Many firms will be celebrating Christmas in November. / migue fernández

Christmas comes early for Costa del Sol hospitality sector

Many restaurants are already booked for company celebrations at weekends in December and firms are making reservations for November instead

JUAN SOTO MALAGA.

After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting Christmas celebrations, companies and groups of friends seem determined to make up for it this year. Many restaurants say they are fully booked already for group celebrations at weekends in December and some companies have brought their Christmas meals forward and are having them in November instead.

José Gómez, who owns La Reserva group, had his first booking for 120 people last week. “Big companies tend to organise their Christmas meals earlier, especially if they have branches in different towns, so they don’t all happen at the same time. And companies which are busy over Christmas, such as security firms, also book theirs earlier than most,” he explained. He has several restaurants in Malaga city and in Torremolinos, and said that December weekends are fully booked.

Pablo Gonzalo, who owns El Pimpi and other restaurants in Malaga, already has numerous bookings for late November. “The calendar is a bit complicated this year because there aren’t many weekends before Christmas, so people are booking earlier,” he said.

More expensive menus

Gonzalo said that companies also seem prepared to pay a bit more this year. “We thought they would be tightening their belts after the pandemic, but no. They are choosing the medium-to-expensive menus,” he said.

Although there are menus of all types and prices, the average this year is between 40 and 70 euros a head. However, Gonzalo has noted that while companies are prepared to splash out a bit more, groups of friends are tending to go for the less expensive menus.

The Mahos hospitality association has also confirmed that bookings are going well between now and Christmas and that people seem very keen to celebrate after two festive seasons affected by the pandemic. Sources there said that most business owners are not passing on the increased costs of raw materials and energy to their clients. “The sector has not done that during the year and will not do so at Christmas,” they said.