Over $50 for a burrito? The world’s elite spend money on snacks in Davos

The burrito at Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere came with a side of salsa and guacamole.


DAVOS, Switzerland – Hungry attendees at this year’s World Economic Forum may have found the food a little hard to digest, with some staggering prices in some locations.

A stone’s throw from the Davos Congress Center, the posh Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere was charging CHF49 ($51) for a burrito on the “snack” menu.

It was accompanied by a small bowl of guacamole and salsa. For comparison, burritos at Taco Bell can cost less than $2.

A portion of French fries was also on offer at Belvedere for CHF21.50 ($22.41).

Back in 2015, CNBC found a hot dog for sale for $43 at the same hotel, which is recognized as a conference hotspot in a prime location in the main Davos strip.

This year’s prices may be less surprising given the recent spike in inflation, but they underscore how expensive the World Economic Forum is in an alpine resort.

Switzerland’s inflation rate was 2.5% in April. And while this may not be close to the level of runaway prices in the United States or the European Union, it is still a 14-year high for the Central European country.

Davos was largely snowless as the annual World Economic Forum took place in May instead of the usual time in January.

Arjun Kharbal | CNBC

Davos Spring

Overall, the Davos experience was of a different kind this year, given that the event was taking place in May rather than January.

In a local grocery store café in Davos, right next to the main congress centre, it was nearly impossible to find an empty table outside.

People who ate, smoked, drank coffee, or simply enjoyed the sun were often on the balcony before they went to their meetings. The Davos crowd was unfamiliar with the Swiss spring heat and made the most of it.

“It’s so cute,” a passerby told CNBC as they walked into the main bar.

Another participant in the Davos forum added: “I can’t get over how amazing the weather is.”

The annual Economic Party – which brings together the world’s most powerful and richest – is traditionally held when the mountains are covered in snow and participants wear snowshoes and ski jackets wherever they go.

But due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s meeting has been pushed back to late May, and participants noted how much more practical it was this time around.

“Moving is much friendlier – it’s more user-friendly,” said a businessman waiting next to the bedroom. Elsewhere, CNBC watched two waiters take a nap on a grassy patch near their restaurant—much easier if there weren’t two feet of snow on the floor. There was also plenty of ice cream for sale.

The waiters working on events outside the main convention center in Davos took the opportunity to nap on the grass.

Arjun Kharbal | CNBC

Sandals are not snow boots

In the spring of Davos, there is no fear of slipping on the snow or any problems getting one of the few taxis or taxis available in the city – you can simply walk everywhere, provided it does not rain. Light dressing also means there’s no need to remove multiple layers when entering the conference center – simply walk in in your professional attire, saving a good few minutes upon arrival.

Davos attendees were refreshed with a free cup of ice cream.

Arjun Kharbal | CNBC

This year’s event was a chance to go from meeting to meeting wearing sandals instead of snowshoes, but attendees pretty much adhered to the dress code…so there were no short suits in sight.

One delegate said that quieter Davos allowed him to have more time for important meetings – but that’s not all good news.

“There are fewer people this year. The meeting in May collides with the G-7, G-20 and NATO meetings. All politicians and business leaders have banned the third week of January and it is difficult to change that,” an executive at one said. Europe’s largest bank for CNBC.

packed restaurants

Nearly 2,500 participants were expected at the World Economic Forum this year – down from 3,000 in January 2020. There was also an apparent absence of big names, such as the leaders of the United States, China or India.

Classic [January] The format makes the meeting more special. [The spring edition] It loses a bit of the flavor of the original recipe,” Alberto Alemanno, founding member of the nonprofit The Good Lobby, told CNBC at the main convention center.

“The political cycle is different in January, and you start over. New pledges, new commitments – it makes more sense. [in January],” he added.

Even with fewer people, most restaurants remain overcrowded. Steakhouse Auchen, famous for bringing steakhouses on a hot stone, said they were still busy as usual.

“They come for steak,” said the waitress.

The famous hot stone at Steakhouse Ochsen. The meat is cooked on a hot stone while eating.

Arjun Kharbal | CNBC

Every participant seems to be enjoying the benefits of the spring version of Davos, but the consensus is that it won’t last, and in about six months we’ll all be back in the mountains with our heavy ski jackets on.

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