The fast food market grew by 7.9 per cent last year to €1.9 billion, according to Spanish market research company DBK, and is set to increase by 7-8 per cent a year over the next three years as the number of outlets continues to grow and consumers spend less time on traditional mealtimes.
Not every fast food outlet is showing strong growth, however. Hamburger and sandwich restaurants both lifted sales by around 10 per cent last year, to €815 million and €385 million respectively, but in the case of hamburger outlets this was just half the rate of that in 2000. Importantly, sandwich growth was driven not only by new store openings but also by higher revenues per outlet as customers traded up to more exotic (and expensive) varieties.
Pizzerias, on the other hand, suffering from a mature, not to say old-fashioned, image, managed just 0.4 per cent growth to €520 million.
But the biggest growth - 20.5 per cent to €147 million - came from other types of fast food restaurant, in particular those offering a product range which differs from the more traditional fast food outlets, such as Asian or Mexican cuisine, suggesting that Spanish consumers are looking for a touch of exoticism or innovation alongside convenience and speed.
Spaniards are also increasingly unlikely to order takeaway food at home - the delivery segment of the market saw its sales rise by just 0.6 per cent last year to €325 million, while kiosk sales rose by 9.6 per cent to €1.5 billion.