Israelis loved sitting in cafés in 2008, a poll conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's economic and research administration showed. The survey examined consumption, employment and market share trends in Israel's cafés.
According to the poll, residents of about 23% of Israeli households - amounting to some 500,000 households - visited cafés last year. In 2000, on the other hand, people from only 300,000 households visited cafés, leading to a 67% increase in café visits from 2000 to 2008.
During this period, the total annual amount of money Israeli households spent on cafés trebled from NIS 430 million ($103.75 million) to NIS 1.3 billion (about $314 million).
In 2000, an Israeli household spent a monthly average of NIS 122.2 ($29.5) in cafés. In 2007, on the other hand, the average monthly café expenses rose to of NIS 191.5 ($46.2) per household – a 56.7% increase.
The poll showed that most café goers were Jews born in Israel, with 25.8% of Israel-born Jewish households visiting cafés compared to 6.5% of Arab households and 13.9% of households of immigrants arriving in Israel from the year 1990.
Some 41% of the households in the upper fifth income percentile visit cafés as a pastime compared to 7.9% of lower fifth percentile households.
According to the survey, Israelis' love of coffee stems from a continuous rise in standard of living that began at the start of the 21st century, leading cafés to extend their range of products.
The development of a western business culture over the years has also contributed to the rise in café visits, and business meeting held in cafés are responsible for about 30% of the total sales.
The introduction of wireless internet into coffee shops has also led them to become more popular work and study areas.
Workers make monthly average of NIS 3,232Some 1,300 cafés operate in Israel's coffee shop market, with most of them belonging to chains. Some 40% of the chains are located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
The field of coffee shops is very shaky with businesses constantly opening up and shutting down. The conductors of the poll attribute this trend to the intense competition in the branch itself, both due to new businesses entering the market, and the expansion of fast food branches' cafés.
Café sales in Israel in 2008 amounted to a total of NIS 1.9 billion ($459 million), with NIS 1.3 billion (about $314 million) coming from private households.
The café market employs some 25,000 workers, that make up about 19% of the restaurant and food service employees.
The average monthly salary of a café worker in 2008 was NIS 3,232 ($780) – only 40% of the average monthly salary in Israel in 2008 set at NIS 8,060 ($1,944). The relatively low monthly salary can be attributed to the high rate of part-time employment in the café branch.