Almost a thousand catering outlets were opened in the Brussels region over the last 10 years, but it’s a development that’s causing the region concern. “The increase is a little worrying,” said the Brussels Horeca Federation, an independent organisation that represents the hotel and catering business in Brussels, because the new restaurants are mostly fast-food and concept chains, reports Bruzz. “We’re not against it, but it doesn’t do any good to the quality of our Brussels catering industry.”
Brussels had 7,243 catering businesses in 2017. That just short of a thousand more than 10 years ago, or an increase of 15%. The municipality of Forest gained the most businesses (35.7%), in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert businesses closed up shop the most (-7.2%). Over 200 more restaurants went bankrupt than the previous year, but overall the balance is still positive.
Still, the Horeca Federation isn’t entirely happy with these numbers and thinks the good figures conceal a negative trend. “Mostly because it’s incredibly difficult to draw conclusions,” said chairman of the federation, Ivan Roque. The numbers don’t differentiate between restaurants, bars, fast-food chains or takeaway places. “The situation is more way more complicated than it seems.”
According to Eric Catry from Horeca Brussels, the “white” cash registers has a lot to do with the increase in registered caterering outlets. The system of “white” cash registers was instigated in 2016 to fight against the moonlighting in the catering business in exchange for a reduction from 21% to 12% of taxes. “This is probably why the official number of catering businesses is climbing,” said Catry. “Sadly, there is little correct info. The last numbers of the Department of Economics are from 2017, so they’re actually already outdated. Catering moves faster than that.”
The Brussels Times