Last year, 10,000 restaurants closed their doors in Portugal and this year the number is expected to be even higher with no prospect of improvement in 2011.
According to Mário Pereira Gonçalves, president of the Portuguese Hotel and Catering Association (AHRESP), rising unemployment and the loss of purchasing power are the cause of this situation.
“I have been in this business since 1955 and I have been through many crises, but this is definitely the worst,” he said.
He stressed that the crisis in the restaurant sector began to be felt in 2008, worsened in 2009 and then during this year.
A study made by AHRESP, which has 25,000 members, shows that revenue from the sector has fallen 20 per cent between 2000 and 2009.