P&L assistance


What are the national averages, in percentages, for a successful restaurant concept’s P&L in the 175-seat, casual eatery category?


Benchmarks can be useful. Keep in mind, however, that they are tools to help you in analysis and management rather than some sort of preordained standard. You need to keep in mind the unique financial situation of your operation. For example, if you are in a major metropolitan area, rent will be expensive; other restaurants may own their real estate. Minimum wage or tip credit law, your menu mix, deals with suppliers or purchasing groups and your staffing structure will determine your expense ratios.

That said, benchmarks are available from restaurant associations and research and consulting firms. They usually have some differences due to different methods of collecting the data. Baker Tilly’s Restaurant Benchmarks reports, as illustration, gives:

Prime Cost, 65% of Total Sales
Food Cost, 32% of Total Sales
Liquor Cost, 20% of Liquor Sales
Bottled Beer, 25% of Bottled Beer Sales
Draft Beer, 18% of Draft Beer Sales
Wine, 40% of Wine Sales
Soft Drinks, 15% of Soft Drink Sales
Payroll Cost, 30-35% of Total Sales
Management Salaries, 10% max of Total Sales
Hourly Employee Payroll, 20% of Total Sales
Employee Benefits, 20% of Payroll Costs
Rent, 6% or less of Total Sales
Occupancy, 10% or less of Total Sales

On the revenue side, to keep these expense percentages in line, look for at least $200 in sales per square foot to break even, and double that to be profitable, especially where expenses are high for the reasons we discussed.

Want to ask advice guy a question?

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Today's top stories

The Red Lobster casual-dining chain has no plans to put genetically modified salmon on the menu. “This is brand new, so we have not yet had guests asking about it,” a spokeswoman said in a statement...
The operator of the Old Country Buffet chain says it should not be required to pay an $11.4 million award to a man who was sickened at a branch in 2010 because any liability was in effect dismissed...
After hearing from customers that its shrimp had become “somewhat ordinary,” Red Lobster said it will increase the size of the shellfish used in up to 70 percent of its shrimp offerings, including...
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has named former Johnny Rockets executive Lacy Novell Morris vice president of information technology, the cafe chain announced Monday. Morris, who held the same title...
Same-store sales at Chipotle Mexican Grill look primed to fall in the fourth quarter, following the spread of an E.coli epidemic among its restaurants in six states, Reuters reports. This would mark...
The American Music Awards took place Sunday night, and a number of restaurant brands took to Twitter to drum up excitement for their menu items in addition to the show’s musical acts: The front...
The 35-unit Tokyo Joe’s Asian fast-casual chain is planning to test a “meal plan” that enables customers to order and pickup prepared meals for multiple days. Patrons can spec the meals to fit...
The adoption of a familiar low-tech device and some tweaks to a central production line have cut service times and otherwise boosted throughput for El Pollo Loco , according to executives of the...
Yum! Brands has entrusted the rejuvenation of Pizza Hut ’s image in the United States to a new CMO, David Timm, Advertising Age reported Friday . Timm shifts into the role after polishing KFC ’s...
A judge is expected to approve today the sales of the bankrupt Olga’s Kitchen fast-casual chain to Team Schostak Family Restaurants, a joint-venture partner in 11 stores and a franchisee of Applebee’...