High Heating Bills Force Some Cafes In Budapest To Close Until Spring

BUDAPEST (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th December, 2022) Some pastry shops in Budapest are being forced to close or reduce services until spring or for a longer period due to unaffordable heating bills, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Friday.

Several employees of bakeries and cafes in the Hungarian capital have spoken about the difficulties their businesses are facing amid the energy crisis in Europe.

"All of that is because of high utility bills. While we used to pay about 600,000 forints ($1,500) for lighting and heating per month, now (we have to pay) more than 2 million forints. Only the cafe on the first floor will continue to work and only as a grab-and-go venue. Because sometimes people sit for a very long time and order little; that's not profitable for us," an employee of the Ester cafe said.

Another pastry shop, Auguszt, will also close after December 24 and will only offer a takeaway option until spring.

The Sweets&More cafe's staff fear job uncertainty.

"Will we close? It's a good question. To be honest, we don't even take orders for cakes for January, nothing is clear now. We hope we'll learn something in the next two weeks," one of them said.

Cafes and bakeries in other Hungarian cities are also struggling due to surging heating bills. The Benedetto pastry shop in the city of Gyor had to shut its doors after 30 uninterrupted years in business.

The cafe's manager, Istvan Cech, said that recent bills had amounted to 1.2 million forints ($3,140), which had become unaffordable for a small enterprise selling its goods for 500-600 forints, according to local media.

The famous Budapest pastry shop, Hauer, which has been operating for an impressive 122 years straight, has also closed indefinitely.

"Due to the unfavorable impact of the economic situation on the catering industry - rising energy and raw material prices, reduced tourism and the number of guests - we have closed our coffee shop," the venue announced in late November.

Cafes are not the only group of Hungarian businesses to struggle with soaring bills. A cave bath in Miskolc, one of the most famous cave baths in Europe, had to close in October due to the energy crisis as well. Another company managing baths in Budapest, in turn, raised prices by 15% and admitted possible reductions in opening hours, suspending some of its services.