and Catering

The restaurant and catering sector in Spain is one of the most active in our country and one of the driving forces of the economy. It has the title of “largest number of establishments per inhabitant in the world”, which translates into one bar for every 175 people and, in total, some 250,000 restaurants and catering establishments, with a total annual turnover of more than 23,100 million euros.

Although the market is dominated by large restaurant groups, the market in Spain is currently in a total transformation period, in which the end of the financial crisis and the recent COVID-19 crisis, together with other factors such as tourism and new consumer tastes and evolution, are revolutionising the hotel and restaurant industry.

The market trends are dictating the need for openings and locations that offer new experiences to consumers. Thus, many new operators in the restaurant and catering industry are demanding attention to health and the need to respect the nature of the food as much as possible. Also, the delivery of food has emerged as one of the most challenging areas and one that can change the business model of the restaurant and catering industry.

In the restaurant and catering industry, new consumer tastes also provide significant data. For example, 2% of consumption in restaurants is dictated by interest in healthy and sustainable foods. In fact, according to the EFE Agency, half of Europeans follow some kind of diet with ingredients, products and food combinations that provide physical or emotional benefits or that implement essential aspects to improve self-care.

When investing in the restaurant and catering sector, therefore, one must take into account a number of elements, carefully study the market, as well as the profile and interests of each of the investors.

For example, before starting a project, it is necessary to make a detailed analysis of the options that are being considered. In this sense, one of the first questions the investor should ask is whether it is better to start a business from scratch (which implies obtaining the corresponding licenses and permits), or whether it is preferable to acquire an existing business, for which he should negotiate the transfer of the trading point (which implies carrying out the relevant due diligence review).

Through our specialized team we offer the necessary vehicles to channel investment in the restaurant and catering sector, as well as the resources and technical knowledge to provide advice on the opening of new establishments and the transfer of existing businesses or premises with needs for change and adaptation by the investor.


One of the sectors that most interests’ investors, both foreign and local, when starting up in the Spanish market, is the restaurant and catering industry. In Spain we like to go out and be outdoors. Only in the Community of Madrid there are more than 31,000 premises devoted to the restaurant and catering business, of which about 9,000 are restaurants, about 2,500 are devoted to catering, and more than 19,000 are bars. A substantial number of these are micro-businesses, establishments with less than five employees on a regular basis.
As early as 2016, there were more food and beverage establishments per capita in Spain than in the United States. In fact, one bar for every 175 people, the highest rate in the world. Of these, 6 out of 10 are known as the “traditional bar on the block”.
In this order of ideas, there are a number of resources, including hotel and catering associations, which should be consulted. Trade associations are a great source of information when it comes to determining what type of equipment the premises to be fitted out will require (depending on the type of specific business), the foreseeable ranges of investment in infrastructure and civil works per square metre, or the charges and labour costs once the operation has begun, among other categories to be taken into account.
According to the annual report of the national observatory of the Spanish hotel industry, in 2019 a record was reached in tourism, for the seventh consecutive year, with 83.7 million tourists who spent a total of 92,278 million euros, while spending grew more slowly. Average daily expenditure continued to increase strongly, although foreign tourists continued to cut back on the duration of their trips, so average expenditure per tourist remained at a moderate level.

In 2019, turnover improved in all the Autonomous Communities. Aragon was the one with the highest (8%), followed by Extremadura (6.5%) and Galicia (5.6%).