Palma de Majorca.—Restaurants, cafeterias and other eating houses are predicting that takings this Christmas Eve are going to be some of the worst of the year.

Pilar Carbonell, the President of the Restaurateurs' section of the Balearic Business Federation “CAEB” said yesterday that the low number of reservations for a meal in the evening is due to a combination of the economic crisis and the fact that many people will be committed to having dinner in the family home tonight.

Carbonell said that bookings are “even worse than forecast” and that trade will bring in less than Christmas Eve last year when reservations were near rock bottom.

As a result, she explained, many restaurants are going to be closing at lunch-time because it is simply not worth their while staying open and paying staff when there are no customers. On a more optimistic note, Carbonell said that it is expected that people will venture out to eat in greater numbers on Monday, 26th December, a public holiday in the Balearics, but not necessarily in every region of the country. “Although there will be more trade for restaurants on Monday,” said Carbonell, “there are no signs that it is going to be a major improvement on recent years, particularly looking at low spending levels this month.

She said that many companies have cut back on staff parties this year, 35% less than at Christmas 2010, “which itself was a poor season for restaurants” said Carbonell. “Employees have been paying for staff dinners themselves”, she said.

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