The Economic Contributions of the Food Service Industry in Aruba

Yesterday at UA the Aruba F&B Association, previously known as AGA, the Aruba Gastronomic Association gave a presentation highlighting its recent restaurant survey

It was super interesting.

Member of Parliament Setty Yarzagaray was the only attending government representative, many other potentially-interested and should-be-concerned entities were glaringly missing.

The findings over 17 pages are very interesting.

The restaurant sector is responsible for around 5% of our GDP. That’s very significant. It’s 4% in most other countries. One in every five Arubans works in the F&B sector.

Of course, we eat a lot, and we love food!  

The survey found we have 614 restaurants in Aruba, with the following breakdown: 96 Quick Service/Fast Food outlets, (16%), 127 Cafes/Snack Bars, (21%), 160 Casual Dining places, (26%), 35 Upscale Casual, (6%), 18 Fine Dining restaurants, (3%), 39 Food Trucks or Carts, (6%), 102 Bars, (17%), and 37 Chinese Restaurant, (6%).

We have too many bars, targeting locals.

I believe we have more food trucks/carts by now, that segment of the F&B markets grew exponentially lately.

Also, we have too little upscale casual and fine dining places for an island aspiring, hoping, to host upscale travelers with deep pockets.

(Obviously, we are unable to offer fine dining service, and fresh top ingredients and produce are hard to get).

I will go back to the survey on another occasion, because it is full of insights.

 The takeaway:

If you had a dream to one day open a restaurant, DON’T. You’re better off taking your money and heading out into the street and giving each person you meet a crisp new note of Awg 100; you will make other people and yourself much happier.  Also before investing in a restaurant or eatery, read this report. Unless you have something totally unique and appealing, invest in something else.

With 96 fast food joints – no wonder we’re fat!

The report expresses a lot of concerns about the level of employee training, financial management and administrative oversight, hygiene, tax reporting and payment, licensing and permits, but enough for today!   

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June 05, 2019
Rona Coster