed almost twenty kilos just to get up the short hill to the town centre, which I was able to do without much effort in the space of six months. The reason? I went nowhere near these chains. And I never even thought of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, etc. etc. ad nauseam. Easy.