Spending binge laden with meals out

The consumer bonanza continues with Danes going out for meals like never before, bringing billions of kroner to the registers of restaurant owners

Visitor numbers and turnover have risen significantly at Danish restaurants the past year. Profits increased DKK 1.8 billion from 2004 to 2005, according to a survey made by hotel and restaurant trade association Horesta.

The increase represents an estimated 8 percent boost and has provided a lift in turnover for restaurants, which had only enjoyed marginal increases since 2001.

The study also showed that the number of total visits to restaurants, cafés, pubs and fast-food restaurants rose from 9 billion to 216 billion.

Despite good times, owners have a hard time surviving and coping with regulations, however. A study from the greater Copenhagen area shows that every fourth restaurant owner is forced to close down within a year.

'We already advise a third of the people who seek advice not to open their own company,' Michael Lange, the head of EVU, the country's largest centre for entrepreneurs, told daily newspaper Politiken. 'A third we keep working with and the last third have already gone ahead with their plans, and we only help out with fine-tuning their business plans.'

According to Lange, the number of restaurant owners forced to give up their dream of opening their own place increased by ten percent due to strict demands. New restaurant owners have to pass tests on everything from hygiene to finances to work environment, forcing many out of the business.

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