Palma de Majorca.—The restaurauteur sectors of Majorca's small to medium-sized business association (Pimem) and the Balearic Business Association (CAEB) agreed yesterday that financial hardship is having a direct effect on bars, cafés and restaurants. Trade, said both associations, is going to get worse between now and Christmas given that companies are making major cutbacks in what they are prepared to spend on office parties and Christmas dinners.

“Things look really poor because the enquiries we are receiving suggest that there's going to be around 60 percent less trade this year,” said Pilar Carbonell, the President of the Restaurauteurs' sector of CAEB. “Most restaurants, bars and cafeterias are going to be similarly affected,” she said.

Both Pimem and CAEB said that many companies in the restaurauteur trade are now pinning their hopes on last minute office parties and dinners, which are more likely to be organised by the workers themselves rather than their employers.

Carbonell said traders were making all sorts of offers for parties and dinners to customers. The most common, she said, were fixed price menus at 25 euros a head.

Carbonell said that the fact that businesses were charging the same for Christmas dinners and parties as they were three years ago, spoke clearly about the harsh reality of the crisis.

Alfonso Robledo, President of Pimem's restaurauteurs' sector said that the poor forecasts for the run-up to Christmas comes hard on the heels of an early December break when takings were down by 25 percent in comparison with the same period last year. The drop in the number of tourists and visitors from the mainland is alarming, he said.

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