New cash registers boost Swede hospitality sector

Turnover in Sweden's hotel and restaurant industry increased sharply last year, as did bankruptcies, following the implementation of new certified cash registers on January 1st, 2010.

New cash registers boost Swede hospitality sector

“I can see only one explanation frankly, and it is that the cash registers have had an effect,” said Eva Östling Ollén, the president of the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association (Sveriges Hotell- och Restaurangföretagare, SHR), on Saturday.

“They have cleansed the industry and in this way, I think one can see a positive outcome in the bankruptcies,” she added.

Last year, corporate bankruptcies on the whole fell by 10 percent in Sweden. However, the hospitality industry went against the grain, with bankruptcies increasing by 14 percent to a total of 474 in 2010, trade magazine Hotellrevyn recently reported.

Certified cash registers were introduced in the industry on January 1st last year. As a result, turnover in the industry has increased and at the same time, the number of failed companies.

“Many have suffered now that one must account for every krona, but it is a measure that is necessary,” said Östling Ollén.

Another possible explanation behind the outcome is that business travel and conferences have not recovered to the same levels they were at before the financial crisis.

“It can of course be a possible explanation, but it is not where the big change is,” said Östling Ollén.

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Bumper year for eating out in Swedish cafes

Fresh figures have shown that Swedes had healthy appetites in 2014, marking a 4 percent increase in income for the restaurant industry.

Bumper year for eating out in Swedish cafes
Swedes enjoy a "fika" break in a Stockholm cafe. Photo: TT
The period between January and November last year saw a 4.2 percent increase in income for the restaurant industry, compared to the same period in 2013. 
Total turnover ended up at 110.5 billion kronor ($13.9 billion), showed preliminary figures from Visita, a trade and employers' organization for the Swedish tourism industry.
Despite what many tourists would argue are exorbitant prices for a cup of coffee (typically around 35 kronor or $4.5), cafes saw a particularly big leap in total sales volume, recording an 8 percent jump nationwide during the period. The figures have been adjusted for price developments.
Coffee culture in Sweden (better known as "fika" to the Swedes) is as strong as ever. US coffee chain Starbucks has started to branch out in Stockholm, with stores in the central station and Södermalm joining the game over the past eighteen months.
The fast food industry, meanwhile, reported an increase of 2 percent. 
Visita added that there were an additional 4,000 people hired in 2014 within the industry in full-time positions.