Restaurant and food industry is one of the most volatiles in any country. It is an industry that is bound tightly with economic growth since it depends on many economic players. It is expected for Chile to continue being one of the Latin American countries with higher economic growth that will of course have an effect in the restaurant and food industry.
The statistics concerning restaurant industry show a per capita expense of US$144 in Chile being the sixth in America. U.S.A. is leading with a US$1,372 per capita expense. Brazil is next with US$534 and Argentina comes in third with US$415.
The current size of the market in Chile is US$2.445 millions that places the country in sixth place against compared to other countries in the region. (http://www.estrategia.cl/detalle_cifras.php?cod=3704)
Figures for restaurant industry in Chile are far from the figures in first world countries; however, the trend indicates that Chileans are more than ever willing to try new restaurants. According to Fernando De La Fuente from the Chilean Gastronomy Association (www.achiga.cl) “before, the cook used to prepare the meals at home, now the meals are cooked in restaurants. The free time you have as a worker, make more difficult for people to go get lunch at home so you end up at a restaurant.”
It is undoubtedly that office workers and executives due to short lunch hours are preferring fast food restaurants. This along with cheaper prices and nearby locations makes them the perfect option for this specific target. The leading company in fast food chains in Chile is Gastronomía y Negocios S.A. (www.gyn.cl). They have more than 250 stores along the country and operate over 70 franchises. The reported annuals sales are over US$150 millions a year.
Concerning full service restaurants, Chileans are trying new flavors and experiences. There has been an overwhelming growth in Peruvian Restaurants, specially in the country’s capital, Santiago. Of every three restaurants opening, one is Peruvian. Brazilian, vietnamese and other types of cuisines have also chosen Chile to invest confident to get a high turnover.
While in fast food is all about location, fast service and prices, in full service restaurants, the overall experience. Clients are preferring restaurants that offer a more gourmet approach, different kinds of cuisines and offer better and more comfortable venues.
In general it is fairly easy to start a business in Chile but there are many points to take into consideration when opening a restaurant. The permits vary depending on the Town Council. Permits from the agricultural service and health service are needed and a permit for selling alcohol. (www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/patentes-municipales)
Overall Restaurant and Food industry is in a rather healthy condition in Chile and as long as the economy keeps showing positive figures, Chileans will continue to go out and try new experiences and restaurants.