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European dining habits surveyed by Nielsen

Yesterday's business section of El Pais has an interesting article comparing the dining behaviors of various countries in Europe:

Some things make sense just because of geography/climate, like more people go out for breakfast in southern countries where the weather is nice in the morning for more of the year, but some things are pretty interesting clues to character differences and financial security, like Iberians tend to use promotional offers and coupons more than northerners do.

The surprises are that the Dutch tend to eat out most often at night and the Poles most often at mid-day.
Biggest surprise is that it's Turks and Austrians that do the most dining out overall. More than Italians and French, even.

Posted by
293 posts

During the 70's, I found no "going out to breakfast" customs in Central European restaurants at all; the best you could hope for, outside of your Pension or Hotel Garni, was the odd open cafe some where, selling an egg or a baguette with a cup of coffee. Also no breakfast places in the late 80's to early 90's. However, in this new millennium, I have seen "Brunch" advertised as a "thing" in restaurants; in France I've even seen "Le English Breackfast" advertised somewhere, offering the grilled tomato-grilled mushroom-egg plate. And oh boy, the German and Austrian Hotel Breakfasts nowadays! Wow - groaning boards with maybe 50 items! It used to be, you came down for your Hotel breakfast, not open to anyone else off the street; and there was one egg, two rolls, a small selection of jams, and you could request coffee or tea.

Posted by
6073 posts

Shelley, I'm remembering breakfasts at student hostels in Austria and Germany in the late '60s. The breakfasts were as you remember, but without the egg. I recall bread - usually one hard roll (delicious), butter, a slice or two of salami, and a bit of the best cheese I had ever tasted. As simple as it was, it opened my eyes to how good some of these things could be.

In the mid '70s I was in Poland, and the only places I saw open for breakfast were workers' cafés, where you could get soup, blood sausage made with buckwheat, or bigos, a sauerkraut and cabbage affair (with tomatoes, and bits of kielbasa.) As I recall, breakfasts in student hostels were comparable to what I had had in the '60s.

Ah, good times!

Posted by
7046 posts

Is there an English version of the article? I have no idea for how they came up with their conclusions (or what their conclusions are - sorry, my Spanish is limited). How many people were surveyed from each country? Very hard to comment on this otherwise.

Posted by
6908 posts

Agnes, when you click on the link doesn't it give you the option to translate the page? Maybe that's a setup issue, I don't know, but mine gives me that option.

Posted by
2766 posts

Open it in google chrome and it will translate it for you. Not a perfect translation by any means, but you get the idea. If you speak some Spanish you can compare weird phrases to the original to see if it makes any more sense

Posted by
14208 posts

The breakfast in the HI hostels in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s were always the same every morning. I don't recall any variation. You always had breakfast at the hostel if you were staying there since it was expected. Man frühstückt wo man wohnt. In the 1970s I stayed at numerous hostels in Germany on my three trips, you knew what to expect at breakfast. In the 1980s I stayed at only three hostels, got pickier. The breakfast had not changed. No such thing as a breakfast buffet back then as is the case now.

Posted by
1527 posts

In 1981 on a work assignment I spent 3 months in Germany. We stayed at a small German hotel and the breakfasts were very good. It was a very nice selection of bread, jams, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and cereals.

Posted by
2347 posts

I was never a fan of dilly-dallying over breakfast until I stayed for a week at the Hotel Locarno in Rome -- fancy shmancy buffet included hot items and cold cuts, plus nice table settings and hot drinks made to order -- the barman asks to see your key fob to make sure you're being ticked off. Gets one in the right mood for dodging the scooter traffic.