The typical sandwich, born of the English/American tradition but now widespread throughout the world, the club sandwich recipe - that delicious concoction of toasted sliced bread filled with several layers of mayonnaise, chicken or turkey, bacon and vegetables, often served with chips on the side and revisited all over the world in an infinite number of variations from the simplest to the most luxurious - is a ubiquitous item on the menus of restaurants, hotels and bars around the globe. It is particularly common in those venues where international cuisine is a must, such as large hotels of all categories from Asia to America.
Besides, it also appears in a special economic index which reveals price trends around the world and, with the simplicity of its figures, illustrates the expenses a globe-trotting tourist can expect to face. The CSI (Club Sandwich Index)created by Hotels.com, monitors the price of this product every year, but also those of a hamburger-based menu, a coffee and a glass of wine. Universal dishes and beverages that are simple and easily obtainable in 3, 4 and 5 star hotels throughout the world are analyzed on a yearly basis.
Geneve and Paris, the most expensive cities
For several years now, the city of Geneva has topped this index: a club sandwich ordered in its snack bars and hotels is the most expensive of all, costing on average 30.59 Euro, whilst in Paris you can expect to spend 24.39 Euro for the same item. Consequently, these two cities, in Switzerland and France, are confirmed as being the most expensive for tourist-targeted hotel catering. The least expensive revealed by the club sandwich index is Mexico City, with an average price of 8.91 Euro but up until last year it was New Delhi in India to win the contest for the most affordable price (its club sandwich now costs around 11 Euros). Instead, Italy heads the charts for the country that has lowered its prices most: in Rome the price of the sandwich has fallen by 32% to 14.53 Euro.
Switzerland, where the cost of living is considerably higher than in other countries, also turns out to be the most expensive with regard to the overall cost of a day’s catering: whoever chooses to eat at the hotel, ends up by spending 80 Euro on average, without ordering anything special, but restricting his consumption to a sandwich menu. Beverages reserve the greatest surprises of the index: a cup of coffee in Seoul can even cost up to 10 Euro, whilst in Bogota it is still very affordable at just over 1 Euro. The most expensive glass of wine, on the other hand, is to be found in the homeland of the most illustrious bottles: if you are out to drink a quality wine in Paris, you must be prepared to pay as much as 23 Euro, against 19 Euro in Hong Kong.
In France it's the Jambon-beurre index
To draw an economic reading from a sandwich is not a new idea; on the contrary, it is a reliable index of consumer prices and, to mention just one example, the jambon-beurre index has existed in France for years, that is to say a report on the average price for the country’s most popular roll, the butter and ham-filled baguette that is as much an emblem of national eating habits as the morning croissant. In 2014 (the latest figures released) this popular national lunchtime snack cost on average 2.74 Euro: 1.1% more than the year before.
Furthermore, analysts claim that the jambon-beurre, despite being the most widely consumed sandwich in the country (6 out of ten sandwiches sold in France are filled with ham and butter), is gradually being caught up by other street food delicacies, such as pizza, albeit in a different price category: for a "Reine", topped with mushrooms, ham and mozzarella, you will need to spend over 10 Euro.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.